Well, this is awkward. An author has withdrawn from the National Book Awards shortlist after she was mistakenly honored by the National Book Foundation, who royally screwed up this year's awards process.
Here's what happened: Lauren Myracle wrote a young adult novel called Shine, which tackles the heavy subject of a teenage gay hate crime victim in small-town North Carolina. Last Wednesday, Shine was named as one of the five finalists on the Awards shortlist, leaving Myracle "over the moon" with happiness. Later in the day, however, the Foundation issued a correction, saying that Shine was not actually a finalist, but they would allow it to stay on the list anyway, along with a sixth book, Chime, by Franny Billingsley, which was supposed to be a finalist in the first place. Fine. But then things got ugly:
"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," said Myracle in a statement. Ouch! “The whole thing is a regrettable incident and I wish it hadn’t happened,” Harold Augenbraum, the executive director of the Foundation, told the Times. “I feel terrible personally, and I feel terrible for Lauren.” He doesn't know how the mistake was made, only that "it won't happen again."
Myracle, for her part, has kept a brave public face, declining to trash-talk the Foundation or their last-minute switcheroo. She did, however, successfully urge organizers to donate a cool $5000 to the Matthew Shepard Foundation.