October 17th, 2011 / 2:48 pm

When you’re asked to withdraw something or to resign from a position, there’s often some kind of pressure involved and that pressure is generally wielded to make someone else save face. Last week, the National Book Foundation announced this year’s nominees for the National Book Award. They made a mistake (?!) and today, the writer whose work was “mistakenly” included,  withdrew her work from consideration, at the Foundation’s “request.” The word clusterfuck comes to mind. Real talk: I’d cry if this happened to me.


  1. J. A. Tyler

      Lauren’s poet husband is a friend of mine, and I was so sad to hear about this yesterday. What a shame to be a part of a ‘mistake’ like this (especially because she is a tremendously talented YA writer).

  2. deadgod

      Ha ha–brutal.  I hope a million kids read her book, however “award”-worthy the muckety-mucks think it is.

      By the way, why does Bosman write that Myracle “curtly withdrew”?  How should her statement have been more copious??

  3. alexisorgera

      wait. why in the HELL did they MAKE her WITHDRAW her work? Are you fucking kidding me? Clusterfuck is right. I wouldn’t do it. I’d make them fucking do it.

  4. Roxane

      I can’t say I would either. It’s outrageous to make her graciously fix their fuck up.

  5. Roxane

      I just bought it. Will report back.

  6. Roxane

      Indeed. I just bought her book so I look forward to getting to know her writing. Regardless, it’s a damn shame and so poorly handled.

  7. Darby Larson

      they made a bad decision by keeping it in the list as a 6th wheel, which they admit to. after that, i agree with the decision to ask her to withdraw. i’d’ve withdrew anyway because who wants to be a sixth wheel, to know you’re only there by mistake. they seem to realize the nature of the situation though, they donated to the shepard foundation, which i feel matters more than the nomination. plus there is merit, as well as should be a bit of an ego-boost in coming in sixth, she’ll get a sales boost. i forgive em.

  8. Darby Larson

      two cracks in the glass of my argument are a) i am conflating sixth wheel with sixth place and b) i am not speaking to the decision of asking her to withdraw as opposed to them just withdrawing it. (a) is a fair crack, though i think the glass holds water based solely on the donation (which i think trumps everything in that its a reminder that the purpose of books is to talk about something and not for their authors to win awards). (b) doesn’t matter because there was no ill-intention. at the realization that it was a mistake, it seems that it is in everyone’s interest to withdraw.

  9. alanrossi

      the writer either withdraws or doesn’t.  the foundation doesn’t ask the writer to withdraw because then it’s not really withdrawing.

  10. deadgod

      I think the glass is all glass (and no crack) at a):  although there is one ‘winner’, the other four/five “place[s]” are equally ‘second’ (or not??), and the five/six nominations work together as a statement. 

      On the other hand, b):  “ill-inten[ded]” or not, telling Myracle that it’s okay – she’s in anyway – and then “ask[ing]” her ‘to withdraw’!! – is way worse than making the mistake in the first place. 

      They pulled her out of ‘line’ onto an elite little ship, decided (I think:  arbitrarily) that the ship was now unseaworthily too crowded, and–because they didn’t want to be seen shoving anybody overboard–“asked” her to swim for it.

      Putting the money towards convincing the angry not to kill gay people is cool, but “ask[ing]” for that “withdraw[al]”? – blech.

  11. alanrossi

      i don’t know about b.  feels like: if a journal writes me and says, You’re accepted, we’ll publish it.  then later they say, Sorry, we were wrong, it was a different story, would you mind withdrawing yours?  what i mean is, no: just say sorry, we were wrong, we’re not publishing it (we’re taking it off the list).  it doesn’t seem ill-intended, but it does seem, i don’t know, like an inability to be direct or somesuch. 

  12. Darby Larson

      yeah, that’s fair. i dont know if the journal rejection is an accurate analogy. i guess i wouldn’t care that much if asked to withdraw because i would agree that it needs to be withdrawn. having the mistake be considered does sincerely undercut the integrity of the award, like in the future, all similar mistakes will have to be considered. it’s not a fair treatment to the winner of the award. i feel like it so has to be withdrawn, that how it happens becomes less important for me.

  13. alanrossi

      there needs to be a comment-awareness thing which blinks: Hold on a minute, deadgod is writing something. 

      i guess that might back things up a bit though. 

  14. Darby Larson

      i think the elite ship analogy is a little hyperbolic. i dont think the decision was arbitrary, i see it as more like she didnt have a valid ticket to board in the first place. and they didnt ask her to swim for it as much as ask her to take this smaller, yet still fairly comfortable boat, back to dock.

  15. Darby Larson

      re the crack or no-crack of (a), i mean that the nature of the mistake has not been revealed enough to say that if the mistake hadn’t been made, what would the book’s merit be? Was the nature of the mistake such that it was very close to being considered as a contender, or was the mistake as arbitrary as a typo? i can’t say for sure that their original determination of the merit of the book was high or not.

