Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop wins Diagram Prize


Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop has been named as the winner of Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year — despite the fact it’s goblin-proofing, with a hyphen.

The title won 38% of the public vote, fighting off  its nearest warm fuzzy fellow contender (31%)


and some rather flaccid competition (14%) from  . . . .


Horace Bent, The Bookseller‘s diarist and custodian of the prize, said:

“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. Everyone knows well the hazards cats, dogs and foxes hold for owners of chickens, not to mention red mite, but the public has recognised the need to illuminate this hitherto under-reported nuisance.”

Bent added:

“It is perhaps no coincidence in these austere times that a book aimed to assist members of the public frugally farming their own produce proved the most popular title on our six-strong shortlist. It also illustrates that the public at large is afflicted by an incredible amount of paranoia regarding the threat foreign invaders pose to their property.”

The book, published by Conari Press, was written by Reginald Bakeley, with a foreword by its US editor Clint Marsh.

Marsh said:

“On behalf of Reginald Bakeley and Conari Press, I am honoured to accept this award. The Diagram Prize celebrates the playfulness that is at the heart of much of the world’s best book publishing. Thank you to everyone who voted and allowed Goblinproofing to join the distinguished list of Diagram winners. 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.”

More than 1,000 people voted for the winner on The Bookseller‘s sister consumer site, welovethisbook.com.

The Diagram Prize (a British award) celebrates its 35th year in 2013, after first being founded as a way to avoid boredom at the annual Frankfurt Book Fair (a German event). Bruce Robinson, the founder of the Diagram Group, a publishing solutions firm, established the first prize in 1978, with the crown going to Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice.

Although the winner receives no prize attention, the nominator of the title, Deep Books’ marketing manager Alan Ritchie, will receive a bottle of wine.

Previous winners of the title have included Greek Rural Postmen and Their Cancellation Numbers, Highlights in the History of Concrete, Bombproof Your Horse and Cooking with Poo.

Philip Stone, The Bookseller charts editor and Diagram Prize administrator, said:

“People might think the Diagram Prize is just a bit of fun, but it spotlights an undervalued art that can make or break a work of literature. Books such as A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time all owe a sizeable part of their huge successes to their odd monikers.”

He added:

“The kind of niche, off-beat publications that often appear on the Diagram Prize shortlist might not make their writers or publishers rich beyond their wildest dreams, but the fact writers still passionately write such works and publishers are still willing to invest in them is a marvellous thing that deserves to be celebrated.”

The full shortlist and their share of the vote:

1) Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop by Reginald Bakeley (Conari Press) 38%

2) How Tea Cosies Changed the World by Loani Prior (Murdoch Books) 31%

3) God’s Doodle: The Life and Times of the Penis by Tom Hickman (Square
Peg) 14%

4) How to Sharpen Pencils by David Rees (Melville House) 13% (Reviewed by both The NY Times and The New Yorker, probably because he’s so cute! *Really, Gina? Is appropriate?* It’s true. Just look at him.)


5) Was Hitler Ill? by Hans-Joachim Neumann and Henrik Eberle (Polity Press)

6) Lofts of North America: Pigeon Lofts by Jerry Gagne (Foy’s Pet Supplies)

Published in: on March 22, 2013 at 10:59 AM  Leave a Comment  

Monday, again. Can’t I get an award for just showing up?

Posing Otter

“Oh, my eyes! Is it really Monday, again?”

Apparently our blogger overindulged this [Super Bowl Sunday] weekend, again. So, here’s some book award news that’s fit to print!

Katherine Applegate has won the 2013 Newbery Medal for The One and Only Ivan (Harper). This novel, based on a true story, is narrated by a silverback gorilla that lives in an ill-run roadside attraction with other performing animals; illustrated by Patricia Castelao Costa. (Don’t worry, it has a happy ending.)


Jon Klassen has won the 2013 Randolph Caldecott Medal (for Picture Book Artistry) for This Is Not My Hat (Candlewick), in which a small fish gleefully steals a hat belonging to a larger fish and tries to get away with it; it was edited by Liz Bicknell.


