National Book Awards 2011: Author asked to withdraw ‘Shine’ from finalist list — The National Book Awards named the wrong book during their announcement of finalists last week. Instead of nominating the young adult novel, Chime, for the award as intended, the announcement was made that Shine by Lauren Myracle was a finalist in the Young People’s category. Yesterday, the author was asked to withdraw her novel from the list of finalists, and she agreed.
According to Publishers Weekly, the mistake was made when the person taking down the finalist titles from the judges over the phone misheard Shine for Chime. The fact that the novels have different authors (the author of Chime is Franny Billingsley, which does not bear much resemblance to the name Lauren Myracle) has not been explained.
According to NPR, Ms. Myracle was notified that her novel was a finalist for the award, but the error was discovered after the public announcement was made. She was then told that her book would stay on the list that now contained six rather than the intended number of five finalists. Subsequently, the National Book Foundation changed its mind and asked the author herself to withdraw her own title from the list.
Ms. Myracle issued this statement Monday through her publisher, Amulet Books (part of Abrams):
“I was over the moon last week after receiving the call telling me that ‘Shine’ was a finalist for the award. 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.”
Harold Augenbraum, executive director of the National Book Foundation, regretted the error and did not explain the flip-flop decision about what to do about it, according to the New York Times. “The whole thing is a regrettable incident and I wish it hadn’t happened,” Mr. Augenbraum said. “I feel terrible personally, and I feel terrible for Lauren.”
The publisher has also commented on the incident. According to Publishers Weekly, Susan van Metre of Amulet said:
“This was a week of extraordinary highs and lows, and throughout, all of us at Amulet and Abrams have remained in complete support of our amazing author, who has published great, groundbreaking books with our house for almost a decade.”
Not only are the authors’ names not alike, but the stories are quite different as well. Chime is a story about a teenaged witch while Shine is a story about a hate crime involving a gay teenaged victim and a teenaged sleuth who attempts to solve the case.
In an attempt at making amends, the Foundation agreed, at Ms. Myracle’s request, to donate $5,000 to the Matthew Shepard Foundation, an organization that works for acceptance of gay youth.
PHOTOS: See pictures of the two mistaken novels here or at this left of this article.