Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Not-so-nice news

If you follow book news, you’ve probably heard about Lauren Myracle’s book, Shine, being nominated for a National Book Award last week, and then- oops, turns out the nomination was a mistake! But it’s all good, they’re keeping it in the running, so as to "not take anything away from anybody." And then- oh wait, no they’re not! Oh, and look, they've asked her to withdraw from the nominations!

I am appalled by the way the National Book Foundation handled this. Mistakes happen. But was it really necessary for them to pressure the author to withdraw in order to cover their mistake? Not cool.

Shine was the first book I reviewed for this blog
, and as I mentioned in my review, I had the pleasure of meeting Lauren Myracle at ALA Midwinter this past January. I only spoke to her for a couple of minutes, but even just after that brief meeting, hearing this news makes it feel a little more personal for me. Like, hey, this is a person I've actually met, and in addition to being an amazing writer, I can tell you that she is warm and funny and friendly-- and the fact that these National Book Foundation people just stomped all over her? Seriously not cool.

Libba Bray’s fierce, unflinching response to the whole mess is AMAZING. She totally has Lauren Myracle’s back, and I love it. I’d want Libba Bray in my corner any day of the week.

NPR’s Linda Holmes also assesses the situation in a more measured but appropriately pointed fashion.

As for Lauren Myracle herself, her response has been nothing short of elegant and graceful. At her suggestion, the National Book Foundation will be donating $5,000 to the Matthew Shepard Foundation, which advocates human dignity, provides resources for gay youth, and speaks out against hate crimes. Well done, Lauren.

Too, Shine should garner a whole bunch of publicity out of this. So there are silver linings to every cloud. Buy Shine from an independent bookstore today- it's a great read.


  1. What a snafu! I guess the bright side for Myracle is that her book is getting a lot of publicity now. I certainly want to read it!

  2. While saying this is an unfortunate situation is an understatement, I honestly think Myracle's classiness at this who debacle was very strategic. She withdraws her nomination, she looks like the bigger person, and the NBF look like bumbling idiots. Now she's classin' it up all the way to the bank because people are buying her book in droves. That sounds cynical, but I completely support Myracle in this situation and think the NBF ARE bumbling idiots. I just think, based on the attention she's getting, she totally made the right decision to withdraw.

  3. @reviewsbylola - I definitely recommend Shine! It's a really powerful, engaging read. Which is part of why this whole thing is such a shame- it deserved to be nominated for the award.

    @Beth - Oh, I agree, Myracle's response is strategic and smart. There's nothing else she could do but withdraw, and she did it in the most graceful way.


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