When young-adult novel Lauren Myracle found out that her gay teen hate crime novel Shine had been shortlisted for a National Book Award, she was "over the moon."
Then the National Book Foundation called back. Oops, they actually meant to shortlist a book called Chime, about a teen witch. (Personally, I'd rather read about a gay teen than a teen witch. But I am not the target audience.) The New York Times interviewed the chagrined non-finalist:
"I was over the moon last week after receiving the call telling me that ‘Shine' was a finalist for the award," Ms. Myracle said. "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.
At Ms. Myracle's urging, the National Book Foundation has agreed to donate $5000 to the Matthew Shepard Foundation, to honor the subject matter of the book they don't actually think is that great. A spokesperson said "the whole thing is a regrettable incident" and "it won't happen again."
Meanwhile, Chime author Franny Billingsley has become this year's unprecedented sixth finalist. The Foundation won't remove Shine from the list, because that'd be too awkward. Just not going to let it win. [NYT]