Monday, October 17, 2011

Shine On!

There is an explosion of support for Lauren Myracle, and her YA novel Shine after the National Book Foundation blundered its announcement that the book was a nominee in the Young People's Literature category. Having to renounce the recognition that being nominated for a National Book Award brings, Myracle seems to be garnering more attention from the press, and social media, than any books that still remain on the finalist list.

It will be interesting to see how many copies of Shine sell in this momentous surge in support of her novel, which deals with underrepresented themes in award-winning YA literature: gay hate crimes.

It brings to mind something the poet Crystal Williams said at a reading I attended last year, about how National Book Award winners tended to be overrepresented in the category of straight, white, male.

Perhaps they really are a little out of touch? This cannot be helping the general assumption that the NBF is part of the 'old' book publishing industry. Although the 'new' is still being defined (which is why I love being a book publishing student!), it seems the power of the people may outweigh a logo on the book (although the money that comes with the award is pretty sweet...)

I admit, as someone who does not read a lot of YA literature, I have been hearing a lot about the book and am tempted to go and buy a copy. From an independent bookstore of course! ;)

What I think is awesome is that due to this error, the NBF is donating $5000 to the Matthew Shepard Foundation, named in honor of a young boy murdered because he was gay. Raising the awareness of this issue seems to be the legacy of Shine, National Book Award or not.

Right on Lauren Myracle!

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