The Comedy Women in Print (CWIP) Prize, the UK and Ireland’s first prize to highlight the work of witty women, is returning for a second year, this time adding a new graphic novel award.
The main CWIP Prize will see the published winner receive a cash prize of £3,000 from the Author’s Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS), a new supporter to the award, while in the unpublished category, the winner will receive a publishing contract and a £5,000 advance from HarperFiction.
Two equal runners-up will also receive prizes. One will receive £2,000 from the University of Hertfordshire and mentoring from the MA course in Creative Writing and another will receive a place on the online MA in Comedy Writing at Falmouth University, another new CWIP supporter for the prize's second year.
Author Marian Keyes will return as chair of the judges.
A new award celebrating the unsung genre of humorous graphic novels has also been added this year, developed in partnership with LDComics; this award will also offer a cash prize, yet to be announced.
The CWIP Prize, launched at the Edinburgh Fringe in August 2018, was created by actress and stand-up comedian Helen Lederer "in response to the lack of support and exposure for female comedy writing and as a way of discovering and nurturing new talent". The inaugural 2019 awards were won by Laura Stevens’ The Exact Opposite of Okay (Egmont) in the published novel category, and Kirsty Eyre’s Cow Girl in the unpublished novel category – with bestseller Jilly Cooper given the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Lederer said: “The support and interest in CWIP has been overwhelming - and proof that this prize had to happen. Someone had to do it and it might as well be me! The testimonials from the authors lifted my spirits. Witty writers have really progressed because of the prize and in so many different ways – in fact the support for each other via CWIP has been a revelation.
"For our second year we decided to go large and include a ‘published humorous graphic novel’ category as well – this is in association with LDComics so we can both shine a light on women’s wit in this important arena together. I’m also delighted to welcome back sponsors HarperFiction and University of Hertfordshire, in addition to brand new supporters the University of Falmouth and ALCS – it means we really are nurturing burgeoning wit as well as celebrating established authors.”
Dr Nicola Streeten, director of LDComics, added: “LDComics is working in association with CWIP to support the new prize category because it reinforces the mission of LDComics: changing the world through comics and our objectives of championing and supporting women graphic novelists and comics artists to achieve this.”
Submissions are now open for the awards, with a closing date of Monday 2nd March 2020. Shortlists will be announced in June 2020 and the winners the following month.