Today news broke that one of the finalists for the National Book Awards was announced in error.
Think about that for a minute: you as an author being told you are nominated for the most prestigious book award - the Oscar of literature - only to be told, "Oops. Our bad."
Publishers Weekly reported that Lauren Myracle’s finalist spot in the Young People Literature category for her book SHINE had been intended for Franny Billingsley’s CHIME, a mistake made when a member of the National Book Foundation staff misheard a judge’s announcement over the phone .
The mix-up was not caught until last Wednesday’s radio announcement.
Myracle decided to withdraw her book as a finalist after being asked by the NBF. She was told that by doing so she would “preserve the integrity of the award and of the judges work.”
What a shocking embarrassment for the National Book Foundation. And what a horrible thing for Myracle to have gone through. Frankly, I’ve never been much of a fan of quantifying the value of one’s artistic work over another’s, but I’ve always been somewhat eased by the fact that, whether it’s the Oscars, Grammy’s, or the NBA, there was a professional, competent group of people running the show.
I have to say, my confidence in the National Book Foundation has been shaken.