Janet Ellis and Yomi Adegoke join CWIP judging panel

Janet Ellis and Yomi Adegoke join CWIP judging panel

Authors Marian Keyes, Janet Ellis, Yomi Adegoke and Emma Kennedy will help to judge the 2020 Comedy Women in Print Prize (CWIP), which this year will feature a new category for humorous graphic novels. 

The 2020 Prize, supported by Audible, has unveiled the full line-up of judges for the award’s second year. The UK and Ireland’s first prize for female comedy writers was created by actress, author and stand-up comedian Helen Lederer in 2018 "in response to the lack of support and exposure for female comedy writing and as a way of discovering new talent", organisers said.

Keyes will chair the judges for the CWIP Prize for published novels joined by BAFTA-winning writer and actress Joanna Scanlan (who has starred in “Getting On” and “The Thick of It”) alongside writers and actresses Kennedy (writer of “The Kennedys”) and Pauline McLynn ("Father Ted"), comedian and actress Lolly Adefope, recently seen on BBC Three’s “Shrill”; and Laura Steven, winner of CWIP’s inaugural published prize forThe Exact Opposite of Okay (Electric Monkey).  

The judging panel for the unpublished novels category will be chaired by Fanny Blake, a former publisher and author of eight novels. She is joined by Adegoke, journalist and author of Slay in Your Lane (Fourth Estate); Kate Bradley, editorial director at HarperFiction; stand-up comedian, writer, director and activist Grace Campbell; winner of the same category in 2019 Kirsty Eyre; as well as Dr Jennifer Young, head of writing and journalism at Falmouth University

The inaugural CWIP Prize for humorous graphic novels— a newly launched category for 2020—will be chaired by Ellis, author and former Blue Peter presenter. Fellow panelists include: author and LDComics co-ordinator Rachael Ball; UK Comics laureate Hannah Berry; comedian and author Jen Brister; director of LDComics, writer, artist and teacher Nicola Streeten; with actress Paula Wilcox also judging.

Lederer said: "The generosity and commitment of the judges – including established and witty TV stars such as Jo Scanlan and bestselling writer Marian Keyes – has upped our game for the second year. As the suffragettes said, it’s “deeds not words”, so this year we’ve added another unsung group of witty cartoonists and artists in the graphic novel category. CWIP remains an irreverent but relevant prize at a time when women write funny books but get published less than men. Apparently, there’s never been a better time to be witty and a woman – we are all set to have a laugh proving it."

Adegoke (left) added: "I'm absolutely thrilled to be asked to do what I love most in a professional capacity: read the work of witty women. The CWIP awards are much needed and I'm delighted to be a part of it."

The CWIP published winner will receive a cash prize of £3,000 from the Authors' Licensing & Collecting Society (ALCS). For the unpublished category, recognising rising comic talent, the winner will receive a publishing contract and a £5,000 advance from HarperFiction. The unpublished runner-up receives £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 Comedy Women in Print Prize-winners will be announced at an award ceremony in early July 2020.

Entries for the award are now open and the closing date for submissions is 2nd March 2020.