Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Ups and Downs of Being Lauren Myracle

For YA author Lauren Myracle, it has been a week of good news and bad news.  First came the good news: Shine, her novel about the bullying of gay kids, had been chosen as one of five finalists for the National Book Award for Young People's Literature.  Myracle, of course, was thrilled and knew exactly what being part of this short list would do for her reputation and books sales.

Then came the bad news.  Her nomination was all a big mistake.  The judges had actually nominated Frannie Billingsley's Chime - another one-word title that sounds a whole lot like "Shine."  One can imagine how crushed Myracle must have been when she got word that it was all one big mistake, but that is when things really got interesting.  The old nugget that politicians so often forget: - that "the cover-up" is more serious than the incident being covered up - is biting the National Book Foundation on the...uh...ankle.

The NPR Monkey See blog has the details:
If they wanted Myracle off the list, they had the option of withdrawing the nomination and saying, "We made an error, we still think it's a wonderful book and never would have made this mistake if we didn't consider it an entirely deserving choice, but we have to use the list our judges made, and we apologize." If they wanted to call it serendipity and essentially overrule their judges, they could have done that, too.
But asking her to withdraw — to solve the problem for them — when she had nothing to do with the creation of the problem in the first place seems a bit unfair. 
The NBF has tried to atone by donating $5,000 to the Matthew Shepard Foundation at Myracle's suggestion, because Shinedeals in part with gay kids. It has also apologized... 
Lauren Myracle

This has to have been traumatic for Lauren Myracle but I have to believe that all of the publicity associated with the blunder will bring more attention to Shine (and higher sales figures) than she would have dared imagine even two weeks ago.  Grin and bear it...all the way to the bank, Ms. Myracle.  Even your next title will likely benefit from the name recognition you will gain from this fiasco.  Congratulations.


  1. Ugh. The mistake was embarrassing enough, but then compounding it by putting the status of the "integrity" of the award on Myracle's shoulders...could the NBF have come up with a worse way to deal with the situation?

  2. It takes a real talent - and a lot of luck - to pull off a good "coverup," L.Girl. Obviously, these guys don't have anyone like that on the staff.