It’s already all over the internet, but more publicity is not a bad thing, especially in this case.
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Lauren Myracle was recently honored by the National Book Awards for her novel Shine, a story about a young sleuth who investigates a hate crime. Allowed to bask in the glory for only a few scant days, she was soon told that the announcement had been a mistake. The book they’d actually meant to nominate was Chime by Fanny Billingsley. Blamed on some sort of internal error (rumor has pinned it on either phone static or conspiracy), it still didn’t stop the foundation from asking the unbelievable: “I was asked to withdraw by the National Book Foundation to preserve the integrity of the award and the judges’ work,” she explained to the NY Times.
Um… Excuse me?
Talk about adding insult to injury! Is her book really so far below your standards that you can’t even leave her as a nominee, National Book Award judges? Yes, I’m talking to you. Do you not realize that this whole mess probably would have blown over and been forgotten if you had simply left Shine as a nominee?
Now, I have not read Shine (in fact, I honestly didn’t even know it existed before this), but I’ve added it to my to be read pile. In fact, I think not winning the award has done Shine more good than winning ever could have done. Not only will the book’s readership grow, but the National Book Awards has agreed to donate $5,000 (five times as much as she would have received as a winner) to the Matthew Sheppard Foundation, a not-for-profit aimed at “encouraging respect for human dignity and difference by raising awareness, opening dialogues, and promoting positive change.”
The recap? Lauren Myracle walks away from this fiasco with dignity, the respect of the literary world and the media, and $5,000 for a charity that obviously means a lot to her. The National Book Awards judges look like total jackasses, have spent five times the amount they usually do for this single prize, and ruined the “integrity” of their precious award.
Lauren 1 – National Book Award Jerks 0
Want to read more? Here are some blogs and news articles I’ve found about Shine‘s withdrawal:
Lauren Myracle tells it like it is on Huffington Post
Libba Bray (Pardon Libba’s French 😉 )
Want to donate to the Matthew Sheppard Foundation? Click here.