NEW YORK (AP) ― A month before the winners are to be announced, this year’s National Book Awards have become a story of embarrassment.
Within just a few days, children’s author Lauren Myracle has been a nominee, a non-nominee, a nominee again and, finally, a non-nominee, asked to withdraw over mistakes not her own.
Myracle’s “Shine” was on the original list of five finalists announced last Wednesday for the young people’s literature category. But the National Book Foundation, which sponsors the prizes, cited a “miscommunication” with the judges and quickly said that her book had been confused with Franny Billingsley’s “Chime.”
So Myracle was out.
But within a couple of hours, the foundation changed its mind again and welcomed “Shine” back to make six nominees. Meanwhile, fans were posting congratulatory notes on Myracle’s Facebook page.
By Friday, two days later, the foundation had decided five nominees were best.
“I was over the moon last week after receiving the call telling me that ‘Shine’ was a finalist for the award,” Myracle said Monday in a statement issued through her publisher, Amulet Books, an imprint of Abrams. “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.”
The National Book Awards, among the country’s most prestigious literary honors, also include categories for fiction, nonfiction and poetry, judged by separate panels of fellow authors. Winners will be announced Nov. 16.
In a statement released Monday afternoon, the foundation said it “regrets that an error was made in the original announcement of the finalists for the 2011 National Book Award in Young People’s Literature and apologizes for any confusion and hurt it may have caused Lauren Myracle.”