Tuesday 17 September 2019

'A belly-achingly funny, surprisingly optimistic and heart-warming book' - Roddy Doyle's 'Charlie Savage' shortlisted for comic fiction prize

Great one-liners: Roddy Doyle. Photo by Mark Condren
Great one-liners: Roddy Doyle. Photo by Mark Condren

Rachel Dugan

Irish author Roddy Doyle’s latest book has been shortlisted for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction.

Doyle made the six-strong shortlist with ‘Charlie Savage’, an anthology of his weekly columns for the Irish Independent about a middle-aged Dubliner.

The judging panel described ‘Charlie Savage’ as “a belly-achingly funny, surprisingly optimistic and heart-warming book written by a writer at the very height of their literary powers. A book to savour, and to re-read time and again”.

Judges decided to withhold the prize in 2018, saying none of the 62 submitted novels prompted “unanimous, abundant laughter’ from the panel.

Charlie Savage by Roddy Doyle published by Jonathan Cape on March 14, at €14.99.
Charlie Savage by Roddy Doyle published by Jonathan Cape on March 14, at €14.99.

The prize was beset by further controversy when bestselling Irish author Marian Keyes slammed the “sexist imbalance” of the comic fiction prize, which has only been awarded to a woman three times in its 18-year history.

“Say what you like about me, my books are funny, they are comic. What else do I have to do to qualify?” the Limerick-born author complained.

This year, however, women dominate the shortlist, with four female authors in the running.

British authors Nina Stibbe (Reasons to be Cheerful) and Lissa Evans (Old Baggage) both make their third appearance on the shortlist, and are joined by US writer Jen Beagin (Vacuum in the Dark) and Londoner Kate Davies (In at the Deep End).

New Zealander Paul Ewen’s ‘Francis Plug’ and Doyle’s ‘Charlie Savage’ complete the shortlist.

The winner of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction will presented with a case of champagne and a rare breed pig named after their winning novel at the Hay Festival (May 23-June 2).

Read more: 'Charlie adds the sugar to my day' - Roddy Doyle on his beloved Weekend character Charlie and new book

Roddy Doyle's cheeky Charlie on Trump, tea and toddler tattoos 

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