The winners of the inaugural Comedy Women in Print awards (CWIP) will be announced tonight (Wednesday 10th July), with Gail Honeyman and Gill Sims in the running for the £2,000 prize.
HarperCollins stablemates Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, Why Mummy Swears by Gill Sims and Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal have been shortlisted for CWIP's published category alongside Asia Mackay for Killing It (Zaffre) and YA debut writer Laura Steven for The Exact Opposite of Okay (Egmont).
The winner of the £2,000 prize, created by Helen Lederer, will be announced at an event tonight at the Conduit Club. The runners-up will each take home £250.
Actress, author and stand-up Lederer launched the award in response to the lack of exposure for female comedy writing, and as a way of celebrating fresh and established talent. Tonight's award will be judged by a panel including author Marian Keyes, comedian Katy Brand, stand-up Shazia Mirza, Perrier Award winner Jenny Éclair and broadcaster and comedian Susan Calman.
Lederer said: “I seem to have been banging on about CWIP for years (well I have actually – ok four) but had no idea what it meant to actually make a prize happen from nothing. I’m not exactly a lady who lunches – more a lady who begs people to do stuff for CWIP – all the time – but it’s paid off. Without the amazing calibre of quality judges and team members this would have remained a grumpy dream!”
Shortlisted in the unpublished category are Cow Girl by Kirsty Eyre, The Lonely Fajita by Abigail Mann, The Ladies’ Guide to Finding Love by Helen Doyle, Love Is Strange by Lotte Mullan and New Year at The Duck and Grapes by Jo Lovett-Turner. The winner of the unpublished category will be offered a publishing contract and £5000 advance with HarperFiction. The unpublished runner-up will receive a free place on the MA course in Creative Writing at the University of Hertfordshire.
Other prize sponsors and partners are Ryman Stationary, The Writer’s Guild, Pegasus Life, The Conduit, Project Brand and King of Soho gin.
Alex Robson, co-founder of The King of Soho, said the brand is delighted to be sponsoring the published award and has created a special cocktail for tonight's event featuring the new King of Soho Variorum Gin.
"When Helen first told me about CWIP and what she was doing, I could see and relate to her passion and I got it. Funny female fiction has a deserved place on the literary landscape and when gin meets comedy…well, that’s a cocktail I’ll be shaking," said Robson.
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