Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The National Book Award controversy

Everyone in the book world is going to be talking about this, so I am jumping right up on the bandwagon.

The National Book Award chooses 5 finalists every year to compete in the category for Young People's Literature.  Due to a snafu, this year there were 6 finalists.  My Name is Not Easy, Inside Out and Back Again, Okay for Now, Flesh and Blood so Cheap, Chime, and Shine were the 6 finalists.  Apparently Shine was never supposed to be on that list.  So, instead of allowing all 6 to compete (which was the original plan), Lauren Myracle (the author of Shine) had to withdraw her book (before they withdrew it for her) from consideration.

Now, mistakes happen, people read off the wrong name, hell there is still a rumor that Marisa Tomei was not supposed to get the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress because the wrong name was called blah blah blah.  That said, there is a way to handle the mistakes, and that would be with class.  I get that there is some tradition and that the sanctity of the award needed to be kept intact, or whatever.  But, seriously, did they need to do this?  How does this make the award better?  They embarrassed and hurt an author just to keep their award intact?  I don't see how this makes the award better, or is in the spirit of the award at all.

I have my issues with book awards already, *cough*The Printz*cough*, that I think are given out more for librarians and other people on book committees to feel all important and award books that are great for adults to read, but aren't so much great for teens to read.  But, this goes beyond my normal problems with book awards and goes more to the core of a new issue.  Awards are meant to lift people up, to give special notice to someone who has gone above and beyond.  Yes, people who don't win an award often feel bad, but they aren't being specifically singled out to feel bad.  This situation singled Myracle out and told her she was inferior.  That goes against the very reason to give an award.

1 comment:

Derek said...

its a pleasure reading all these informative things.

Janine Zargar