How to Poo on a Date has won the 36th annual Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year.
The book, by Mats & Enzo, published by Prion Press, topped a public vote to find the oddest title, in one of the closest contests in prize history. In the end, How to Poo on a Date: The Lovers' Guide to Toilet Etiquette, took home the title with 30% of the vote, beating into second place Are Trout South African? by Duncan Brown (Pan South Africa) andThe Origin of Feces by David Waltner-Toews (ECW Press), which both captured 23% of voters.
The rest of the shortlist was made up of early frontrunner Working Class Cats: The Bodega Cats of New York City by Chris Balsiger ands Erin Canning (One Peace Books), with 14%; Pie-ography: Where Pie Meets Biography by Jo Packham (Quarry) with 6%; and How to Pray When You're Pissed at God by Ian Punnett (Harmony Books), with 4% of the votes.
Horace Bent, The Bookseller’s diarist and the custodian of the prize, said: “The public have chosen wisely. Not only have they picked a title that truly captures the spirit of the prize, they have selected a manual that can help one through life’s more challenging and delicate moments.”
Roland Hall, Prion Press’ editor of How to Poo on a Date, said: “We are very happy and honoured that the public thought our book worthy of first place in this much sought-after prize; we’d have been disappointed to be number two. How to Poo on a Date is a humorous self-help title and it means a great deal to the authors, and the rest of the team that put the book together, that it should encounter such a splash of success.”
Previous titles from Mats & Enzo, How to Poo on Holiday, How to Poo at Work and How to Bonk at Work, were all previously nominated for the prize. Tom Tivnan, features and insight editor at The Bookseller, and Diagram Prize administrator, said: "The two were in danger of becoming perpetual Diagram bridesmaids, like Beryl Bainbridge and the Booker."
He added: “In recent years, Diagram Prize voters have showed their catholic tastes by selecting rarefied food science titles (The 2009–2014 World Outlook for 60-milligram Containers of Fromage Frais, 2008), zoological studies (Bombproof Your Horse, 2004), and highbrow experimental literature (The Big Book of Lesbian Horse Stories, 2003). Yet after Mats and Enzo’s win this year, with The Origin of Feces on the shortlist, and Saiyuud Diwong’s Cooking with Poo taking the crown in 2011, an all too-clear trend emerges. Diagram devotees have spoken, and spoken in no uncertain terms: poo wins prizes.”
No prize other than the honour of the win is traditionally given to the winner of the Diagram, which was founded as a way of relieving boredom at the Frankfurt Book Fair by Diagram Group co-founders Trevor Boundford and Bruce Robertson in 1978.
The person who nominates the winning title usually receives what Bent describes as a "fairly passable" bottle of claret. However, as this year's nominator was The Bookseller's own deputy chief sub-editor, Brian Payne, it was decided the claret would remain in the cellar.