I’ve posted before about the Diagram Prize, one of the grandest traditions of the publishing industry, in which a bottle of claret is awarded with great ceremony by the Bookseller’s Horace Dent to the person who nominates the title that is popularly chosen as the year’s oddest.
This year’s winner has now been announced: The Commuter Pig-Keeper: A Comprehensive Guide to Keeping Pigs when Time is your Most Precious Commodity by Michaela Giles, with 40% of the vote.
Ms Giles is apparently ‘beyond excited’ at winning the Diagram, hot on the heels as it is of her Supreme Champion Pig award at the Weald and Downland Rare Breed Show in Singleton, West Sussex, the previous week.
But what made me laugh was the story behind the title:
My publisher had asked before submission if I would consider changing the title to something ‘sensible’—luckily the managing editor is pretty cool and decided to run with it.
Sensible? You don’t win the Diagram Award with sensible.
The delight doesn’t end there, though: the article in The Bookseller goes on to remind us that the title that launched the list of the publisher of Giles’s book was Managing Pig Health and the Treatment of Disease , which was shortlisted for the 1997 Betty Trask Award, ‘until red-faced organisers realised it wasn’t a de?but novel’.