Self-published title Strangers Have the Best Candy has won the Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year.
In the closest vote since the prize was opened to public voting in 2000, Margaret Meps Schulte's travelogue won with 26.1% of the vote, just ahead of Diana Rajchel's Divorcing a Real Witch: For Pagans and the People who Used to Love Them with 25.1% of the vote.
Schulte said the win was a "miracle", adding: "The Diagram Prize doesn’t reward bad books, just quirky titles. Often, they are funny because they are targeted at very small audiences. Strangers Have the Best Candy targets a huge audience: people. Not since The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America has the Diagram Prize been awarded to a book with such a potentially wide audience."
There is no prize for the author of the book, though the person who nominated the winning title traditionally receives a "passable bottle of claret". Schulte entered the title herself.
Tom Tivnan, features and insight editor at The Bookseller and co-ordinator of the prize said: "Quite frankly, I am relieved. With the public recently giving the Diagram crown to the likes of How to Poo on a Date, Cooking with Poo and If You Want Closure in Your Relationship, Start with Your Legs, I despaired for a populace becoming obsessed with smut and filth. I welcome the return to the clean, wholesome fun of the Diagram’s roots."
The Diagram Prize was first established by Diagram Group founders Trevor Bounford and Bruce Robertson in 1978 as a way of avoiding boredom at the Frankfurt Book Fair. The inaugural winner was Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice.
Voting for the prize took place on The Bookseller's sister site We Love This Book throughout March. The other shortlisted titles were Nature's Nether Regions by Menno Schilthuizen (Viking); The Madwoman in the the Volvo: My Year of Raging Hormones by Sandra Tsing-Loh (Norton); 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 (Trans Tech); The Ugly Wife is Treasured at Home by Melissa Margaret Schneider (Potomac); and Where do Camels Belong? By Ken Thompson (Profile).