Two weeks ago we heard about the finalists for the Diagram Prize, which goes to the oddest book title of the year. The short list of six had five strong contenders — and of course, controversy, as Excrement in the Late Middle Ages and All Dogs Have ADHD didn’t make the cut. Needless to say, FPI was all over this story like late-middle-aged excrement.
Today they’ve announced the winner: The 2009-2014 World Outlook for 60-Milligram Containers of Fromage Frais.
Yes, it’s odd.
The Diagram Award’s administrator had this to say about the book:
“What does the future hold for these items?” Mr. Stone asked, speaking of fromage-frais cartons. “Well, given that fromage frais normally comes in 60-gram containers, one would assume that the world outlook for 0.06-gram containers of fromage frais is pretty bleak. But I’m not willing to pay £795 to find out.”
The New York Times (from whom I quote) has a good write-up on the winnings, including interviews with some of the red-carpet finalists.
But the best bit is actually a quote from the judge:
Publishers are not allowed to nominate their own books, so as to prevent them from giving books willfully odd names. That is pretty much the only rule. Anyone can nominate a title, and the public is invited to vote online at thebookseller.com. The prize’s administrators try not to read the books, Mr. Stone said, because doing so might “cloud our judgment.”
Funny, when a reviewer tried not to read my book and still reviewed it, things didn’t turn out so well.
Still, kudos to M. Fromage Frais. After all, when you’ve beat out books like A Pictorial Book of Tongue Coatings, Waterproofing Your Child and Cheese Problems Solved, you must be doing something, uh, right.