Lauren Myracle Withdraws From National Book Award Finalist List

5 years ago

Lauren Myracle has been described as the next generation's Judy Blume. High praise, indeed. After her novel, Shine, was announced as a young people's literature finalist for this year's National Book Award in error she was asked by the National Book Foundation to voluntarily remove her her book from contention. Myracle did and she did it with class.

I can't imagine what it would be like to be in Myracle's shoes. The high of finding out that your book made the finals for the National Book Award must be one heck of a high. Shortly after the initial announcement the National Book Award committee announced they were adding a sixth book to the list of young adult fiction, a book titled "Chime." It did not take long for people to speculate that Myracle's book was announced in error. Historically there have only been five finalists per category with such similar sounding names... .

In a statement released by her publisher, Amulet Books, on October 17 Myracle had this to say:

"I was later informed that Shine had been included in error, but would remain on the list based on its merits. However, on Friday I was asked to withdraw by the National Book Foundation to preserve the integrity of the award and the judges' work, and I have agreed to do so."

The reaction on Twitter was immediate.

From a fellow authors Sarah Mlynowski:

And Maureen Johnson:

From Gwenda:

The National Book Foundation was initially quiet but has since released a statement saying that they did ask Myracle to remove her book from the list and apologized for any hurt that the decision may have caused, emphasizing that she was asked to withdraw in order to respect the integrity of the awards process and "the idea that the judges' choices need to be respected." They have also removed Shine from their site and added the following statement.

The National Book Foundation regrets that an error was made in the original announcement of the Finalists for the 2011 National Book Award in Young People’s Literature and apologizes for any confusion and hurt it may have caused Lauren Myracle. At her suggestion, we will be pleased to make a $5,000 donation to the Matthew Shepard Foundation in her name.

My hat goes off to Lauren Myracle. She is one classy lady who was put in one heck of an uncomfortable situation. Today, I'll be showing #isupportshine, along with many others, by buying a copy.

What do you think? Was the National Book Foundation right to ask Myracle to withdraw her book? What would you do in her situation?

BlogHer Book Club Host Karen Ballum also blogs at Sassymonkey and Sassymonkey Reads.

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