Comedy comes in many flavours, explains Peter Florence—chair of the judges for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction. Here, he talks us through the varied shortlist for this year’s prize: the six funniest books of 2023.
Douglas Adams found huge success with The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a surreal science fiction satire in which a dressing gown-clad Englishman finds himself roaming the multiverse in an improbability-powered spaceship. Here, Kevin Jon Davies—editor of a new book that puts together material from 60 boxes Adams left behind—talks us through the comedy writer’s life and work.
Comedy offers escapism and a way of processing our emotions during stressful times, says the comedian Pippa Evans—who this year served as a judge for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction. Here she talks us through the books shortlisted for the title of the funniest book of 2020, and explains how she found herself researching pig deliveries.
Laughing out loud while reading is such a particular, life-affirming joy—a joy especially suited to young readers. Author and illustrator Tom McLaughlin recommends books that have left him in helpless fits of giggles.
Elys Dolan, author of Mr Bunny’s Chocolate Factory and rising star of the picture book world, on the funniest illustrated books for reading at bedtime—and why children’s characters needn’t always set good moral examples.
A prolific writer sometimes oblivious to events going on around him, PG Wodehouse remains so well loved because of his enduring characters and inimitable style, says Sophie Ratcliffe, associate professor of English at Oxford University and editor of his letters.
Actor and comic chooses five books on comedy. One choice is The Comedy Bible, which explains that every comedian is either saying, “It is hard to…” or, “I love being…” – and you need to fill in the blanks.
Literature teacher from the University of Texas says the intelligence behind the confusion in comic novels must be essentially benign – like being tickled.