  16. alanrossi

      yeah, it would be a more accurate if, you know, the journal-analogy was much more public.  the analogy fails because it is more private than the affair in the post.  i agree with you in one main way: i’d withdraw too.  still, i say it’s up to the publisher/foundation to simply offer apology and then do the scratch.  think of it this way: what position would all involved be in if she refused to withdraw?

  17. c2k

      Mr. Augenbraum declined to explain how the mistake was made, saying that it was ‘an internal question.’

      Well, one book is called Shine; the other, Chime. The question might be one of phonetics.

  18. c2k

      Hah. Phonics.

  19. c2k

      Chime on me, phonetically.

  20. Lilzed

      It’s totally skeevy that they would call and ask her to withdraw from consideration. They were basically asking her to lie.

      Laughable that she was asked to do so “to preserve the integrity of the award and the judges’ work.” What about the integrity of her desire, as a writer, to have her work find appreciation and acknowledgement?

      That’s really low. That’s really really low. How can an accolade have integrity when the people who represent it are such… C O W A R D S ??????

  21. Corey Zeller

       “to preserve the integrity of the award and the judges’ work”?

      So they fuck up and ask her to withdraw her work because of the “integrity” of the award?

      Give me a fucking break.

  22. deadgod

      Yes, probably too “hyperbolic”.  Nobody died, nobody lost their home or job, no voice was (or appears to have been) silenced in shame or fear.

      I guess I was imagining the disappointment and frustration from the writer’s perspective:  ‘You call me by name to the stage, I go up, you say “not you, but stay”–then you ask me to offer to leave.’

      –which might feel like being pushed overboard.  –not sure about the “fairly comfortable boat” . . .

      [What I meant by “arbitrary” was the number ‘five’ itself.]

  23. deadgod

      That’s a fair distinction to make before the public false-nomination–but now?  –‘Oh, sorry, kiddo, but your book wasn’t even top-ten material.’??  –that can’t be the less egregious possibility!

  24. Darby Larson

      right. that’s why i’m saying it’s a crack in my original argument.

  25. Darby Larson

      i guess the material of the fairly comfortable boat was the donation for me. although i’m kind of seeing this whole thing with a bit more disdain now that’s been some hours. i think alan is right where he said somewhere that if she had refused to withdraw, then the save face plan ends up hurting them more. they should have aplogized and withdrew it themselves. thansk for arguin it out brothuh.

  26. marshall

      who gives a fuck about a goddamn grammy

  27. cvan

      Is no one going to approach the obvious, that a YA author (one who previously wrote books totally in IM) has no business existing in the same paragraph as the admittedly less-than-stellar NBA? 

  28. Roxane

      I don’t follow. What do you mean?

  29. cvan

      I’m making the natural assumption that the author was mistakenly mentioned as being on the short list of finalists because she had made it to the prior cut off round.

  30. deadgod

      She was more than “mentioned” – she was ceremonially “named” as a “finalist”.  They’re quite proud of the prestige that being on their short-list confers, eh?  (I mean, look at the jackets in the National Book Foundation’s site – which you can get to from the NYTimes blogicle linked to in Roxane’s blogicle – :  every book already has a sticker on it saying “National Book Award Finalist”.)

      It’s reasonable – I think:  overwhelmingly – to assume that the book was on the long short-list (where on it, I haven’t seen nor seen a way to infer). 

      –but it sounds, in your first comment, like you think a YA book has no place in the running for a National Book Award.  The book was not, then was, then was not nominated for an award in the “Young People’s Literature” category.  Have I misunderstood your misunderstanding?

      (At first, I’d thought you were making a basketball-lockout joke.  Rats.)

  31. cvan

      Sheesh, I’m an idiot.  In reading Lauren’s Huffington Post piece, which went into far more detail than the NYTimes, it now makes sense.  I honestly thought a YA title had been nominated and made it (and then made it off of) on the short list for literature.  Shows you what I think of the state of publishing.  Sorry for the confusion, i.e. mine.  How terrible for this author to have such a thing happen.

  32. deadgod

      I think a commenter on the NYT thread gets it righteously:  when they realized their error, the NBF pooh-bahs should have said that Chime had been left off the short-list in error, and that, this year, the final choice would be out of six nominees.  –and just kept their mouths shut – in the interest of “integrity” ha ha ha – about the details of which book was sixth (or whereverth) – which tight lips they’re now showing the ability to maintain.

      Maybe the writer is already laughing grimly about the shit; when I first read the blogicle Roxane links to, I laughed unkindlily enough–‘ha ha … scumbags’.

  33. marshall

      this is good for her, tho

      it will make her a better person

      better than if she had been a finalist or never put on the list at all

  34. Richard Thomas

      #772 at Amazon. Can’t be doing THAT bad. Hope it gets her some attention and sales.