Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ian McEwan and David Nicholls go head-to-head in UK’s only prize for comic fiction

Ian McEwan and David Nicholls are amongst the five authors who have today, Tuesday 27 April 2010, been announced as contenders for this year’s Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction. The 2010 shortlist also includes Paul Murray, Tiffany Murray and Malcolm Pryce. The prize, now in its 11th year, celebrates the novel of the last twelve months that has best captured the comic spirit of P.G. Wodehouse.

This is the first time Ian McEwan has been shortlisted for the prize, whose previous winners include Will Self, Paul Torday, Marina Lewycka, Michael Frayn, Howard Jacobson and Man Booker Prize winner DBC Pierre. This is the second time Tiffany Murray and Malcolm Pryce have been nominated, having both been shortlisted for the prize in 2005.

The five shortlisted novels are:

·    Solar by Ian McEwan (Random House, Jonathan Cape)
“A comedy every bit as brilliant as its title might suggest” (The Times), Solar is a novel take on climate change. The book focuses on the ambitions and self-deceptions of Nobel prize-winning physicist Michael Beard, whose best days are long behind him
·    Skippy Dies by Paul Murray (Penguin, Hamish Hamilton)
A dark comedy about a maths-loving, competitive-eating, E.T.-searching genius called Ruprecht Van Doren and his roommate Daniel ‘Skippy’ Juster, set in a boys’ school in Dublin
·    Diamond Star Halo by Tiffany Murray (Portobello Books)
“Cider with Rosie with an impeccable soundtrack” (Mark Radcliffe), this witty story of fate, magic, and rock ‘n’ roll shows what happens when a family and a farm become the breeding ground for fame
·    One Day by David Nicholls (Hodder & Stoughton)
One Day chronicles the unlikely friendship between Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew over two decades. “'A totally brilliant book about the heartbreaking gap between the way we were and the way we are.... the best weird love story since The Time Traveler's Wife.” (Tony Parsons)
·    From Aberystwyth with Love by Malcolm Pryce (Bloomsbury)
The latest instalment in the Aberystwyth series sees Louie Knight, Aberystwyth’s only private detective, trying to unravel a murder mystery that is bizarre, even by his own exceptional standards…

The judges of the prize are: James Naughtie, broadcaster and author, David Campbell, Everyman publisher and Peter Florence, Director of the Guardian Hay Festival. David Campbell comments on the shortlist: “Perhaps not enough books can make us laugh aloud as Wodehouse does. This shortlist will.”

This year’s winner will be announced at the beginning of the Guardian Hay festival in late May. The winner will receive a jeroboam of Bollinger Special Cuvée, a case of Bollinger La Grande Année and a set of the Everyman Wodehouse collection which now totals 70 books. As is tradition, an unsuspecting locally-bred Gloucestershire Old Spot pig will also be named after the novel in question.

Ahead of the winner announcement, shortlisted authors will take part in a special event at The Groucho Club, London, on Monday 24 May and visitors to www.experiencebollinger.co.uk will have the chance to win a set of the shortlisted books and a jeroboam of champagne.

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