Harris and Shaffi chair 2021 CWIP Prize judging

Harris and Shaffi chair 2021 CWIP Prize judging

The Comedy Women in Print Prize 2021 will be chaired by novelist Joanne Harris, with actress Maureen Lipman and author Nina Stibbe among the judges. Journalist Sarah Shaffi will chair the judges for the CWIP Prize for Unpublished Novels.

Submissions have opened for two categories for the Comedy Women in Prize Prize (CWIP), for Published Comedy Novel and Unpublished Comedy Novel for new writers; they are open from today (12th April) until 28th May. This is slightly later than previous years, following the delay of the 2020 winners’ announcement owing to Covid-19.

Chair of the Society of Authors Joanne Harris (pictured) will chair the judges for the CWIP Prize for Published Novel. Harris is joined by actress, comedian and writer Maureen Lipman, Channel 4 presenter Steph McGovern, author and former Bookseller journalist Cathy Rentzenbrink, 2020 CWIP winner and author Nina Stibbe, plus actor and writer Susan Wokoma.    

The judging panel for the CWIP Prize for Unpublished Novels is chaired by former Bookseller journalist Sarah Shaffi, now a freelance writer, interviewer and editor for Little Tiger Press. Shaffi is joined by Martha Ashby, editorial director at HarperFiction, as well as winner of the 2020 category prize Faye Brann, and broadcaster Gloria Hunniford. The judging panel will be completed by comedian and actress Thanyia Moore and Dr Jennifer Young, head of writing and journalism at Falmouth University.   

Helen Lederer, who founded the CWIP in 2018, says: “To my complete delight, and just a little shock, CWIP has gathered even more support in its third year: laughter and reading has never been more valued or needed. I thought it might be a struggle in lockdown, but more people than ever want to be told about the funniest book to read and celebrate witty writers. I hope CWIP has offered a way through isolation by celebrating funny books and encouraging new writing. The range and quality of this year’s judges has taken my breath away, especially as last year’s winning authors are also judging. Their support in nurturing new witty writers and celebrating existing one proves that CWIP can be original as well as inclusive.”  

Harris said: “I’m really looking forward to working with the great team of judges on the CWIP Prize, helping raise the profile of women writers of all backgrounds, cultures and experiences.”  

Shaffi commented: “I’ve been a fan of the CWIP Prize since it started, and I cannot wait to read the work of talented, witty, funny women, and help bring them to a new audience.”  

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony at the Groucho Club in Soho, London on Monday 8th November 2021.  

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 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—the first of its kind in the country.   

Bestselling author Marian Keyes has judged the prize for the past two years and is now CWIP’s supporter and patron. CWIP 2021 is also supported by writers app Scrivener and The Writers’ Guild.   

For more details about CWIP and full terms and conditions visit this website.