For other award winners, check out Publishers’ Weekly extensive coverage.

Self-Published Authors Make UK Amazon Kindle 2012 Bestseller List


07.01.13 | Lisa Campbell  (Full article can be found on The Bookseller, copyright The Bookseller).

Amazon has revealed that 15% of its bestselling Kindle books in the UK last year were written by self-published authors, with Hodder & Stoughton’s Nick Spalding landing the bestselling self-published author gong [award].

Spalding’s books Love…From Both Sides and Love…And Sleepless Nights sales combined to make Spalding the bestselling digital book author through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) platform last year. The author was snapped up by Hodder & Stoughton imprint Coronet for a six-figure sum last October.

Amazon said overall 15 of the top 100 Kindle books sold in the UK were by authors using its self-publishing tool, with 75 by traditional publishers. Amazon added that since KDP launched, 61 KDP authors have sold over 50,000 copies of their books. It also revealed that 12 KDP authors have sold in excess of 100,000 copies, with 50 authors earning in excess of £50,000 [$80K US], and 11 of these earning more than £100,000 [$160K US].

The best-selling KDP books of 2012 on Amazon.co.uk:

1. Love… From Both Sides by Nick Spalding

2. Only the Innocent by Rachel Abbott

3. Love… And Sleepless Nights by Nick Spalding

4. One Cold Night by Katia Lief

5. Locked In by Kerry Wilkinson

6. Angel Killer by Andrew Mayne

7. Touch by Mark Sennen

8. Taunting the Dead by Mel Sherratt

9. The Tea Planter’s Daughter by Janet MacLeod Trotter

10. Here She Lies by Katia Lief

Shine or Chime . . . why awards just so aren’t worth it

Lauren Myracle, an author of young-adult literature, was named to the shortlist last Wednesday for “Shine,” a novel about the experience of a gay teenager who is the victim of a hate crime. Shortly afterward the National Book Foundation corrected itself, saying that Ms. Myracle’s book was not meant to be a finalist but that it would stay on the five-book shortlist anyway. The foundation then added a sixth book, “Chime,” by Franny Billingsley, originally intended to be a finalist. It’s probably pretty obvious what Chime is about from the cover. Very . . . uncontroversial.

Shortly after the NBF said Shine was a mistake, and would be allowed to stay on the list, they turned around again and asked the author of Shine to withdraw her book from contention. Apparently they didn’t feel they had the authority to pull her name.  That’s just lame. If Shine wasn’t worthy of winning, it wouldn’t have won, despite being on the list. However,  it does seem by shortlisting a book and then “de-shortlisting” it, the National Book Foundation does the reputation of Shine some damage.


Published in: on October 19, 2011 at 6:07 PM  Leave a Comment  
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The Greater Journey: Americans In Paris . . . David McCullough’s latest volume and sure to be a prize winner

With the deadline for the Pulitzer coming up on the 15th we thought now would be a good time to mention two-time Pulitzer winner David McCullough. Yes, he’s written another masterpiece that will surely get a nod if not a prize:  The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris

The Greater Journey is the story of the adventurous American artists, writers, doctors, politicians, architects, and others of high aspiration who set off for Paris in the 70 years between 1830 and 1900. It’s one of those times in America when the ambitious felt that to excel in their work they needed to draw on the resources and history of Europe.

David McCullough touches upon such figures as Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female doctor in America, who was one of this intrepid band. Also Charles Sumner, who enrolled at the Sorbonne and there came to understand that Black students (who in France were considered equal to Whites) had the same ambitions he had. That experience would cause him to become the most powerful, unyielding voice for abolition in the U.S. Senate, almost at the cost of his life.

But one does have to question how alien Paris was to pianist Louis Moreau Gottschalk from New Orleans, a French city and the son of Londoner and a Caribbean Creole! Sometimes it seems McCullough turns a blind eye to the fact that people who went to Paris were people that grew up in an America that was very mixed, and where most “Americans” had at least one foreign-born non-English first language parent who was to all intents and purposes raised as if he/she still lived in Prague or Ireland or Paris.

