Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Supernatural barnyard manual wins oddest book title award

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LONDON -- A supernaturally tinged barnyard manual has won Britain's quirkiest literary award, the Diagram Prize for year's oddest book title.

Goblinproofing One's Chicken Coop by Reginald Bakeley was awarded the prize Friday by trade magazine The Bookseller.

The book took 38 per cent of the votes in a public ballot, beating finalists including How Tea Cosies Changed the World, Was Hitler Ill? and God's Doodle: The Life and Times of the Penis.

Goblinproofing One's Chicken Coop is subtitled "and other practical advice in our campaign against the fairy kingdom." It is described by its Massachusetts-based publisher, Conari Press, as "the essential primer for banishing the dark fairy creatures that are lurking in the dark corners and crevices of your life."

Diagram Prize overseer Horace Bent said it was no coincidence "in these austere times that a book aimed to assist members of the public frugally farming their own produce proved the most popular title."

The book's editor, Clint Marsh, said he and the author were honoured to receive a prize that "celebrates the playfulness that is at the heart of much of the world's best book publishing."

"Reginald and I take this as a clear sign that people have had enough of goblins in their chicken coops," he said. "Our campaign against the fairy kingdom continues."

The prize was founded in 1978. Its rules say the books must be serious and their titles not merely a gimmick.

Previous winners of the quirky prize include Bombproof Your Horse, Living With Crazy Buttocks and Managing a Dental Practice: The Genghis Khan Way.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 23, 2013 G2

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