Some very exciting news: my third novel, 46% Better Than Dave, has been shortlisted for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for comic fiction. To say I’m delighted is a huge understatement. To tell the truth, I’m still a little bit in shock.
The Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize is the biggest (possibly only) award for comic fiction. It’s named after one of the funniest writers to ever live, PG Wodehouse. I’ve spent many a happy hour reading the outlandish tales of Jeeves and Wooster, so to be shortlisted for a prize named in his honour really is something else. And some really big-name writers have either won it, or been shortlisted in the past, from Irvine Welsh to Alan Bennett, Helen Fielding, Terry Pratchett and many others.
Every year, I follow the shortlisted books and winners with great interest. Some of my very favourite books have previously appeared on the list, like Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday, Cooking with Fernet Branca by James Hamilton-Paterson, A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka and Life of Pi by Yann Martel. For my book to be considered in the same category as those titles is really a dream come true, and something I’ve wanted since I sat down to write my first book.
It looks like a pretty strong set of contenders this year, with a previous winner, a few newer writers like me, and the first graphic novel ever to be shortlisted (which looks to be very funny indeed). The winner will be announced on 24 June. Wish me luck.