Alongside PG Wodehouse’s most memorable creations – from Bertie Wooster and Jeeves to Lord Emsworth – sits Empress of Blandings, the perennial silver medallist in the “Fat Pigs” class at the Shropshire Agricultural Show.
Now authors including Howard Jacobson are in the running to win a pig of their own as part of the spoils of a comic fiction prize that bears Wodehouse’s name. Or at least they will get the animal’s naming rights.
The shortlist for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction revealed today includes Jacobson’s Zoo Time. The author won the inaugural prize, and the first chance to name a pig, in 2000 for The Mighty Waltzer.
This year he is up against Michael Frayn for Skios, the other writer on the shortlist who has also previously won the award, in 2002 for Spies.
The rest of the 2013 shortlist is filled out by Joseph Connolly’s England’s Lane, Heartbreak Hotel by Deborah Moggach, who was shortlisted in 2004, and Lightning Rods by Helen DeWitt.
The judges comprise broadcaster Jim Naughtie, Everyman’s Library publisher David Campbell and Hay Festival director David Campbell. The latter called it “one of the strongest shortlists I have seen. All five novels are truly, brilliantly funny.”
The winner will be announced shortly before the Hay Festival, and the winner will receive champagne, a set of over 80 PG Wodehouse books and the presentation of a Gloucestershire Old Spot pig, who will be named after the winning title.
Previous winners, who all have a pig named after their work, include Jonathan Coe, Will Self, Ian McEwan and Terry Pratchett.