This year's Comedy Women in Print Prize shortlists have been revealed, with Candice Carty-Williams, Jeanette Winterson and Beth O'Leary among the candidates.
The Published Comic Novel shortlist includes Carty-Williams' Queenie (Orion), Winterson's Frankissstein (Jonathan Cape) and O'Leary's The Flatshare (Quercus), alongside Big Girl, Small Town by Michelle Gallen (John Murray), The Blessed Girl by Angela Makholwa (Bloomsbury), Reasons to be Cheerful by Nina Stibbe (Penguin Random House) andThe Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman (Headline).
Judges for this award were Marian Keyes, Lolly Adefope, Pauline McLynn, Joanna Scanlan, Paula Wilcox and last year's prize winner, Laura Steven. Keyes, who chaired the panel said: "I am absolutely delighted with our list. The range is glorious – everything from light-hearted commercial fiction to literary fiction – from established names to new talent – and it’s a demonstration of all the different ways in which women can be funny in print. It was a pleasure and very exciting to read all the submissions, and these are shortlists we are very proud of."
The shortlist for Published Humorous Graphic Novels is a new category this year, and was judged by Rachael Ball, Hannah Berry, Jen Brister, Janet Ellis, Dr Nicola Streeten and Paula Wilcox.
The full shortlist features Sensible Footwear: A Girl's Guide by Kate Charlesworth (Myriad Editions), the self-published My Husband is a Cultist by Mei Lian Hoe, Bloodlust and Bonnets by Emily McGovern (Simon & Schuster), Was it... Too Much for You? by Danny Noble (self-published), Cassandra Darke by Posy Simmonds (Jonathan Cape) and Stand in Your Power by Rachael Smith (self-published).
The selection was described by chair Ellis as "provocative, playful, acutely observed and fearless, tackling a wide range of subjects with a triumphant glee, each one not just a comic adventure but also a work of art".
The shortlist for Unpublished Comic Novels consists of The Bird in the River by Zahra Barri, Tinker, Tailor, Schoolmum, Spy by Faye Brann, Everything Is Under Control by Annette Gordon, The Lady's Companion by Janey Preger, You Can Drop Me Here by Julia Walter and Second Wife Syndrome by Kathleen Whyman.
The selection was judged by Yomi Adegoke, Fanny Blake, Kate Bradley, Grace Campbell, Kirsty Eyre and Jennifer Young.
Blake, who chaired the panel, said the entries were "outstanding" and "united by some great comic writing and a real diversity in setting and characters. They jointly demonstrated that there are plenty of funny females writing today, just waiting to be discovered. We arrived at a shortlist to be proud of that’s varied, confident and very funny.”
The Published Comic Novel winner will receive a cash prize of £3,000 from the Authors' Licensing & Collecting Society (ALCS). The unpublished category winner will receive a contract and a £5,000 advance from HarperFiction. In addition, an unpublished runner-up will be awarded £2,000 from the University of Hertfordshire, and mentoring from the MA course in Creative Writing. A second runner-up will receive a place on the online MA in Comedy Writing from Falmouth University.
The graphic novel category winner will also receive a cash prize, to be announced.
The winners will be revealed at an award ceremony at the Groucho Club, rescheduled from July to Monday 14th September 2020.
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- Quick Reads returns with Adam Kay and Candice Carty-Williams
- Carty-Williams' debut Queenie lands six-figure deal
- Carty-Williams' Queenie wins Book of the Year at British Book Awards