The Morris Award is one of two YALSA Awards that work a bit different. It (and the YALSA Award for Excellence in NonFiction for Young Adults) announce a shortlist about six or so weeks before Midwinter. Then, at Midwinter, the announcements are made about the winner and honor books. The announcements are made on Monday morning, and that same night, a reception is held.
This year’s winner was The Freak Observer by Blythe Woolston. From my review: “the real strength of the book is the fascinating character of Loa and the glimpses into the people around her. Any one of them is strong enough to support their own book, because each has their own story or motivation or damage and we only see glimpses, the glimpses that Loa knows, and part of Loa’s growth is when she realizes that people do things for reasons that are not all about her.”
YALSA‘s webpage explains the use of a shortlist: “The shortlist will help raise awareness of the award and allow for new promotion and marketing to raise awareness about debut books for teens, ALA and YALSA.”
What do you think about the shortlist method for a YALSA award? I’m a bit torn. On the one hand, it is nice to have the list beforehand, to find the books, and to read them with an eye towards “why is this on the shortlist.” But, on the other, after awards are announced books are tracked down and read the same way.
Does this build excitement the way, say, that the Oscars build excitement? Are people debating both what title will win, and what did and didn’t belong on the list, the way they do the Oscars?
From the point of view of an author, does it matter whether one’s book is a finalist that wasn’t selected as a winner? Is it different to think of something as an “honor” book?
If you attend YALSA Midwinter Meetings, do you usually leave Monday or Tuesday? Have you attended a Morris Midwinter Reception?