This British literary prize is for the novel considered by the judges to best capture the comic spirit of PG Wodehouse. This year, the prize’s 14th, the judges are Everyman’s Library publisher David Campbell, Hay Festival director Peter Florence and broadcaster and author Jim Naughtie.
“This is one of the strongest shortlists I have seen – all five novels are truly brilliantly funny,” Campbell said.
The five shortlisted novels for 2013 are:
Zoo Time by Howard Jacobson
This is the tale of Guy Ableman, a writer in torment, both over his affections for both his wife and mother-in-law, and the terminal state of literature.
Skios by Michael Frayn
Skios was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2012. It is a farce about a case of mistaken identity on the fictional Greek island of the title.
I read this book last year, I found it only mildly amusing. If it were made into a movie it would have to star Barbara Windsor, Kenneth Williams, Hattie Jacques, Sid James et al.
England’s Lane by Joseph Connolly
A “darkly humorous” tale of three couples who owned shops on a street in north London in the late 1950s and the secrets hidden behind their shop fronts.
Heartbreak Hotel by Deborah Moggach
Lightning Rods by Helen DeWitt
An “uproariously funny” tale following failing salesman Joe as he launches a plan to stamp out sexual harassment in the workplace.
The winning title will be announced in late May and will have the rather dubious honour of having a Gloucestershire Old Spot pig named after their winning title.
Previous winners that I have read include :
- A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka (what a name for a pig!)
- Solar by Ian McEwan (had me snorting out loud)
- Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday
You can read the list of winners and short listed novels here on Wikipedia.