2007 Blooker Prize Winners!

Alright, and it’s finally out.

Overall Winner (and Non-Fiction winner)My War: Killing Time In Iraq by Colby Buzzell
Fiction WinnerThe Doorbells of Florence by Andrew Losowsky
Comics Winner Mom’s Cancer by Brian Fies

I can see why My War won, judging from the way the Iraq war is presented in the mainstream media these days – the whole idea of a US soldier running away to cyber cafes between shifts and blogging about such an experience is highly magnetic … indeed, almost guaranteed bestselling material.

Colby walks away with $10,000 in cash, and while he may be smiling away Paul Jones is quick to point out that his may be the last ‘open and frank military blog blook.’

I’ve talked about how Blooker prize winners are, in the end, amateurs, but while this year’s selection may not have improved from a literary point of view (don’t expect The God Of Small Things anytime soon) it has certainly presented an … alternative to what we usually get from the mainstream. The Doorbells of Florence are random pictures of doorbells accompanied by fictional stories of the people living behind them, and came about from a Flickr photo set, of all things.

momscancer_1.jpgMom’s Cancer is not unique, certainly (there are loads of worthy web comics out there), but it is the backstory that counts: the author’s mother contracts cancer … and he draws the comic throughout the period. I liked it, and it was a pity it was taken down from the web, due to copyright issues.

But in the end it’ll be Colby’s book that generates the most buzz.

“Buzzell never takes the easy route of painting Iraq in black and white tones. His account gives flesh-and-blood — and anger, scorn, bile, and unexpected humor — to the Iraq debacle. His delightfully profane account loses nothing in the transformation from blog to blook.’ – Arianna Huffington

Oh, and Nick Cohen’s remarks:

“Of all the books in the competition, ”˜My War’ is the one most likely to last. If, in 20 years time, people want to know what it was like to fight in Iraq, they can pick up ”˜My War’ and find out. It tells what it’s like to be a grunt fighting in the Sunni Triangle ”“ with more power and authority than the best ”˜embedded reporter’ could manage. It is something of a triumph for blogs over traditional media.”

Funny, he’s just talked about Colby Buzzell a few days ago.

Last, but not least, Colby’s words on getting published:

“After I tell them, “I don’t know”, I usually tell them to go start a blog. It’s what I did, and if you think about it a blog is the best and most affordable way for an absolute nobody with no formal journalism or writing education to be a published.”

How … simple. I can’t help but smile.

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