Dolly Alderton’s debut novel Ghosts and Lauren Oyler’s novel Fake Accounts are among the six books in the running for the 2021 Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse prize for comic fiction, it has been announced.
The books on the shortlist for the prize, named for British humourist P. G. Wodehouse and now in its 21st year, have been selected by judges as the funniest novels of the past 12 months, which “best evoke the Wodehouse spirit of witty characters and perfectly-timed comic phrases”.
Also in the running are Naji Bakhti’s Between Beirut and the Moon, a coming-of-age tale of a young boy growing up in Lebanon’s capital city; Hilary Leichter’s Temporary, an exploration of the peculiarities of 21st-century work culture; Guy Kennaway’s The Accidental Collector, a comic look into the world of contemporary art, and Diksha Basu’s Destination Wedding, about a woman’s search for her Indian identity.
Alderton’s Ghosts, which is currently being adapted by the BBC, follows a woman in the awkward transitional phase of her early thirties while Fake Accounts looks at deception in the digital age.
The shortlist will be celebrated on Sunday at Hay Festival with an Instagram Live conversation between judges and comedians Pippa Evans and Daliso Chaponda.
Broadcaster James Naughtie, comedian Sindhu Vee, Hay Festival vice president James Albert and Everyman’s Library publisher David Campbell were also on the judging panel.
Campbell said: “The judges of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction met on the first day it was allowed over lunch in the garden of The Goring Hotel to decide our shortlist.
“Over a few glasses of Bollinger, we agreed that it was a truly vintage 21st year for the prize.
“With 81 submitted books to choose from, we whittled them down to a shortlist of six exceptionally strong and laugh out loud funny books.”
The 2021 winner will be announced on June 23 at a special 21st anniversary party.
The winner will be awarded with champagne, the complete set of the Everyman’s Library P.G. Wodehouse collection and a pig named after their winning book.