The Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize 2015 Shortlist


Late last month the UK’s only official award celebrating excellence in comedic fiction announced its shortlist. That’s right, The Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize is back!  Who will win the Gloucestershire Old Spot pig this year?  We’re all dying to find out.

Does this award, now in its 16th year, have an official website?  How about a logo?  We lifted the following description from the Writers & Artists website:

UK’s only prize for comic fiction. Awarded to the most original comic novel of the previous 12 months. The winner receives a case of Bollinger Special Cuvée, a jeroboam of Bollinger, a complete set of the Everyman Wodehouse collection and a rare breed pig named after the winning novel. Eligible novels are published in the UK between 1 May and 30 April. The winner is announced at the Hay Festival in late May/early June. Closing date: late February; shortlist announced in mid-April. Launched in 2000 on the 25th anniversary of the death of P.G. Wodehouse.

All the usual book related details are below. The winner will be announced just before the start of the annual Hay Festival which begins on May 21st.

Losing_ItLosing It
by Helen Lederer
Pan Macmillan

Millie was at one time quite well known for various TV and radio appearances. However, she now has no money, a best friend with a better sex life than her, a daughter in Papua New Guinea and too much weight in places she really doesn’t want it.

When she’s asked to be the front woman for a new diet pill, she naively believes that all her troubles will be solved. She will have money, the weight will be gone, and maybe she’ll get more sex.

If only life was really that easy. It doesn’t take her long to realize it’s going to take more than a diet pill to solve her never-ending woes… (from the publisher)

Fatty_Olearys_Dinner_PartyFatty O’Leary’s Dinner Party
by Alexander McCall Smith

It takes a lot to get under the skin of Cornelius ‘Fatty’ O’Leary, but then there is a lot of skin to get under. The heroically proportioned Fatty can normally take life as it comes. Right at home in easy-going Fayetteville, Arkansas, he is happily married to his childhood sweetheart Betty, and likes nothing better than the company of good friends Tubby O’Rourke and Porky Flanagan. But when Fatty and Betty head off to Ireland on the trip of a lifetime, they find that they have left their comfort zone far behind. Calamity and mayhem ensue as one mishap after another befalls the beleaguered couple. Can Fatty’s broad shoulders take the strain or will he suffer one indignity too many? Will he get his just deserts, or just dessert? (From the publisher)

How_To_Build_A_GirlHow to Build a Girl
by Caitlin Moran

It’s 1990. Johanna Morrigan, 14, has shamed herself so badly on local TV that she decides that there’s no point in being Johanna anymore and reinvents herself as Dolly Wilde – fast-talking, hard-drinking Gothic hero and full-time Lady Sex Adventurer! She will save her poverty stricken Bohemian family by becoming a writer – like Jo in Little Women, or the Brontes – but without the dying young bit.

By 16, she’s smoking cigarettes, getting drunk and working for a music paper. She’s writing pornographic letters to rock-stars, having all the kinds of sex with all the kinds of men, and eviscerating bands in reviews of 600 words or less.

But what happens when Johanna realises she’s built Dolly with a fatal flaw? Is a box full of records, a wall full of posters and a head full of paperbacks, enough to build a girl after all? (from the publisher)

The_DogThe Dog
by Joseph O’Neill
4th Estate

In 2007, a New York attorney bumps into an old college buddy – and accepts his friend’s offer of a job in Dubai, as the overseer of an enormous family fortune. Haunted by the collapse of his relationship and hoping for a fresh start, our strange hero begins to suspect that he has exchanged one inferno for another.

A funny and wholly original work of international literature, ‘The Dog’ is led by a brilliantly entertaining anti-hero. Imprisoned by his endless powers of reasoning, hemmed in by the ethical demands of globalized life, he is fatefully drawn towards the only logical response to our confounding epoch. (from the publisher)

Man_At_The_HelmMan at the Helm
by Nina Stibbe

Not long after her parents’ separation, heralded by an awkward scene involving a wet Daily Telegraphand a pan of cold eggs, nine-year-old Lizzie Vogel, her sister and little brother and their now divorcée mother are packed off to a small, slightly hostile village in the English countryside. Their mother is all alone, only thirty-one years of age, with three young children and a Labrador. It is no wonder, when you put it like that, that she becomes a menace and a drunk. And a playwright.

Worried about the bad playwriting – though more about becoming wards of court and being sent to the infamous Crescent Home for Children – Lizzie and her sister decide to contact, by letter, suitable men in the area. In order to stave off the local social worker they urgently need to find a new Man at the Helm. (From the publisher)

A_Decent_RideA Decent Ride
by Irvine Welsh
Jonathan Cape

A rampaging force of nature is wreaking havoc on the streets of Edinburgh, but has top shagger, drug-dealer, gonzo-porn-star and taxi-driver, ‘Juice’ Terry Lawson, finally met his match in Hurricane ‘Bawbag’?

Can Terry discover the fate of the missing beauty, Jinty Magdalen, and keep her idiot-savant lover, the man-child Wee Jonty, out of prison?

Will he find out the real motives of unscrupulous American businessman and reality-TV star, Ronald Checker?

And, crucially, will Terry be able to negotiate life after a terrible event robs him of his sexual virility, and can a new fascination for the game of golf help him to live without… A DECENT RIDE? (From the publisher)

Have you read any of the six titles on the 2015 Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize shortlist? Who do you think will win? Comment below and let us know your thoughts.

About Aaron Westerman

Aaron Westerman is the Manager of Web Architecture for a national human services organization. When he's not busy tearing sites apart and rebuilding them, he spends his ever shrinking free time trying to keep up with his twins, reading works of translated literature, and watching far too many Oscar nominated movies.