Comedy Women in Print Prize 2020 – the winners

The Comedy Women in Print prize is the brainchild of comedian and actor Helen Lederer and was established in 2018 to celebrate and support female comedy writers. The two published prize winners receive a cash prize and the unpublished winner receives a publishing contract with Harper Collins.

This year’s shortlist was as follows:

Big Girl, Small Town by Michelle Gallan.

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams.

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman.

Reasons to Be Cheerful by Nina Stibbe.

Frankisstein by Jeanette Winterson.

The Blessed Girl by Angela Makhola.

As you may or may not know, this year saw the inaugural shadow panel. Alongside Clare from Years of Reading Selfishly, Susan from Books are My Cwtches, Stacey from Whispering Stories and Danielle from The Reading Closet, we read our way through the shortlist.  It was then a virtual 20 paces at dawn as we battled our way to a winner. In reality, we had a lovely, lively discussion, chaired by Kath Eastman from The Nut Press. You’d possibly think that the panel and the shadow judges would probably chose the same books. After all, we were all reading the same things. Well, you’d be wrong, and that just shows how subjective reading, and humour is.

As for our winner? Well that was Abbi Waxman with The Bookish Life of Nina Hill.

You can read my review here.

Here’s a snippet of what we all had to say:

I am going to start off… by proudly declaring myself as a Nina Hill super fan! I absolutely love her! From the first page to the last word, every sentence made me smile, laugh and sigh with happiness. Nina is in one word perfection. – Susan.

I truly loved The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, Abbi has developed a fictional character that I wished was real and that I could be friends with. The Bookish Life Of Nina Hill is such a feel good, uplifting novel… you’ll find it difficult not to smile, giggle and just feel happy while delving into the life of Nina – Danielle.

Books about books are my kryptonite… There are humorous moments… raising wry smiles and laughs… A lovely, warm read, filled with characters to amuse.– Janet.

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill is a warm, amusing, insightful novel that I completely loved. Nina is such an amazing character… It was great to see an introvert take centre stage… You will also giggle along at her view on life, it certainly gives you that feel-good factor. – Stacey.

Nina Hill sparkles because of her wit and smart one liners – her ability to comment with the perfect line with perfect timing means this novel zings off the page. – Clare.

Our runner up was The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary.

You can read my review here.

Here are some insights into our thoughts on The Flatshare:

What I loved about this book was that it was raw and had some hard-hitting issues and whilst they were dealt with using a lot of compassion, there were also lots of hilarious moments to keep you smiling too. – Stacey.

I practically inhaled this book… I loved this from the opening pages to the last post it note. There wasn’t anything I didn’t like about it. A funny, warm, encompassing read. – Janet

The Flatshare shows that you can read a romantic, comedic novel that will turn all the cliches on its head, but at the same time it is whip-smart, genuinely funny, and made me wish I had a Leon of my own in my life. – Clare.

…deeply moving, relevant and funny and joylessly uplifting! What makes Flatshare such a wonderful read is the warmth that permeates the story and the humour that stops it becoming dark. – Susan.

Beth O’Leary has written a brilliantly uplifting rom-com that will have you smiling until your cheeks ache and possibly spraying coffee out of your nose all over your kindle / paperback due to all the hilarious and cringy situations both Leon and Tiffy get themselves into. – Danielle.

You can read more about the 2020 Shadow Panel here (which is where I have blatantly lifted the quotes from.)

So that’s that. Oh, I suppose I’d better tell you about the winner and runner up chosen by the panel.

This year’s judging panel was chaired by Marian Keyes, author of 13 novels which have been translated into 33 languages and sold over 40 million copies. Her fellow judges are author, screenwriter and Celebrity Masterchef winner Emma Kennedy, comedy actor Lolly Adefobe, author and actor Pauline McLynn, actor and screenwriter Joanna Scanlon and journalist, screenwriter, author and winner of the 2019 inaugural CWIP Published Prize, Laura Steven, who won with her book, The Exact Opposite of Okay.

The virtual award ceremony took place on Monday 14th September where it was announced that Reasons to be Cheerful by Nina Stibbe was the 2020 winner.

You can read my review here.

The runner up  was Candice Carty-Williams with Queenie.

(You can’t read my review here because I’ve not written my review yet!)

The winner of the unpublished novel award was Faye Brann with Tinker, Tailor, Schoolmum, Spy, who won a publishing contract with Harper Collins. There were two runner ups, Zahra Barri with The Bird in the River and Janey Prager with The Lady’s Companion.

The winner of the published humouros graphic novel prize were Was it…Too Much for You? by Danny Noble and Assandra Dark by Posy Simmonds.

You can read more about this year’s winners here.

I throughly enjoyed my time on the panel, alongside some amazing women and it really was an honour to have been part of the very first shadow panel. I can’t wait to see which books are up for the prize next year.

Have you read any of the winners or the shortlist? Do you agree with the results? Do let me know.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Kath says:

    I love that the two judging panels came up with very different outcomes, which just goes to show how diverse readers can be.

    Thank you for being a part of the first ever Shadow Panel, Janet. It was brilliant to have you participate and to hear your thoughts on all the shortlisted books. You made my job very easy indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. janetemson says:

      It really did show that. I enjoyed every minute of being on the panel. Thanks so much for allowing me to be involved 🙂


  2. Joanne says:

    I haven’t read all the books but I did absolutely love The Flatshare!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. janetemson says:

      I am pleased to hear you loved it. It’s a fabulous book. I loved it too.

      Liked by 1 person

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