Monday, 17 October 2011

The Disgrace of the National Book Awards.....



So for those of you in the book world who have not already heard, there was a terrible mix-up in the announcement of the National Book Awards nominees last week. Having existed for 61 years now, The National Book Awards is one of the biggest things next to the Pulitzer prize when it comes to recognition for literature. During a live radio broadcast this past Wednesday, Lauren Myracle's YA book, Shine, was announced as one of the five finalists in the teen section. Shine focuses on the story of a girl whose best friend falls victim to a hate crime due to his sexuality, and has received plenty of great reviews from users on Goodreads.com.

Unfortunately, it turns out that Myracle's book was nominated by accident! According to news reports, a staff member misheard the title of the book when they were writing down the names of the nominees over the phone. Instead, it was supposed to be Franny Billingsley's book, Chime, that was to be announced as a finalist. Realizing their mistake, the people at The National Book Awards originally decided to make a compromise and allow both Shine and Chime to remain on the list. On Friday, however, Myracle received a request from the foundation in charge of the reward to remove her book from the running "in order to preserve the integrity of the award and the judges' work." Seriously? Their "integrity?" If anything they just ruined the integrity of The National Book Award by making such a ludicrous request!

Apparently Myracle was quite gracious considering the circumstances, and agreed to remove her book from the list of finalists on the condition that they make a $5,000 donation to the Matthew Shepard foundation. I have to give Myracle some credit for everything that has happened. To hear that your book has been nominated for a prestigious award, only to find out that it was a mistake would be quite crushing! If anything, I think The National Book Award foundation showed a real lack of tack and grace by requesting Myracle to remove her book from the running due to a mistake on their part. Kudos to her for instead requesting for a donation to make up for their thoughtlessness. Although I haven't personally read Shine, I believe that it should have been given an equal chance despite the fact that it wasn't meant to be a finalist to begin with! If what I've been reading on Twitter is any indication, the foundation is already receiving a lot of flack for their decision, and I couldn't agree more! 

Have you read Lauren Myracle's book Shine? What do you think about The National Book Awards mix up?

2 comments:

Karen @ Book Light Graveyard said...

I hadn't heard about this. That would majorly suck to find out that your book wasn't actually nominated. I agree with you that Myracle handled it really well. I haven't read Shine, but now I'm curious about it. I did really love Chime though and think it totally deserves to be nominated.

TG said...

Yes, I think the good thing about this is that it will make readers more interested in trying Shine. They do say there's no such thing as bad publicity. However, the NBA really did humiliate Lauren Myracle, when there was no need to. I wonder who could possibly think that what they did was the best way to handle the situation.

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