Diagram Prize shortlist announced

A Mills & Boon bonkbuster, an examination of the ongoing debate surrounding organ procurement, and a guide to managing a dental practice in a Mongol warlord kind of way, are among the titles vying for the Diagram Prize for the Oddest Book Title of 2010.

The latest instalment of the prestigious literary award, conceived in 1978 as a way to avoid boredom at the annual Frankfurt Book Fair, received a total of 66 submissions, whittled down to a shortlist of six by The Bookseller's diarist and custodian of the prize, Horace Bent.

Bent said: "Compiling a six-strong shortlist from the 66 eccentric entries proved a colossal task. The debate within the panel of judges often turned heated, especially when considering whether a nominee's title was intentionally odd or accidentally odd (which we prefer).

"However, I believe the final six are a formidable six and I very much look forward to discovering which book the public will crown the 31st winner of the Odd Title prize".

The Bookseller's Philip Stone, the Diagram Prize administrator, said: "The award, which celebrates the incredible diversity and richness of the world of publishing, is timely given that hundreds of UK public libraries that loan out some 310m books a year face closure due to the current Government's spending cuts.

"I am appalled at the possibility I may no longer be able to enlighten my mind by nipping down to my local library and leafing through copies of previous Diagram Prize winners such as American Bottom Archaeology, and Highlights in the History of Concrete."

Although no prize is awarded to the author of the winning book, Bent said that last year's winner, Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes, received a big sales boost thanks to the widespread, international coverage of the award: "Before the prize was awarded, Dr Taimina's book was selling just half a dozen copies per week in the US. A week after she picked up my prestigious gong, her book sold an incredible 95 copies in just seven days at $35 a pop. You can't buy that kind of publicity".

Voting will open at www.thebookseller.com later today (18th February 2011) and the winner of the public vote will be announced on Friday, 25th March.

The Shortlist:

8th International Friction Stir Welding Symposium Proceedings
Various authors (TWI)

The Generosity of the Dead
Graciela Nowenstein (Ashgate)

The Italian's One-night Love Child
Cathy Williams (Mills & Boon)

Managing a Dental Practice the Genghis Khan Way
Michael R Young (Radcliffe)

Myth of the Social Volcano
Martin King Whyte (Stanford University Press)

What Color Is Your Dog?
Joel Silverman (Kennel Club)