Blogging book competition hots up
Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 March 2006, 00:03 GMT
Russell Davies celebrates the traditional British cafe in his blog
The first short-list for a literary prize that rewards bloggers turned bookwriters has been announced.
Dubbed the Blooker Prize, the contest is for those bloggers who have turned their episodic journals into something more substantial.
British entries on the Blooker short-list include the intimate diary of a prostitute and a guide to the UK's best "greasy spoon" cafes.
The first winner of the Blooker Prize will be announced on 3 April.
The Blooker Prize was first suggested in October 2005 and was the creation of Bob Young, founder of self-publishing site Lulu which sponsors the prize.
In the last few years, regularly updated web logs - or blogs - have become a major feature on the internet and now there are believed to be more than 60 million of them in existence.
There are blogs on any and every subject and many of the writers behind blogs have found their passions for a particular subject and writing style has won them a regular and appreciative audience.
There's definitely a romance to cafes. Once there you can easily get yourself into the frame of mind that you are about to start a novel
Some blogs or their authors have become so popular that they have turned to traditional print to collect their thoughts or explore their interest at greater length.
Books from blogs, or "blooks", were becoming hugely popular, said Mr Young.
Any blook published in English anywhere in the world before the deadline of 30 January 2006 was eligible for entry.
A total of 89 entries made it to the Lulu Blooker's long-list and this has been whittled down to just 16 that will compete for the prize money.
The entries are arranged into three categories - fiction, non-fiction and comics - and the winners of two of these sections get a cash prize of £550 ($1,000). The winner of the grand prize gets a cash prize of £1,100 ($2,000).
The short-list is dominated by US entries but the UK has two strong contenders in the running. One is notorious Belle De Jour, who blogs about life as a prostitute.
The other contender is Russell Davies, who turned his affection for "greasy spoon" cafes into a blog called eggbaconchipsandbeans and a book detailing the 50 best cafes in the UK.
"I was looking for something to blog about that was not a picture of a cat," Mr Davies told the BBC News website, explaining his choice of subject matter.
"I'm drawn to a full English," he said, referring to the colloquial term for a fried breakfast.
"There's definitely a romance to cafes. Once there, you can easily get yourself into the frame of mind that you are about to start a novel."
Co-judging the event are writer and activist Cory Doctorow, Robin Miller, editor-in-chief of online publisher OSTG and Paul Jones, director of Ibiblio.