It’s that time of the year again – the Diagram Prize is back. For readers unfamiliar with my slight obsession over this rather strange literary award, it is an annual prize given, rather wonderfully, to the book with the oddest title of the year. It began in 1978 when Trevor Bounford and Bruce Robertson of The Diagram Group were bored at the Frankfurt Book Fair, and has run ever since (apart from 1987 and 1991, when odd book titles were sadly thin on the ground).
Now administered by The Bookseller, previous seriously odd winners have included Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice (1978), Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop (2012) and the utterly fabulous Big Book of Lesbian Horse Stories (2003) (I still want to know if that’s a big book of horse stories for lesbians, or a big book of stories about lesbian horses). Can this year’s shortlist better those?
Here are this year’s odd contenders:
Divorcing a Real Witch: For Pagans and the People That Used to Love Them by Diana Rajchel
Nature’s Nether Regions by Menno Schilthuizen
The Ugly Wife is Treasured at Home by Melissa Margaret Schneider
Strangers Have the Best Candy by Margaret Meps Schulte
Where do Camels Belong? by Ken Thompson
Advanced Pavement Research: Selected, Peer Reviewed Papers from the 3rd International Conference on Concrete Pavements Design, Construction, and Rehabilitation, December 2-3, 2013, Shanghai, China edited by Bo Tian
The Madwoman in the Volvo: My Year of Raging Hormones by Sandra Tsing-Loh
To find out more about each of these very odd titles, visit We Love This Book.
If you’d like to take part and vote for your favourite, you can make your choice here.
You’ve got until 00:01 on Saturday 21st March to decide which of these titles is the oddest of them all – the winner will be announced on Friday 27th March. I’ll update you with details of the winning entry as soon as I can!
UPDATE 31/03/15: And the winner is… Strangers Have the Best Candy by Margaret Meps Schulte. Not the title I expected to win, but there you go! Lots more info here.
Back in early March, I posted about The Diagram Prize, a literary award which exists to celebrate the oddest book title of the year. After a public vote, the 2013 winner was announced a week ago, with the prize going to Reginald Bakely’s Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop.
Horace Bent of The Bookseller magazine (which runs the annual prize) obviously approved of this year’s winner, commenting:
In Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop the public have chosen a hugely important work regarding the best way to protect one’s fowl from the fairy realm’s most bothersome creatures.
The award was accepted on behalf of Mr Bakely by the book’s US editor Clint Marsh, who was clearly delighted at the prize:
Reginald and I take this as a clear sign that people have had enough of goblins in their chicken coops. Our campaign against the fairy kingdom continues.
Consider yourselves warned, fairy creatures all….
It’s that time of the year again. Forget the Oscars, bypass the BAFTAs, and just ignore the Grammys and the Brits, because the Diagram Prize has returned once more for its annual celebration of all that is literary and odd. Yes, the quirkiest literary prize of the awards season is back and celebrating its 35th birthday…
Awarded by The Bookseller magazine since 1978, the Diagram Prize exists to honour not the book of the year, nor even the oddest book of the year. Instead, the prize goes to the oddest book title of the year; a concept that greatly appeals to me (as you can probably see from my posts on previous Diagram Prize nominees here and here).
So, without further ado, here’s the nominations for this year’s oddest book title:
Was Hitler Ill? – Hans-Joachim Neumann and Henrik Eberle (Polity Press)
Lofts of North America: Pigeon Lofts – Jerry Gagne (Foy’s Pet Supplies)
God’s Doodle: The Life and Times of the Penis – Tom Hickman (Square Peg)
Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop – Reginald Bakeley (Conari)
How Tea Cosies Changed the World – Loani Prior (Murdoch)
How to Sharpen Pencils – David Rees (Melville House)
I’m still debating my choice of favourite title, although I’m wondering how you goblinproof anything – and I’m singularly curious to know how a whole book can be written about sharpening pencils…
If any of these bizarre titles have piqued your curiosity too, you can vote for your favourite here – the winner will be announced on 22nd March.