Four debut novels have made it on to the shortlist for this year's Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for comic fiction.
The choices include Dolly Alderton's Ghosts (Penguin), Naji Bakhti's Between Beirut and the Moon (Influx Press), Hilary Leichter's Temporary (Faber & Faber) and Lauren Oyler's Fake Accounts (HarperCollins).
Guy Kennaway’s The Accidental Collector (Mensch Publishing) and Diksha Basu's Destination Wedding (Bloomsbury) also feature on the shortlist.
The judges said Alderton's novel "took us away from the pandemic and back into the terrors of being in your early 30s", with "so many laughs, punctuated by some beautifully moving moments". They added Bakhti's novel was "a book we read and then immediately mailed copies to friends and family declaring READ THIS. READ IT NOW".
Basu's "hilarious deep-dive into identity, belonging and extravagant weddings" was highly praised, while Kennaway's novel made judges "laugh out loud". Leichter's book was described as a "delightfully surreal tale", while Oyler's was said to be "fabulously funny, profoundly scary, and terrifyingly insightful dive into the toxic and enticing maze that is online life".
This year's judges are Daliso Chaponda, Justin Albert, David Campbell, Pippa Evans, James Naughtie and Sindhu Vee.
Campbell, judge and publisher of Everyman's Library, said: "Over a few glasses of Bollinger, we agreed that it was a truly vintage 21st year for the prize. With 81 submitted books to choose from, we whittled them down to a shortlist of six exceptionally strong, and laugh out loud funny books."
The 2021 winner will be announced on 23rd June at a special 21st anniversary party hosted by Champagne Bollinger. The winner will be awarded with a jeroboam of Bollinger Special Cuvée, a case of Bollinger La Grande Année, the complete set of the Everyman’s Library P G Wodehouse collection and a pig will be named after their winning book.