Sixth prize?

9781784270506Our book, Behind the Binoculars, came 6th in the Diagram Prize. How odd?

The Diagram Prize is a proper book prize – for the oddest title of a book published in the previous year.  We were miles away from winning with only 2.9% of the popular vote.  And the winner was Too Naked for the Nazis (but only just from Reading from Behind: A Cultural History of the Anus). You can see why we didn’t come close!

Book titles are quite difficult and this one was too. What would you call a book of interviews with birdwatchers?

I thought that Behind the Binoculars was a very good title – and it came from some bright spark in our publisher, Pelagic Publications, not from the authors. We wouldn’t have been allowed to call it Desert Island Birders and my daughter’s suggestions of ‘Lifers’ didn’t find favour either.

The subtitle ‘Interviews with acclaimed birdwatchers’ was problematic too – largely, I suggested, because the two authors interviewed each other and I wasn’t keen on calling myself acclaimed – but I was outvoted there. It’s pretty clear that the rest of the interviewees are acclaimed although only Chris Packham is truly famous (but then we didn’t say ‘famous’).

Andy Clements (interviewed in the book) wrote a very nice piece in the Jan/Feb BTO News about the links of other interviewees with the BTO (Chris Packham (current President), Ian Newton (past Chair of Council), Keith Betton (Vice President), Steph Tyler (ringer and scientist) etc etc) and there are obvious links to the RSPB (Mike Clarke is interviewed) and WWT (Debbie Pain interviewed) too.

Guess what? We are working on Behind More Binoculars and have another superb cover from Robert Gillmor and a list of interviewees which we are working our way through.  That’ll be our contender for next year’s Diagram Prize.

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  1. murray marr says:

    Being a closet train-spotter, wannabe scientist and failed writer, the title ‘Reading from Behind: The Cultural History of the Anus’ prompts this idea for a book to win the Diagram Prize and propel me to stardom:

    Looking from Behind: The Natural History of Anoraktivity

  2. Alan says:

    So not 'Even more behind the binoculars' then?


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