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'Goblinproofing One's Chicken Coop' wins strangest title of the year contest

The Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year is an award given yearly to the work with the most unusual moniker.

By Contributor / March 22, 2013

'Goblinproofing' captured the Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year.


"Goblinproofing One's Chicken Coop" by Reginald Bakeley won the Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year with 38% of reader votes. "Goblinproofing" beat out other nominees like "How Tea Cozies Changed the World" by Loani Prior and "Was Hitler Ill?" by Henrik Eberle.

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Ben Frederick is a contributor to The Christian Science Monitor.

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The magazine The Bookseller and the Diagram Group, which supplies graphics and other information to publishers, have awarded the prize to oddly-named books since 1978. "Goblinproofing" will join previous winners such as "Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice," "Madam as Entrepreneur: Career Management in House Prostitution," and "Managing a Dental Practice: The Genghis Khan Way" in the halls of odd glory. Entries that are intended to be funny or odd don't count.

The odd title book award, said prize administrator Philip Stone, is about celebrating names that grab the attention.

"Publishers and booksellers know only too well that a title can make all the difference to the sales of a book," Stone said in a statement when the shortlist of nominees were announced.

Stone pointed out that previous winner "A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian" has sold almost a million copies to date.

When the winner was announced today, Stone lauded the fact that publishers were still willing to release more unusual works.

"The kind of niche, off-beat publications that often appear on the Diagram Prize shortlist might not make their writers or publishers rich beyond their wildest dreams, but the fact writers still passionately write such works and publishers are still willing to invest in them is a marvellous thing that deserves to be celebrated," Stone said in a statement.

Clint Marsh, Bakeley's editor, told The Bookseller that his and Bakeley's "campaign against the fairy kingdom continues."

"Reginald and I take this as a clear sign that people have had enough of goblins in their chicken coops," Marsh said.


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