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book award drama

if you're a bookish peep on Twitter, you may have heard that the National Book Award has been stirring up the nerdrage. they nominated 6 titles for the Young People's Literature category (instead of the standard 5), and then asked Lauren Myracle (author of SHINE) to withdraw her title to preserve the integrity of the NBA. (see article here: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/jacketcopy/2011/10/lauren-myracle-asked-to-withdraw-from-national-book-award-finalists.html)
there is some debate as to how there were 6 titles instead of 5 (which there have always been forever and ever amen), including speculation that the titles - SHINE and CHIME - sounded the same. i'm going to pretend that isn't the case because it's not confirmed and it's just so ridiculous and disheartening if it is true.
the initial absurdity for me was that it took 4 days for them to figure out there were 6 titles. i mean, really. it was published by newspapers and even included "with an extra title" in the newspaper article. (see http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/jacketcopy/2011/10/national-book-award-finalists-announced.html). my speculation is that they nominated 6 titles, someone gave them shit about it, and that put them in a pickle. so rather than make an announcement that says "we really shouldn't have proceeded with 6 titles, our deepest apologies" they ask the author - the AUTHOR - to recind her name.
now, being a total novice in the world of awards, perhaps i'm way off the mark with thinking this is disrespectful. to nominate someone for a very high honor, then ask them to remove their name, oozes with shame and embarrassment.
of course, the internet is livid with the National Book Awards and i'm sure people are boycotting the organization and saying I'LL NEVER READ A NBA EVER AGAIN RAGGGGEEEE. which isn't fair to the other nominees, winners, and authors in general.
did the NBA committee fuck up? oh HELL YES. does this mean they don't like SHINE or think it's unworthy of our time? NO.
do the books that are nominated deserve to be read, regardless of human comittee error? oh HELL YES.
is this the only issue facing the NBA at the moment? of course not. (see http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2011/10/14/141342219/what-does-the-national-book-award-stand-for-what-should-it-stand-for) they are an organization that takes hundreds and hundreds of titles and whiddles them down to 5 per category. amazing books fall through the cracks. it happens. they are human. but while i understand titles not being nominated...i do not understand 'accidentally' nominating too many titles. does not compute.
i remain hopeful they will issue an apology to Lauren Myracle for 'taking one for the team'. although, i suppose that would make her public statement moot...so i'm not sure what they'll do from this point. i wonder if they will issue an apology to the readers and supporters of National Book Award titles. not that it will change anything, and they'll still probably use a word like 'integrity' that will push the nerdrage buttons everywhere and add more fuel to the anonymous internet fires.
regardless, i intend on watching, reading, and following up with this business.
for further details on the National Book Award 2011 situation, check out the following sources:
Maureen Johnson's Twitter Feed (she'll keeping you current on the goings on)
Complete list of NBA 2011 Nominees (http://www.nationalbook.org/nba2011.html)

Lisa is a gamer, crafter, fangirl, mother, wife and unabashed nerd who is pretty ridiculous and it's best you know that up front. When she's not binge watching Netflix or crafting into the wee hours of the night, you can find her spending a lot of her time on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. i would love to comment here, but i really don't have anything to say. i do, however, feel outrage.


  2. I first heard the news as Lauren being "accidentally" nominated & instead of taking her off the list that is why they created six nominations. But it was Lauren who withdrew because she didn't feel it was right to stay in the nominations when she wasn't meant to be there to begin with. I could be wrong.. it's just the sources I read earlier this morning.

    Regardless, the whole situation is effed up. I hope someone got a serious ass-chewing over this mix-up. Talk about embarrassing for Lauren. I do agree that the others being nominated should not be looked down upon or forgotten about because ya know.. they WERE nominated & it's a pretty sweet deal to be recognized for.

  3. I too think this is dumb.

    Also I read nerdRAGE as nerdAGE and I was like, why yes my day is full of nerdage, before realizing it said nerdRAGE lol.

    The end.

  4. ginger - i agree with you. i do hope there was some sort of action taken on their part.
    april - love it! i was initially worried i wrote 'nerdage'. while i do love nerdrage, i certainly love nerdage more!

  5. You said it Lisa! And with regards to what Ginger said, the chairman (I believe) of the NBA asked Lauren to withdraw because it was a screw-up. They initially were going to stay with 6 noms, but changed their mind...craziness.

  6. My Library Listserves are abuzz with this topic. They should have just embraced the 6th book...even if it was a mistake. Heidi Klum does it all the time on project runway. And I'm sure it was a deserving title to make it up into the top 6. Really, it just makes a good award look bad by asking for the author to step down...So sad...

  7. Ohhh yes I read all about this. Its just totally crazy. Especially since Lauren actually received a call prior to the announcement of her nomination letting her know that she was being nominated and confirming the title of her book and how to spell her name and everything. I mean how could they possibly have mistaken Shine for Chime when they did that? Obviously the books have two different authors. I just think its really sad for Lauren because first its this amazing high that your book has been nominated and then its suddenly "Oh whoops we made a mistake. Withdraw your book please?" I don't even want to know what that feels like. At least one good thing has come out of this: Shine and Lauren Myracle are now getting more publicity! :)

  8. Julia - i agree wholeheartedly. Lauren and Shine are getting a ton of buzz about this. while it would have been great if the buzz started from a natural and loving place (instead of a giant faux-pas), any attention is awesome.


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