London, Aug 29 : An acting chimpanzee's autobiography has made the shortlist for the new Guardian book award.
The book is going head to head with a cold war love story and a novel about the assassination of a Pakistani dictator in the award.
'Me Cheeta: the Autobiography', is billed as the true story of Cheeta the Chimp, star of Hollywood blockbusters, told "in his own words".
The book documents the life and times of a chimpanzee who has outlived all his co-stars from the 1939 film Tarzan to reach the ripe old age of 75. He withdrew from the limelight in 1964 after biting his Doctor Dolittle co-star Rex Harrison, and has retired to an old chimps' home in Palm Springs, California, reports Guardian.co.uk.
The book is not published until October 1, but judges for the award, now in its 10th year, were so startled by the early version they were sent that they included it on the 10-strong long list.
'Me Cheeta' is up against a strong list of fiction and non-fiction titles, including 'A Case of Exploding Mangoes' by Mohammed Hanif, which tells the story of the assassination of the Pakistani dictator General Zia-ul-Haq in 1988.
Other contenders include Stalin's Children, Owen Matthews's memoir of his parents' cold war love affair in Russia interspersed with his own life as a young reporter in 1990s Moscow, and The Rest is Noise, a sweeping musical history by the New Yorker's music critic, Alex Ross.
In total, four novels, four non-fiction books, a collection of short stories - Say You're One of Them by Uwem Akpan - and a book of poetry, Sunday at the Skin Launderette, by Kathryn Simmonds, have made the cut from a selection of 170 books.
The award is unique for rewarding new writing across fiction and non-fiction and for being judged by a panel and readers from Waterstone's book groups.