It turns out there will be only five nominations in the Young People Literature category of the National Book Awards. After receiving a request from the National Book Foundation that she withdraw her book from nomination, Lauren Myracle consented, a move that dropped Shine from the list. Last week, Chime by Franny Billingsley was added as a sixth nominee to the category, and Harold Augenbraum, NBF executive director, confirmed Monday that NBF staff had originally misheard Shine for Chime when the list of nominees was read by the judges over the phone. The mistake was not caught until the judges heard the announcement on last Wednesday’s radio broadcast. The YPL judge’s panel is chaired by author Marc Aronson.
A disappointed Myracle issued a statement through her publisher, Amulet Books, saying, “I was over the moon last week after receiving the call telling me that Shine was a finalist for the award. 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.”
Augenbraum called the need to remove Shine “unfortunate. We regret it very much.” But he reiterated what Myracle said in her statement of the need to uphold the intention of the judges. “The integrity of the awards is paramount,” Augenbraum said. He emphasized that none of what happened was Myracle’s fault. “She’s been very gracious about it,” he said.
Myracle’s publisher Susan Van Metre said she found the entire process dismaying. “This was a week of extraordinary highs and lows, and throughout, all of us at Amulet and Abrams have remained in complete support of our amazing author, who has published great, groundbreaking books with our house for almost a decade,” she said
NBF has agreed to donate $5,000 to the Matthew Shepard Foundation in support of Shine, which deals with issues faced by young gay people as part of the story that revolves around a hate crime.