Comedy Women in Print Prize Winners Announced

Comedy Women in Print Prize Winners Announced

The third annual Comedy Women in Print Prize (CWIP) winners have been announced

The CWIP prize for Published Comic Novel was awarded to JESSE SUTANTO for her debut adult novel, the hilarious, madcap, murder rom-com, DIAL A FOR AUNTIES the story of a matriarchal family of Chinese- Indonesian wedding planners set in California that has already been snapped up by Netflix (HQ). The Published Comic Novel runner-up prize was presented to Sunday Times columnist and writer of acclaimed memoir Everything I Know About Love, DOLLY ALDERTON, for her witty, relatable and big-hearted fiction debut GHOSTS (Fig Tree).

Joanne Harris, Chair of Judges for the CWIP Published Comic Novel Prize, said: The panel of judges had a wonderful time reading and re-reading the books. There was so much variety, originality, insight and humour in this shortlist that it wasn't easy selecting just two. However, we all agreed that DIAL A FOR AUNTIES should be the winner: it's a deliciously frantic comedy caper, filled with absurd situations, hilarious dialogue, wonderful family dynamics and crackling with comic energy. The runner-up, GHOSTS, is a marvellously accomplished, tender, witty and human story that should speak to women everywhere.

Sutanto and Alderton were awarded £3000 and £500 respectively from the Author’s Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS). They beat a strong shortlist that included writer and actor Diksha Basu; BAFTA- winning TV presenter Mel Giedroyc; journalist and debut novelist Jane Ions; and columnist, broadcaster and international bestselling writer Lynne Truss.

The Unpublished Comic Novel prize was won by job centre worker, and single mum, REBECCA ROGERS. Her original, expectation-subverting, and hilariously funny novel, PURGATORY POISONING seemed to the judges to be inspired by a childhood diet of Blackadder and Monty Python. Rogers won a publishing contract and £5000 advance from HarperFiction.

Sarah Shaffi, Chair of Judges for the CWIP Unpublished Novels Prize, said: We were so impressed with the whole shortlist, and the many different ways in which the authors used comedy to make us laugh and to tell their stories. Our winner, THE PURGATORY POISONING, is a book that we all felt was truly original. Rebecca's world building is remarkable, and her characters and plot propel the book to unexpected places. THE PURGATORY POISONING is a delight and a laugh to read from start to finish.

A further Unpublished Comic Novel prize runner-up, HANNAH DOLBY (The Lady Detective), received a place on the online MA in Comedy Writing from Falmouth University. A second runner-up, Katherine Sumner- Ailes (The NCT Murders), won a place on the University of Hertfordshire MA course in Creative Writing or a Writing Mentorship. Hannah Dolby is pictured below.

Actor and writer MEERA SYAL (pictured top) was given special acknowledgement for her contribution to wit on the page, including her critically acclaimed debut novel Anita and Me, receiving the Witty Writer of the Year Award. Stand-up comedian, podcaster (The Guilty Feminist) and screenwriter DEBORAH FRANCES-WHITE was named Witty Game-Changer for her role in transforming the perception of witty women in comedy and beyond.

CWIP also awarded a £300 prize to AJ MORRIS, who won the Comedy Cringe Flash Competition, run in partnership with Black Girl Writers and People in Harmony - Making Mixed Race Matter. The competition was judged by members of both organisations alongside Ab Fab actress and writer Llewella Gideon.

CWIP was launched by actress, author and stand-up comedian Helen Lederer in 2019, with the aim to increase exposure for diverse female voices in all genres of comedic writing as well as uncover, nurture and support fresh talent.

Helen Lederer said: I am as in awe of the judges as I am of the authors. I don’t know how they did it, but the judges managed the balance between personal comedic instinct and an unashamed, shared passion to celebrate witty writing. To choose between any of these wonderfully clever, uplifting novels is virtually impossible, but CWIP is genuinely thrilled to share these titles. For the cost of a book, a reader can be instantly connected, lifted, and feel less isolated. To recommend a witty book to anyone is a gift. Enjoy.” 

Meera Syal picture: Simon Annand


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