Comedy Women in Print Prize 2021: Shortlists announced


The UK and Ireland’s only award to shine a light on humorous writing by women, the Comedy Women in Print Prize was launched by actress, author and stand-up comedian Helen Lederer in 2019. The shortlists for its two 2021 awards have now been announced.

The Comedy Women in Print Prize 2021 shortlist for Published Comic Novel, judged by Joanne Harris, Maureen Lipman, Steph McGovern, Cathy Rentzenbrink, Nina Stibbe and Susan Wokoma is:

  • Ghosts by Dolly Alderton: the fiction debut from the writer of acclaimed memoir Everything I Know About Love, this is a witty, relatable and big-hearted story of modern life, love and relationships (Penguin)
  • Destination Wedding by Diksha Basu: New Yorker Tina is determined to have an authentic Indian experience at her cousin’s big family wedding in Delhi in this hilarious and eye-opening tale (Bloomsbury Circus)
  • The Best Things by Mel Giedroyc: Witty observation marks out this polished first novel from the BAFTA-winning TV presenter, who turns a rags to riches story on its head (Headline)
  • Domestic Bliss and Other Disasters by Jane Ions: There are laughs on every page in the debut from a former Punch columnist about a middle-aged woman trying to put herself first (Bluemoose Books)
  • Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Sutanto: A highly original, madcap, murder rom-com, already snapped up by Netflix, introduces a matriarchal family of Chinese-Indonesian wedding planners based in California (HQ, HarperCollins)
  • Murder by Milk Bottle by Lynne Truss: The third Constable Twitten murder mystery is a fast-paced romp full of laugh-out-loud set pieces that takes place one Bank Holiday weekend in 1957 Brighton (Raven Books)

The Comedy Women in Print Prize 2021 shortlist for Unpublished Comic Novels, judged by Martha Ashby, Faye Brann, Gloria Hunniford, Thanyia Moore, Sarah Shaffi and Dr Jennifer Young is:

  • The Lady Detective by Hannah Dolby: When Victorian spinster Violet Hamilton changes her mind about hiring seedy seaside detective Frank Knight to investigate her mother’s disappearance, she finds he is impossible to stop
  • Fools Rush In by Jo Lyons: After her father announces he is getting remarried, Connie ends up in Benidorm trying to bond with a stepsister-to-be hellbent on making sure the two of them don’t get along
  • The Purgatory Poisoning by Rebecca Rogers: Dave wakes in Purgatory and learns he has been killed by one of his so-called friends. He is sent back to earth to solve his own murder, aided by a rogue angel
  • The NCT Murders by Katherine Sumner-Ailes: Alice joined NCT to make some new friends, but when their class ends in murder they all come under suspicion
  • Labour Law by Clare Ward-Smith: Helen Bailey’s ruthless employers use her Maternity Leave to ruin her legal career, but she refuses to go down without a fight
  • The Death and Life of Agnes Grace by Emma Williams: Agnes and grandson Tom are on a voyage of self-discovery to recapture her youth and corrupt his before time runs out for them both

Of the awards she founded in 2019, Helen Lederer comments:

“When CWIP began as an idea five years ago, there was no parity. Women’s wit on the page was not being celebrated let alone thought of as equal. Now in our third year, we have created witty writing careers and honoured wonderful, comedic authors. We need to catch up with the recent enthusiasm for female comedy on telly and extend it to the page. School leavers might be able to name Caitlin Moran and at a push Muriel Spark but struggle for more witty female author names. Humorous storytelling is healing and empowering. Laughing is essential.”

The Comedy Women in Print Prize 2021 winners along with the honorary awards for Witty Writer of the Year and Witty Game Changer will be announced at the Groucho Club on Monday 8 November 2021.