National Book Foundation: Oops Our Bad, Now Kindly Withdraw

Turns out I’m not the only one eating my words these days, thanks to the folks running the National Book Awards. Did you hear about this? YA author, Lauren Myracle, got THE phone call. She was notified that her book, Shine, had been nominated for the National Book Award.

Then they called her back five days later and were all, “Oops, no it’s not! But we’ll keep your book on the shortlist anyway. Our bad.”

Here’s a snippet from the NY Times:

Lauren Myracle, an author of young-adult literature, was named to the shortlist last Wednesday for her book, “Shine,” a novel about the experience of a gay teenager who is the victim of a hate crime. Shortly afterward the National Book Foundation corrected itself, saying that Ms. Myracle’s book was not meant to be a finalist but that it would stay on the five-book shortlist anyway.

You’d think that’d be the end of this odd little story, but it’s not. The National Book Foundation then asked her on Friday to withdraw Shine to “preserve the integrity of the award and the judges’ work.”

Heh. Wonder how that’s working out for the people at the NBF. Way to put the onus on the author there, NBF. Classy!

They were mum to reporters about the whys and hows of the original mistake of including the book on the list, and they’re equally tight-lipped about why they asked her to withdraw, reversing their original decision to let the nomination stand.

As far as I can tell, Myracle has been nothing if not magnanimous throughout the ordeal. As reported in the article, she even got the National Book Foundation to make a $5,000 donation to the Matthew Shepherd Foundation.

That’s why yesterday I bought her book for Kindle.


About Emily Suess

Emily Suess is a technical marketing writer by day and a freelance copywriter by night. And, no, she's not related to Dr. Seuss.
  • http://www.literalmom.com Missy | Literal Mom

    I am totally shocked at their unprofessionalism on not one, but THREE separate instances.  Good Lord.

    • http://blog.emilysuess.com Emily Suess

      It is pretty astounding. I think that Myracle stands to gain some well-deserved publicity from the snafu, but still. Nothing is more crushing than building someone up just to tear them down later, even if it’s the result of an innocent mistake–and I’m certainly not convinced it is innocent what with them being so hush-hush about why it happened.

  • Elisabethkinsey

    Awesome blogpost.  Thanks for the information.

  • http://www.writinginflow.blogspot.com Beverly Diehl

    There was a post I read yesterday by her agent’s wife, in which many less than polite words were used (not about Myracle).  Said post pointed out that not only was a really NICE author trashed during this process, but all her associated peeps – her agent, her editor(s), publisher, etc., who were probably popping some champagne and thrilled for her.

    Apparently the list was conveyed via phone, titles only, during which “Chime” was mistaken for “Shine.”  Matters naught; they could have conveyed it over the telegraph via Morse code.  THEIR mistake, not hers, why should SHE be cleaning it up?  However, though I haven’t bought her book yet, it’s moved to the top of my wish list, and I’m sure many other writers are supporting as well.

    What is sad, also, is whatever other books were on their lists, who doubtless also have great and deserving authors, will be totally overshadowed by this mess.  I would hate to be the author who “wins” this year, because it’ll always have an asterisk attached.

    • http://blog.emilysuess.com Emily Suess

      I agree with you on all counts. It’s unfortunate for all of this year’s authors. Thanks for the additional info!

  • Anonymous

    I can’t even wrap my brain around how something this colossally stupid could happen. That poor author.  

  • http://www.austinbriggs.com Austin Briggs

    Mistakes are human, but the resolution must show at least some class… 

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  • Rachel

    The author must be really annoyed. To have such joy then the people just say, “Oops?” Wow.