The Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize is the UK's only literary award for comic writing. Established in 2000 and named in honour of P G Wodehouse, past winners include Paul Torday in 2007 with Salmon Fishing in the Yemen and Marina Lewycka with A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian 2005 and Jasper Fforde for The Well of Lost Plots in 2004and DBC Pierre's Vernon God Little in 2003.
The winner is announced at the annual Hay Festival in May and is presented with Champagne and 52 volumes of the Everyman Wodehouse edition. In addition, a Gloucester Old Spot pig is also named after the winning novel. Now that is fame.
This years shortlist include previous Booker prize winner Ian McEwan's latest climate change comedy, Solar.
Tragic thought that Mr. McE. showed some hints of a comic side in both On Chesil Beach (winner of a British Galaxy Book Award) and Amsterdam, albeit of a darkish satirical slightly undercover bent. For him to allow this side of his author beingness to emerge on a subject such as climate change is splendid.
Anyone suggesting that there is evidence of a cynical marketing exercise afoot, by including Mr. McE on the list, go straight to the back of the room - there are no Booker PR people involved in the Wodehouse to the best of Tragic's knowledge.
A glance at some of the previous winners below reveals a wealth of titles that were both witty and erudite in narrative- it is not necessarily so that never the 'twain' shall meet (boom boom).
Got to love any literary prize that calls to mind the genius of PG Wodehouse, surely one of the most entertaining writers of the 20th Century. Good luck to all involved.
Also on the shortlist 2010 are Skippy Dies by Paul Murray (Hamish Hamilton), Tiffany Murray's Diamond Star Halo (Portobello), One Day by David Nicholls (Hodder & Stoughton) and Malcolm Pryce's From Aberystwyth with Love (Bloomsbury) (is that a reworking of Aberystwyth Mon Amour?)
2009 Geoff Dyer - Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi (Canongate Books)
2008 Will Self - The Butt (Bloomsbury)
2007 Paul Torday - Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
2006 Christopher Brookmyre - All Fun and Games until Somebody Loses an Eye (Abacus)
2005 Marina Lewycka - A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian (Viking)
2004 Jasper Fforde - The Well of Lost Plots (Hodder & Stoughton)
2003 DBC Pierre - Vernon God Little (Faber and Faber)
2002 Michael Frayn - Spies (Faber)
2001 Jonathan Coe - The Rotters' Club (Viking)
2000 Howard Jacobson - The Mighty Walzer (Jonathan Cape)