The Blooker Prize, the world's first literary prize for books based on blogs, unveiled its shortlist of finalists on Wednesday, with a London call girl among the contenders.
"It's a natural evolution, a genuine publishing phenomenon, and publishers are building projects around it," said Stephen Fraser, a spokesman for digital do-it-yourself publishing house Lulu, the prize's sponsor.
The popular Belle de Jour blog by a London call girl was transformed into a printed bestseller and is on the nonfiction shortlist of the Blooker Prize, whose name gives a nod to the publishing industry's prestigious Booker Prize.
Another nominee, "Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen," began as one woman's blog about her attempt to cook every recipe in Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking."
A total of 16 so-called blooks were short-listed in three categories: fiction, nonfiction and Web comics. An overall winner will receive $2,000 while the other two category toppers will take home $1,000 each. The winners will be announced on April 6.
Special performance: Woody Allen, filmmaker and clarinet player, will open the fifth annual Rochester International Jazz Festival in New York on June 9 with a benefit concert for New Orleans' jazz community.
Staying put: Pasadena Symphony music director Jorge Mester has renewed his contract with the orchestra through 2012. Mester, 70, took over the orchestra in 1984.
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