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Last Updated: Monday, 3 April 2006, 07:10 GMT 08:10 UK
US cook wins blogging book prize
Julie Powell (Photo: Kelly Campbell)
Powell tried to master French cooking (Photo: Kelly Campbell)
An American cook's adventures in the kitchen have won the first literary prize for bloggers turned authors.

Julie Powell's tales of French cooking beat the intimate diary of a prostitute and a guide to the UK's best "greasy spoon" cafes to take the Blooker Prize.

The contest was set up for bloggers who have turned their episodic journals into books.

In the last few years, regularly updated web logs, or blogs, have become a major feature of the internet.

There are believed to be more than 60 million blogs in existence.

"Blooks are the new books, a hybrid literary form at the cutting edge of both literature and technology," said Bob Young, founder of self-publishing site Lulu which organised and sponsored the prize.

Community support

The winning blog began life as a online diary of the attempt by Julie Powell to cook the recipes in the 1961 cookbook by Julia Child, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Overall and non-fiction: Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell
Fiction: Four and Twenty Blackbirds by Cherie Priest
Comic book: Totally Boned: A Joe and Monkey Collection by Zach Miller
Her blog built up a cult following. The entries were published as a book last year and has since sold almost 100,000 copies.

"The community aspect of blogging and the interaction with others kept me honest, kept me writing and kept me from sinking into my habitual black hole of self-loathing," said Ms Powell.

A total of 89 entries vied for the Blooker, including two strong contenders from the UK.

One was the notorious Belle De Jour, who blogged about life as a prostitute.

The other was 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.

"Those who dismiss blogging as 'mere' confessional writing and complaining about one's day job fail to appreciate just how engrossing those genres can be when handled by a talented writer like Julie Powell," said writer and activist Cory Doctorow, who was on the judging panel.

"The story of how blogging, writing in public, changed Powell's life is both memorable and inspirational."

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