The Man Booker Prize for fiction, first awarded in 1969, “promotes the finest in fiction by rewarding the very best book of the year.”
Aravind Adiga won the 2008 Booker Prize for his debut novel, “The White Tiger”. Everyone knows about this prize for literature.
I recently learnt that there is another literary award, not so well known, and not even concerned with what is actually written in the book itself. It is awarded for the title of the book. And the weirder the title- the better!
The prize for oddest book title of 2008 was declared last week. It was awarded to “The 2009-2014 World Outlook for 60-milligram Containers of Fromage Frais,” It is written by Philip M. Parker. ‘Fromage Frais’ literally means ‘fresh cheese’.
The cheese book defeated other off beat titles such as “Baboon Metaphysics” and “Techniques for Corrosion Monitoring.” Parker’s book claimed first place with 32 percent of the 5,034 votes cast on theBookseller.com.
The Bookseller/Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year is sponsored by The Bookseller magazine. It began in 1978 “as a way for Bruce Robertson, co-founder of the Diagram Group, an information and graphics company based in London, to combat his ennui at the Frankfurt Book Fair.”
“It is hardly the Nobel Prize in Literature. But following well-established awards practice, Philip Stone, the magazine’s charts editor and “awards administrator,” released a congratulatory statement on Thursday.”
Last year, there was a poll to decide the weirdest-ever winner of Britain’s Diagram Prize. The oddest book title of the past 30 years was “Greek Rural Postmen and Their Cancellation Numbers.”
A book titled “People Who Don’t Know They’re Dead” was the runner-up. “How To Avoid Huge Ships” was placed third.
Rules for the prize, launched in 1978, say the books must be serious and their titles not merely a gimmick. “Greek Rural Postmen” was published in 1994 by a British stamp-collecting organisation.
Its co-author, Derek Willan, said he didn’t consider the title odd.