Accused by at least 10 women of sexual harassment, author Sherman Alexie has decided not to accept the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction that he won for You Don't Have to Say You Love Me: A Memoir (Little, Brown), NPR reported. Winners of the Carnegie Medals, a joint initiative of the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the American Library Association, were announced at the ALA's midwinter meeting in Denver last month. The medal and its $5,000 award would have been officially presented during ALA's annual conference in New Orleans in June.
The ALA said on Friday that "we acknowledge" Alexie's decision and will not give a Carnegie Medal for Excellence in the nonfiction category this year. The two other finalists for the Carnegie Medal in nonfiction were The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner by Daniel Ellsberg (Bloomsbury) and Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann (Doubleday). The winner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction was Jennifer Egan for Manhattan Beach (Scribner).
The ALA added that it "believes that every person has the right to a safe environment free from sexual harassment." It also promised to support "members, their colleagues, and their community members" in addressing sexual harassment issues by providing resources and referral services on its website.
Alexie has also asked his publisher to postpone the publication of the paperback edition of You Don't Have to Say You Love Me, which had been scheduled to appear from Back Bay Books April 24. A Hachette Book Group spokesperson confirmed the postponement and said the publisher is keeping his other books in print, adding, "We were surprised and troubled to hear the allegations that have recently emerged, and are concerned about the distress this situation has caused so many. We're encouraged that Sherman Alexie has apologized to those he has hurt and has dedicated himself, as he's said, to becoming 'a healthier man who makes healthier decisions.' "