Comedians Mel Giedroyc and Andi Osho's novel debuts are pitted alongside Dolly Alderton's first novel in this year's £3,000 Comedy Women in Print Prize.
Lissa Evans and debut author Naoise Dolan are also nominated in a year that sees dark humour and comedic romance from both established and debut authors, organisers said.
The authors longlisted for Published Comic Novel include Alderton for Ghosts (Viking), Asking for a Friend by Osho (HQ, HarperCollins), Giedroyc for The Best Things (Headline), Dolan's Exciting Times (W&N), The Shelf by Helly Acton (Bonnier Books), Destination Wedding by Diksha Basu (Bloomsbury), Pretending by Holly Bourne (Hodder & Stoughton) as well as Insatiable by Daisy Buchanan (Little, Brown).
Also nominated is V for Victory by Lissa Evans (Doubleday/Transworld), The Wild Laughter by Caoilinn Hughes (Oneworld Publications), Domestic Bliss and Other Disasters by Jane Ions (Bluemoose Books), The Disaster Tourist by Yun Ko-eun, translated by Lizzie Buehler (Serpent’s Tail) as well as Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Sutanto (HQ, HarperCollins) and Murder by Milk Bottle by Lynne Truss (Raven Books).
The longlist for Unpublished Comic Novel features The World is Your Lobster by Jane Ayres, The Lady Detective by Hannah Dolby, The Lake House by Jen Fraser, Fools Rush In by Jo Lyons, Six Months to Find a Husband by Jo McGrath, What Would Joan Jett Do? by Alyssa Osiecki, The Purgatory Poisoning" by Rebecca Rogers, "The NCT Murders" by Katherine Sumner-Ailes, Life Lessons by Hannah Sutherland, This is 27 by Gemma Tizzard as well as Labour Law by Clare Ward-Smith and The Death and Life of Agnes Grace by Emma Williams. Entries for the unpublished prize are up 26% on last year, organisers said.
Now in its third year, the prize celebrates published and unpublished comic novels by women living in the UK and Ireland. The published winner will receive a cash prize of £3,000 from the Authors' Licensing & Collecting Society (ALCS). For the unpublished category, the winner will receive a publishing contract and a £5,000 advance from HarperFiction.
The unpublished runner-up receives a place on the University of Hertfordshire MA course in Creative Writing or Writing Mentorship, consisting of four meetings with a professionally published author from the creative writing team. A second runner-up will receive a place on the online MA in Comedy Writing from Falmouth University.
Joanne Harris, author and chair of judges for the CWIP Published Novel Prize, said: “What a marvellously diverse longlist. Humour is the thing that connects and reflects all of humanity; and I'm really looking forward to immersing myself in the wit and wisdom of these amazing women, and bringing their voices to the attention of a wider public.”
HarperCollins editorial director Martha Ashby, judge for the category, said: “The longlist demonstrated that we can find humour in almost any situation and across the generations: from murder at an NCT class, to a bucket list from a deceased best friend, or a crafty old woman moving into a nursing home for the first time, to a 27-year-old in the grips of a quarter-life crisis. What united them all was a sense of fun, originality and a certain je ne sais quoi that proved irresistible to the panel.”
The prize was launched by actor, author and stand-up comedian Helen Lederer in 2019 as a literary platform to increase exposure for diverse female voices in comedy writing, and as a way of celebrating fresh and established talent. Commenting on the longlist, she said: “Who knew that lockdown could offer such a broad sweep of satire, witty storytelling, and yes, we dare say, blatant laughs. This year’s entries are as mind blowing in their differences as they are united in wit and feistiness. We never needed wit on the page more and these authors were the cavalry. The increase of both published and unpublished entries proved that there are so many talented, witty writers out there simply bursting to be read.”
The 2021 winners will be announced at an awards ceremony at the Groucho Club on 8th November.
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