Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Will Self wins
Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize

Will Self has won the ninth Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction for his latest novel, The Butt (Bloomsbury).

He was presented with his prize at the Guardian Hay Festival. He received a jeroboam of Bollinger Special Cuvée, a complete set of the Everyman Wodehouse, a case of Bollinger La Grande Année, and, as is customary, had the honour of a locally-bred Gloucestershire Old Spot pig named after his triumphant novel.

Sadly the newly-named pig was unable to make the now-traditional visit to the Festival to meet the author due to restrictions on animal movements because of the threat of the Bluetongue virus. Instead, the two met virtually via a web cam at the Festival.

The Butt is a superbly imagined allegorical account of the Western liberal conscience in the aftermath of 9.11. Tom Brodzinski is a man who takes his own good intentions for granted. Flipping the butt of his final cigarette off the balcony of his holiday apartment, Tom is appalled when it lands on the head of one his fellow countrymen, Reggie Lincoln. A moment’s inattention to detail becomes his undoing ….

The Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction is given to the best comic novel published in the last twelve months. Comments David Campbell, Everyman’s publisher, “Will Self is a wonderfully brilliant, witty writer and I’m delighted he has won the ninth Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse.”

The judges for this year’s prize are broadcaster and author, James Naughtie; Everyman publisher, David Campbell; and Director of the Guardian Hay Festival, Peter Florence.

Everyman’s Library publishes more Wodehouse novels than any other publisher in the UK; this year, it will publish its sixtieth Wodehouse. The beautiful hardback editions (all £10.99 each) have all been re-edited and reset with specially commissioned jacket illustrations by Andrzej Klimowski.

The Butt was chosen from a shortlist of six which included:
The Uncommon Reader – Alan Bennett (Faber & Faber/Profile Books)
Submarine – Joe Dunthorne (Hamish Hamilton)
Jude: Level 1– Julian Gough (Old St Publishing)
Pontoon – Garrison Keillor (Faber &Faber)
The Butt – Will Self (Bloomsbury)
Sunday at the Cross Bones – John Walsh (Fourth Estate/Harper Perennial)

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