The news that Lauren Myracle was asked to remove Shine from the list of National Book Award finalists rocked the literary community on Monday. Myracle, who took the high rode with her response to the NBA’s ham-handed handling of their monumental error, is starting to make the media rounds—her cover designer at Abrams has posted a terrific rundown of the coverage so far, including today’s Vanity Fair Q&A. One of our favorite links to come out of the controversy is this collection of tweets in support of Myracle. More can be found here.
But the NBAs aren’t the only awards that have created a stir. When Julian Barnes was given the Booker Prize last night, the spotlight was stolen by a bizarre speech from committee chairman Stella Rimington, who had earlier been lambasted for this year’s shortlist selections. It seemed that Rimington, who has written several spy thrillers, was smarting over the insinuation that “books you can zip through,” as one judge described the novels on their shortlist, are less worthy of awards.
This crossing of swords between the “readable” and the literary has been given more nuanced treatment by Laura Miller in Salon. Also of interest: a post by NBA judge and novelist Victor LaValle, who rightly points out that the literary and the readable are not separate categories and gives a defense of this year’s fiction nominees.