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Diagram Prize 2006


The 2006 Diagram Prize for the Oddest Title of the Year

The shortlist for the 2006 prize has received unprecedented international coverage, from the Orlando Sentinel to the Hindu. In the UK listeners were bemused by the Today programme running a competition for listeners to imagine the titles were for a novel and to write the opening paragraphs.

If anyone wants to cast a vote, they can join in the fun by going to  The winner will be announced there on 13 April.

It is still my favourite competition of the year. It is run by columnist Horace Bent in the Bookseller (the UK book trade weekly) with input from dedicated odd title hunters from all over the world.

The prize, set up in association with the Diagram Group, has been running since 1978 and is a joyous celebration of the barmy side of publishing.

As always, the shortlist includes some memorably odd titles, but all had to be guaranteed to be authentic. So it's been a tough job choosing what goes on the shortlist for the very weird  2006 line-up.

The 2006 shortlist

How Green Were the Nazis?

D Di Mascio's Delicious Ice Cream: D Di Mascio of Coventry - an Ice Cream company of Repute, with an Interesting and Varied Fleet of Ice Cream Vans

The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification

Tattoed Mountain Women and Spoon Boxes of Daghestan

Proceedings of the Eighteenth International Seaweed Symposium

Better Never to Have Been: the Harm of Coming into Existence

The 2005 Winner

How People Who Don't Know They're Dead Attach Themselves to Unsuspecting Bystanders and What to Do About It

So how do you think this year's shortlist and last year's winner line up alongside glorious winners of the past, such as 2005's Bombproof Your Horse, 2002's wonderful Living with Crazy Buttocks and the original classic Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice?

(Please note that, contrary to what you may think, all entries for the Prize must be genuine titles of books actually being published - no cheating allowed)

© Chris HolifieldManaging director of WritersServices; spent working life in publishing,employed by everything from global corporations to start-ups; track record includes: editorial director of Sphere Books, publishing director of The Bodley Head, publishing director for start-up of upmarket book club, The Softback Preview, editorial director of Britain’s biggest book club group, BCA, and, most recently, deputy MD and publisher of Cassell & Co. She is also currently the Director of the Poetry Book Society; During all of this time aware of problems faced by writers, as publishing changed from idiosyncratic cottage industry, 'occupation for gentlemen', into corporate business of today. Writers encountered increasing difficulty in getting books edited or published. Authors create the books which are the raw material for the whole business. She believes it is time to bring them back to centre stage. 2007