At any rate, it’s David McCullough and it’s always worth the read.

Published in: on June 13, 2011 at 8:08 AM  Leave a Comment  
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You wrote the great American novel? Great. You too could win a $10,000 Pulitzer Prize, but only if you enter, so here’s the scoop

Ok, we know you’ve thought about it.  Winning the Pulitzer.
So here’s the skinny, the deadline for entry is June 15 & Oct 1 and you can enter your book provided it was:
  1. First published in the US, in the last year,
  2. Was published in Hardback or paperback,
  3. Was for sale to the general public
  4. And you, the author, are an American (birth certificate required?)
  5. There’s nothing in the rules saying it can’t be self-published.
There are 5 prizes available to authors. Each prize is $10,000 and given annually to an American writer to honor the most distinguished book of fiction dealing with American life, US history, biography, verse, and nonfiction. (see below)
Select from entry options 1, 3, 4, 5, or 6 depending on the work you are entering.
  • (1) For distinguished fiction by an American author, preferably dealing with American life, Ten thousand dollars ($10,000).
  • (3) For a distinguished and appropriately documented book on the history of the United States, Ten thousand dollars ($10,000).
  • (4) For a distinguished and appropriately documented biography or autobiography by an American author, Ten thousand dollars ($10,000)
  • (5) For a distinguished volume of original verse by an American author, Ten thousand dollars ($10,000).
  • (6) For a distinguished and appropriately documented book of nonfiction by an American author that is not eligible for consideration in any other category, Ten thousand dollars ($10,000).
Submit the Entry From (In Letters, Drama, Music), an author biography, author photograph, and four copies of the book to: Pulitzer Prizes, Poetry and Fiction Prizes, Columbia University, 709 Journalism Building, 2950 Broadway, New York, NY 10027. (212) 854-3841.
The entry fee is$50 but how cool to be able to say you entered the Pulitzer contest. For only $50 bucks.
Published in: on June 8, 2011 at 8:08 AM  Leave a Comment  

Poets sally forth to the field, with your manuscript, if you wish to be published and pick up a bit of cash


The editors of FIELD are pleased to announce the fifteenth annual FIELD Poetry Prize competition. The contest is open to all poets, whether or not they have previously published in book form. Unpublished poetry manuscripts between 50 and 80 pages in length will be considered. Oberlin College Press publishes the winning manuscript in the FIELD Poetry Series and awards the winning author $1,000 plus standard royalties.

Manuscripts must be submitted during May 2011. [Deadline is May 31st] The contest reading fee is $28 and includes one year’s subscription to FIELD. This year, for the first time, manuscripts should be submitted electronically, through our online Submissions Manager.

All manuscripts will be judged by the editors, David Young and David Walker. We will announce the winner here in August 2011. [So you get to spend the whole summer feeling like a winner!]

Please note: Persons interested in submitting work for the FIELD Translation Series should read the guidelines.

Council of Literary Magazines and Presses

Contest Code of Ethics

CLMP’s community of independent literary publishers believes that ethical contests serve our shared goal: to connect writers and readers by publishing exceptional writing. We believe that intent to act ethically, clarity of guidelines, and transparency of process form the foundation of an ethical contest. To that end, we agree to
1) conduct our contests as ethically as possible and to address any unethical behavior on the part of our readers, judges, or editors;
2) to provide clear and specific contest guidelines—defining conflict of interest for all parties involved; and
3) to make the mechanics of our selection process available to the public. This Code recognizes that different contest models produce different results, but that each model can be run ethically.
We have adopted this Code to reinforce our integrity and dedication as a publishing community and to ensure that our contests contribute to a vibrant literary heritage.

Oberlin College Press supports the CLMP code, and in an effort to make our contest selection process as ethical as possible, close friends, relatives, and those whose manuscripts have been shaped in any way by the contest judges are ineligible to enter our contest.

Published in: on May 16, 2011 at 8:08 AM  Leave a Comment  
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