Three debut novels on Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize shortlist

Three debut novels on Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize shortlist

Three debut novelists are in the running for the 2015 Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for comic novels.

Writer Caitlin Moran, actress Helen Lederer and Nina Stibbe have all made the shortlist for the prize, alongside Alexander McCall Smith, Irvine Welsh and Joseph O'Neill.

Moran is nominated for How to Build a Girl (Ebury), about a girl growing up in Thatcher's Britain, while Lederer is nominated for Losing It (Pan Macmillan), about a woman acting younger than her age. Nina Stibbe's Men at the Helm (Viking) follows a divorcee in a English village in the 1970s, while McCall Smith's Fatty O'Leary's Dinner Party sees a larger than life couple travel to Ireland. Welsh's A Decent Ride centres around the un-reconstructed 'Juice' Terry lawson, while O'Neill's The Dog follows a lawyer who takes a new job in Dubai.

William Hill has picked out Moran as the favourite with odds of 2/1, followed by Welsh at 3/1.

The shortlist was chosen by broadcaster James Naughtie, Everyman's Library publisher David Campbell and Hay Festival director Peter Florence.

Florence said: "There are so many different kinds of laughter here.  Comedy as a savage weapon, comedy as bleak despair, comedy as wry observation and as warm humour and affection. These astonishingly gifted writers can turn phrases, create characters to love and rattle good yarns. There are wonders here and joys. We were delighted by them. Wodehouse’d be proud of them."

This year's winner will be announced ahead of the Hay Festival, with the winner receiving a  jeroboam of Bollinger Special Cuvée, a case of Bollinger La Grande Année and the completed 99-volume set of the Everyman Wodehouse.

The winner is also presented with a locally-bred Gloucestershire Old Spot pig, to be named after the winning novel.