From Allison Pearson, Dawn French and Marian Keyes, all the way back to Muriel Spark, Dorothy Parker and Stella Gibbons, we have been devouring female wit on the page for decades. Women comic novelists consistently top the bestseller lists, so why aren’t they celebrated?
Enter comedian and author Helen Lederer, who aims to address this by introducing a new literary prize that will officially recognise witty female authors and nurture new, unpublished talent; The Comedy Women in Print Award, or CWIP for short, will celebrate female comedy fiction in all its forms, from the absurd and laugh-out-loud to the dark and razor sharp.
Telegraph columnist Allison Pearson, author Marian Keyes and Jennifer Young – Associate Dean of the School of Humanities and Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Hertfordshire are part of the judging panel, with more judges to be announced. Marian Keyes said: “There are brilliantly funny women writing today, but they are not celebrated as they should be. This prize should change that.”
There will be two categories for the prize – published and unpublished. Both winners will be awarded a cash prize and the unpublished winner will be given a place on the Master’s in Creative Writing at the University of Hertfordshire. The competition is open to female authors of any nationality, writing in the English language and over the age of 18.
The award is sponsored by Pegasus Life. CWIP is also honoured to have the University of Hertfordshire (of which Helen Lederer is an alumna) and The Telegraph as partners, and the support of publishing industry magazine The Bookseller.
Helen Lederer said: “CWIP is finally on the literary map – as if it was always meant to be. Funny that.”
Author and broadcaster Janet Ellis was at the launch of the Award and said: “Published or unpublished, this is a chance to display what women have always known- we’re funny.
“Joining Funny Women founder Lynne Parker’s impressive track record of launching comedy careers, it’s thanks to Helen’s vision and generosity that there’s now a prominent, prize-winning place for women’s comedy writing.”
The Award is open to submissions now, closing date is 31st January 2019. To enter click here!