First Lauren Myracle was a National Book Award nominee. Then she wasn't. Then she was again. This past Monday, Myracle ended the story by withdrawing her name from nomination, which set off yet another wave of national media attention. We’ve pulled together some of the coverage for you, to make it easier to get a fuller picture.
PW’s story on Monday morning laid out the just-announced news, in which Myracle stated, “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.”
School Library Journal had two articles, one announcing the initial mixup, when the National Book Foundation’s Harold Augebraum said “it was our mistake, and we take full responsibility,” and stating that all six titles would be included; and a second article five days later, when Myracle withdrew.
YA author and blogger Libba Bray, infuriated by the turn of events, lent her support to Myracle in a lengthy and widely read blog post; she called the events “worthy of a soap opera called As the Incompetence Turns.”
National Public Radio’s headline said it all: “A Disappointed Author, A Misheard Word, And a Mess at the National Book Awards.”
The Associated Press said that this year’s awards “have become a story of embarrassment,” as within just a few days Myracle became “a nominee, a non-nominee, a nominee again and, finally, a non-nominee, asked to withdraw over mistakes not her own.”
The debacle made national TV: “Well, you don’t expect the National Book Award people to screw up, but they have,” said NBC anchor Brian Williams, introducing a segment on the Nightly News.
And the news even traveled overseas; the Guardian reported that Myracle withdrew her name from nomination “after administrators admitted naming her as a contender had been a mistake.”
Vanity Fair interviewed Myracle, who outlined the chronology of her nomination and non-nomination, and said she was ultimately faced with an unenviable situation: “Do I withdraw, or do I let them strip it from me?”
On Wednesday Myracle blogged about her experience at the Huffington Post, in a post called “How I Was Un-nominated for the National Book Award,” talking about the emotional rollercoaster she’s been on, and how difficult it was to tell her parents of her decision to withdraw.
Salon writer Mary Elizabeth Williams praised Myracle's resiliency, saying, "By turning bad fortune into something positive, she’s already proven herself every inch a dazzling winner, raising money and awareness for a worthy cause, supporting her fellow authors, and winning over a slew of new fans."
Myracle went on NPR’s All Things Considered, where she once again chronicled the week’s events, and explained her connection to the Matthew Shepard Foundation, which received a $5000 donation from the NBF on Myracle’s suggestion: “Matthew Shepard was somebody that I was thinking about constantly when I wrote Shine, so I thought that was a really beautiful way to at least honor that aspect of the situation.”
And today, a story in Myracle’s state paper, the Denver Post, outlined the steps the NBF says it will be taking to prevent future mistakes; “In the future, the initial call from the panel chair to the foundation liaison will spell out authors by first and last name, book title and catalog number. Then a different staffer will call back to confirm. ‘We're chastised and chagrined,’ said the NBF’s Harold Augenbraum, 'and I'm sorry it took something like this for our procedures to get better.’ ”