Het BBC News meldde vorige week dat dit jaar de Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction niet zal worden uitgereikt. “Wij hadden niet het gevoel dat ook maar één van de boeken die we dit jaar lazen ons een eenstemmig gelach wist te ontlokken op het niveau waaraan wij inmiddels gewend waren geraakt” zei jurylid David Campbell. In de verklaring van de jury stond dat er wel “veel vermaklelijke en goed geschreven boeken” waren verschenen maar dat “geen daarvan aan het criterium voldeed dat alle juryleden er hardop om moesten lachen”.
De Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize is de enige Britse prijs voor humoristische literatuur voor volwassenen en wordt naar traditie uitgereikt op het Hay Festival – het tiendaagse literatuur- en kunst-festival dat elk jaar eind mei/begin juni gehouden wordt in Hay-on-Wye, het ‘boekenstadje’ op de grens tussen Engeland en Wales.
De winnaar van vorig jaar was Helen Fielding, de schrijfster van de Bridget Jones-boeken. Andere winnaars in het verleden waren Michael Frayn, Howard Jacobson, Marina Lewycka en Alexander McCall Smith.
Een onderdeel van de prijs is ieder jaar dat een varken van zeldzaam ras genoemd wordt naar het winnende boek – dit ongetwijfeld ter ere van de Keizerin van Blandings.
De jury looft ditmaal de prijs niet uit om de hoge standaard voor humoristische literatuur waar de Wodehouse Prize voor staat te kunnen behouden, en kijkt uit naar een hilarisch boek om volgend jaar te kunnen bekronen. Wij herlezen inmiddels gewoon een oude Wodehouse – in nieuwe, spetterende vertaling. (Verkrijgbaar bij Uitgeverij IJzer te Utrecht, in de betere boekhandel natuurlijk, of bij

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