Titles from Penguin Random House, Oneworld, Bloomsbury and Transworld are in contention for the 2016 Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize which honours the funniest novel of the year.
Former prize winner Marina Lewycka makes the shortlist for her novel The Lubetkin Legacy (Fig Tree, PRH), along with two former shortlistees – Paul Murray who is shortlisted for The Mark and the Void (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin) and twice-shortlisted John O’Farrell, There’s Only Two David Beckhams (Black Swan, Transworld).
Joining them on the shortlist are The Sellout, a "galvanizing satire" by Paul Beatty (Oneworld) which has recently won the National Book Critics Circle’s Award for Fiction in the US, and Improbablity of Love (Bloomsbury) by Hannah Rothschild which features "tales of art world intrigue".
The 2016 shortlist was selected by a panel of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize judges: broadcaster and author James Naughtie; Everyman’s Library publisher David Campbell, and director and founder of the Hay Festival, Peter Florence. This year, they were joined by guest judge, writer and stand-up comedian, Sara Pascoe.
Florence said: “There’s extraordinary range here - from black satire to a lighter ‘human comedy’. There’s writing that makes you laugh out loud, and truths told that make you shriek with delight and recognition. The marvel of the shortlist is that all of these books will give you ten hours of joyful company.”
The Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize recognises the best comic novel of the last 12 months. Past winners have included writers such as Edward St Aubyn, Howard Jacobson, Ian McEwan and the late Sir Terry Pratchett.
As is customary, this year’s winner will be announced just ahead of the Hay Festival. The winner will receive a jeroboam of Bollinger Special Cuvée, a case of Bollinger La Grande Année and the complete set of the Everyman Wodehouse collection. The winner will also be presented with a locally-bred Gloucestershire Old Spot pig, which will be named after the winning novel in a special celebration.