Tuesday 17 September 2019

'A book to savour': Doyle's anthology up for comic prize

‘Funny and optimistic’: Roddy Doyle has created an anthology of his ‘Charlie Savage’ columns for the Irish Independent which is up for an award. Photo: Fran Veale
‘Funny and optimistic’: Roddy Doyle has created an anthology of his ‘Charlie Savage’ columns for the Irish Independent which is up for an award. Photo: Fran Veale

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.

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

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

British authors Nina Stibbe ('Reasons To Be Cheerful'), Lissa Evans ('Old Baggage') and Kate Davies ('In At The Deep End') are joined by US writer Jen Beagin ('Vacuum In The Dark').

New Zealander Paul Ewen's 'Francis Plug' completes the shortlist.

The winner of the prize will be presented with a case of Champagne and a rare breed pig named after their winning novel at the Hay Festival, held in Wales between May 23 and June 2.

Irish Independent

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