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Goblinproof chicken book wins for odd title

| Friday, March 22, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

A supernaturally tinged barnyard manual has won Britain's quirkiest literary award, the Diagram Prize for the 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 percent 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 honored. “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.

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