The Clown Car of Literary Awards
So, let me get this straight.
If the people administering an award are so incompetent that they can’t even manage to communicate effectively with each other, and mangle their own list of nominees, the only way to “preserve the integrity of the award and the judges’ work” is to ask the author you just screwed over to withdraw her book from contention?
First of all, it’s idiotic to “withdraw” a book once it’s already on the shortlist.
Second, withdrawing a book implies that something is wrong with the book — or that the author dislikes the award process for some reason — which is the opposite of the problem here.
Third — and, as a father, this is by far the most important lesson to me — if you make a mistake, you need to be the one to fix it. You don’t ask if the person you just injured can go away quietly so that it’s less trouble for you. You screw up; you fix it — that’s the rule.
Look, we all know that Shine would have no change of actually winning this award — the same set of judges that will make the final decision decided on the mangled shortlist — but demanding that Shine be removed entirely is the action of a petty, self-centered prick. You don’t fix thoughtless stupidity by being a prick; you fix it by being generous and apologetic. Someone at the NBA — maybe the administrators, maybe the judges, maybe both — hasn’t learned a lesson my ten-year-old already knows well.
Lauren Myracle is way too polite and understanding; the correct answer to the NBA’s insulting request could only be “fuck off.”
- I just purchased Lauren Myracle’s Shine. It was the least I could do. (tobiasbuckell.com)
- National Book Award error leaves author out (cbc.ca)