Wrong Title Announced At Presentation Of National Book Awards 2011 Finalists

There was confusion over the shortlist of the 60th annual National Book Awards, as the wrong title was announced in one of the categories.

The awards, probably the most prestigious book awards in the USA behind the Pulitzer Prize, have previously been given to Jonathan Franzen, Philip Roth, Alice Walker and William Faulkner.

The confusion arose in the Young People's Literature category. "Shine" by Lauren Myracle was announced in the live broadcast as one of the five nominees. However, Associated Press later reported that the similar-sounding title "Chime" by Franny Billingsley was supposed to have been named instead.

The National Book Foundation, which administers the awards, lists both on their website, which means that the category has an unprecedented six nominees, despite the description of the process on their own website stating that there are only five nominees in each category.

"We made a mistake, there was a miscommunication," said Harold Augebraum, executive director of the National Book Foundation, to the LA Times. "We could have taken one of the books away to keep it five, but we decided that it was better to add a sixth one as an exception, because they're all good books."

The other stories to emerge from the shortlist:

  • Out of 20 nominated books, 12 were written by female authors - one short of last year's 13
  • At 26 years and 12 days old, Téa Obreht is one of the youngest nominees ever
  • This is the first time a graphic novel has been shortlisted in the Non-fiction category ("Radioactive")
  • There are two debut novelists in the Fiction category (Téa Obreht and Andrew Krivak)
  • "The Convert", in the Non-fiction category, is based on a cache of letters, which the author has "rewritten and greatly condensed"
  • Manning Marable, author of "Malcolm X", died in April the week before his book was published
  • Themes of shortlisted books include the Vietnam War, Karl Marx, Malcolm X, the Triangle factory fire in New York, and Marie Curie

There are four categories, each judged by well-known writers. A total of 1,223 books were submitted this year; only American citizens are eligible for the prize.

Finalists, listed below, are awarded $1,000 and a medal; winners, announced at a special dinner in mid November, receive $10,000 and a bronze sculpture.

The shortlists are: