A celebration of oddness – the 2012 Diagram Prize

One of the quirkiest literary prizes on the publishing scene is the Diagram Prize for the Oddest Book Title of the Year, run by The Bookseller since 1978.

I don’t think the prize was run last year but in 2010 the winner was the wonderfully-titled Managing a Dental Practice the Genghis Khan Way.

Other favourite past winners include 2005’s People Who Don’t Know They’re Dead: How They Attach Themselves to Unsuspecting Bystanders and What to Do About It and 2007’s If You Want Closure In Your Relationship, Start With Your Legs.

Last week, the shortlist for the 2012 Diagram Prize was announced and contains seven titles published in 2011, culled from a total of 64 book titles submitted from around the world.

As Philip Stone, the prize administrator, says on the Bookseller’s website: “Despite the global economic turmoil, publishers continue to invest in imaginative, diverse and niche publications, and this award wonderfully reflects that.”

The shortlist comprises:

  • A Century of Sand Dredging in the Bristol Channel: Volume Two by Peter Gosson (Amberley).
  • Cooking with Poo by Saiyuud Diwong (Urban Neighbours of Hope).
  • Estonian Sock Patterns All Around the World by Aino Praakli (Kirjastus Elmatar).
  • The Great Singapore Penis Panic: And the Future of American Mass Hysteria by Scott D Mendelson (Createspace).
  • Mr Andoh’s Pennine Diary: Memoirs of a Japanese Chicken Sexer in 1935 Hebden Bridge by Stephen Curry and Takayoshi Andoh (Royd Press).
  • A Taxonomy of Office Chairs by Jonathan Olivares (Phaidon).
  • The Mushroom in Christian Art by John A Rush (North Atlantic Books).

My favourite this year is The Great Singapore Penis Panic: And the Future of American Mass Hysteria.

Diagram Prize 2012 shortlisted title

This prize deserves to be supported and celebrated and I urge you to vote for the title you think deserves the 2012 prize here – the winner will be announced on 30 March.

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