Entertainment & Arts

Diagram Prize: Strangers Have the Best Candy wins odd title award

Book jacket Image copyright Choose ART
Image caption Margaret Meps Schulte's self-published title chronicles her conversations with strangers

A travelogue called Strangers Have the Best Candy has won an award for the oddest book title of the year.

It won the Diagram Prize over rival titles such as Nature's Nether Regions and Where do Camels Belong?

Margaret Meps Schulte's book chronicles her experiences of talking to strangers while travelling in the US.

It includes an encounter with Carrie, a "topless runner who popped out of the woods at Crater Lake with a bag of flour".

The Diagram Prize, an online vote run by the Bookseller magazine, does not award cash, though the person who nominates the winning entry receives a "passable bottle of claret".

The seven-strong shortlist included menopause memoir The Madwoman in the Volvo: My Year of Raging Hormones and Divorcing a Real Witch: For Pagans and the People that Used to Love Them.

Schulte, who nominated her own book, said: "What does the title mean? Strangers can have gifts for us, if we take the time to talk with them.

"The 'candy' might be a bit of information or a few kind words. It might be the start of a lifelong friendship.

"My willingness to talk with anyone has brought me once-in-a-lifetime experiences, flashes of insight, unexpected gifts, delicious meals and gracious hospitality."

"Quite frankly, I am relieved," said The Bookseller's Tom Tivnan.

"With the public recently giving the Diagram crown to the likes of How to Poo on a Date, Cooking with Poo and If You Want Closure In Your Relationship, Start With Your Legs, I despaired for a populace becoming obsessed with smut and filth.

"I welcome the return to the clean, wholesome fun of the Diagram's roots."

The Diagram Prize was set up in 1978 to provide an entertaining diversion at the annual Frankfurt Book Fair, with Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice the inaugural winner.


Diagram Prize shortlist

  • Divorcing a Real Witch: For Pagans and the People that Used to Love Them by Diana Rajchel
  • Nature's Nether Regions by Menno Schilthuizen
  • The Ugly Wife is Treasured at Home by Melissa Margaret Schneider
  • Strangers Have the Best Candy by Margaret Meps Schulte
  • Where do Camels Belong? by Ken Thompson
  • Advanced Pavement Research: Selected, Peer Reviewed Papers from the 3rd International Conference on Concrete Pavements Design, Construction, and Rehabilitation, December 2-3, 2013, Shanghai, China - edited by Bo Tian
  • The Madwoman in the the Volvo: My Year of Raging Hormones by Sandra Tsing-Loh

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