Are these the funniest books of 2021? | Shortlist released for Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize

Are these the funniest books of 2021?

Shortlist released for Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize

Six books have been shortlisted for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for comic fiction.

The six books deemed this year's funniest are: 

Ghosts by Dolly Alderton

The judges said: ‘So much to love about Ghosts — a story that took us away from the pandemic and back into the terrors of being in your early 30s. Dolly demonstrates the universal conundrum of trying to be your best self, whilst having to exist in the vicinity of other people. So many laughs, punctuated by some beautifully moving moments.’

Between Beirut and the Moon by Naji Bakhti

The judges said: ‘This is a book that makes you laugh, then surprises you, then horrifies you, teaches you something, then makes you laugh again.  Never before have we considered the logistics of going to the toilet while bombs are going off.  This is a book we read and then immediately mailed copies to friends and family declaring READ THIS.  READ IT NOW.’

Destination Wedding by Diksha Basu 

The judges said:’ Such great characters in this hilarious deep-dive into identity, belonging and extravagant weddings. After a year of no travel, it was wonderful to find ourselves in Delhi, drinking champagne with the top set, laughing with (or at?) this wonderfully eclectic group, gifted to us by Diksha Basu.’

The Accidental Collector by Guy Kennaway

The judges said: ‘The Accidental Collector, is an outrageous send up of the contemporary art world that truly made us laugh out loud. It’s perceptive, hugely entertaining and full of surprises: it proved the perfect lockdown read.’

Temporary by Hilary Leichter 

The judges said: ‘A delightfully surreal tale with pirates, assassins and lots of whimsical surprises.  And if you've ever used a temp agency, you will look on them in a whole new light.  This book was fun and a book which kept making me say "We hope this is true.  Surely it's not.  But we hope it is."  It's a look into a world we wish we lived in.’

Fake Accounts by Lauren Oyler

The judges said: ‘Run to your bookshop, or if you are very brave go online, and buy Lauren Oyler’s debut novel!  It is a fabulously funny, profoundly scary, and terrifyingly insightful dive into the toxic and enticing maze that is online life. Written by a writer who is already at the very top of her game.’

The winner of this year’s prize - the 21st - will be announced on June 23  and receives jeroboam of Bollinger Special Cuvée, a case of Bollinger La Grande Année, the complete set of the Everyman’s Library P.G. Wodehouse collection and a pig named after their winning book.

This year’s judges were comedians Daliso Chaponda, Sindhu Vee and Pippa Evas,  alongside Justin Albert of Hay Festival, publisher David Campbell and broadcaster James Naughtie.

Campbell, publisher of Everyman’s Library, said: ‘The judges met on the first day it was allowed… Over a few glasses of Bollinger, we agreed that it was a truly vintage 21st year for the prize. With 81 submitted books to choose from, we whittled them down to a shortlist of six exceptionally strong, and laugh out loud funny books.’

Published: 30 May 2021

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