Chime On You Crazy Diamond

by renata

So, anyone who follows YA lit at all has probably already heard about the Shine/Chime debacle. However, I know I have a few friends whose only real contact with the world of YA lit is through this blog, and so I feel honor-bound to report about this. Also, I think the story is hilarious.

Basically? The National Book Foundation accidentally nominated Shine by Lauren Myracle for the National Book Award, when instead they meant to nominate Chime by Franny Billingsley. Apparently, they read the list over the phone and someone misheard. I mean, Shine vs Chime I get, okay. But the author names? And nobody double-checked? Were they drunk?

Shine vs Chime

Same thing, right?

And then they asked Lauren Myracle to recuse herself from the award nominees. I mean, like she hadn’t already realized she wasn’t going to win it?

Of course, I feel sad for Lauren Myracle–what a letdown. She did get the NBF to donate some money to the Matthew Shepard Foundation, since Shine is about a gay victim of a hate crime.

Vanity Fair has a really nice interview with Myracle here.

I felt gutted. I felt embarrassed, and ashamed that I had the gall to believe that this book was worthy. So over the weekend came the question of, Do I withdraw, or do I let them strip it from me? I first thought: They made the mistake; they can clean it up. Then I realized that I had a chance to either be classy or be seen as someone gripping with white knuckles to something they didn’t want me to have. And I was going to be taken off the list regardless.

So I decided to step down, and that’s when we thought it would be nice to ask the National Book Foundation to make a donation to the Matthew Shepard Foundation—I live in Fort Collins, Colorado, which is where Matthew was medevac-ed after his assault in Wyoming, and he came to the hospital where all my kids had been born, and is right around the corner, all of which was very much in my mind when I was writing Shine. And they graciously agreed to donate $5,000 to the foundation. And that’s the one unsullied good thing that’s come out of this for me. And that’s more tangible good than a shiny gold sticker any day.

Anyway, so that’s nice. Way to be classy, Lauren Myracle.

I haven’t read either of the books–to be honest I’d never even heard of Franny Billingsley or Chime, but I’m sure they’re both good.

But like seriously, National Book Foundation. Nominating Shine instead of Chime? That would be implausible as a plot point on the Brady Bunch, let alone in real life in 2011 when we have e-mail and text messages and fax machines and just any number of ways to prevent this kind of thing from happening. It also makes me kind of question the validity of all awards that have ever been given out ever. Was Ship Breaker really supposed to win the Printz last year? Or did the power just go out and someone on the committee had to go and trip the breaker? Should A Sick Day For Amos McGee really have won the Caldecott, or did someone on the committee say, “Hey Miss, I have to pee”? We may never know.

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