Shortlist: Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse comic fiction prize 2021

32-year-old Nina Dean is a successful food writer with a loyal online following, but a life that is falling apart. When she uses dating apps for the first time, she becomes a victim of ghosting, and by the most beguiling of men. Her beloved dad is vanishing in slow motion into dementia, and she’s starting to think about ageing and the gendered double-standard of the biological clock. On top of this she has to deal with her mother’s desire for a mid-life makeover and the fact that all her friends seem to be slipping away from her…

Dolly Alderton’s debut novel is  funny, tender and painfully relatable, filled with whip-smart observations about relationships and the way we live today.

 £12.99

Between Beirut And The Moon is the exuberant and hilarious debut from the hugely talented young Lebanese author, Naji Bakhti.

A young boy comes of age within the confines of post-civil-war Beirut, with conflict, and comedy lurking round every corner. Adam dreams of becoming an astronaut but who has ever heard of an Arab on the moon?
He battles with his father, a book-hoarding journalist with a penchant for writing eulogies, his closest friend, Basil, a Druze who is said to worship goats and believe in reincarnation, and a host of other misfits and miscreants in a city attempting recover from years of political and military violence. 

£9.99

Tina wants to feel Indian. Really Indian. Not Indian in the sense of going to yoga in Brooklyn. She wants to know the real India – only whenever she visits, people take her to bars and restaurants and boutiques that could be anywhere in the world. So she jumps at the change to get to know the country when she heads to Delhi for her glamorous cousin Shefali’s week-long wedding, with her best friend, her parents and her mother’s all-American boyfriend in tow. Navigating a world of Delhi playboys, models, dating agencies for widows, and wedding guests with personal bodyguards, Tina is determined to have an authentic Indian experience. Now if only someone would tell her what that was…

£8.99

Set in the world of contemporary art, Guy Kennaway’s new novel delivers his trademark absurdities and laugh out loud moments. As the globe’s most successful super-dealer, Herman Gertsch spent his charmed life jetting between his galleries in Zurich, London and New York, fawned over by artists, curators, politicians and the uber-rich. As Herman’s empire grew, nothing seemed to get in his way, until he made the calamitous decision to open a gallery in a rural English backwater. Here, Herman encountered John ‘Brother’ Burn, a penniless hippy known as the slipperiest man in south Somerset, and therefore the western hemisphere. In the riotous comedy of errors that follows, Kennaway pours mistaken identity, Amazonian tribesmen, Swiss food, DMT, Arab Royalty, million dollar paintings and worthless tat onto a spin painting of a story that dazzles with surprises and leaves you feeling reassuringly warm about art and life.

£18.00

‘Terrifyingly entertaining.’ Kelly Link ‘Masterful.’ Washington Post ”Alice in Wonderland set in the gig economy.’ New York Times ‘What is this?’ Los Angeles Times Shortlisted for the Center for Fiction’s 2020 First Novel Prize 18 boyfriends. 23 jobs. One ghost who occasionally pops in to give advice. Welcome to the world of the Temporary. ‘There is nothing more personal than doing your job’. So goes the motto of the Temporary, as she takes job after job, in search of steadiness, belonging, and something to call her own. Aided by her bespoke agency and a cast of boyfriends – each allotted their own task (the handy boyfriend, the culinary boyfriend, the real estate boyfriend) – she is happy to fill in for any of us: for the Chairman of the Board, a ghost, a murderer, a mother. Even for you, and for me. Wild, hopeful, infinitely sad and infinitely funny, Temporary is the smartest, most humane story of what it is to work and live, here and now.

£12.99

A wry, provocative and very funny debut novel about identity, authenticity and the self in the age of the internet.

On the eve of Donald Trump’s inauguration, a young woman snoops through her boyfriend’s phone and makes a startling discovery: he’s an anonymous Internet conspiracy theorist, and a popular one at that.

Already fluent in Internet fakery, irony, and outrage, she’s not exactly shocked by the revelation. But this is only the first in a series of bizarre twists that expose a world whose truths are shaped by online lies. Suddenly left with no reason to stay in New York – or be anywhere in particular – she flees to Berlin, and embarks on her own cycles of manipulation in the deceptive spaces of her daily life, from dating apps to expat social events, open-plan offices to bureaucratic waiting rooms.

£12.99

 

Alison Hammond loves to laugh. And the nation laughs with her. Her sunny personality and zest for life has brought joy to millions and has made her one of the UK’s best-loved television presenters. Known for her hilarious and unforgettable interviews with Hollywood A-listers, Alison’s also responsible for
countless classic moments of broadcasting gold – from getting stuck on a caravan door to delivering Christmas cash dressed as an elf!

But who really is Alison Hammond and how did she become the personality that we know and love? Shaped by the influence of her incredible mum, Alison went from small roles on television shows as a youngster to that life-changing entry into Big Brother, before landing her dream job on This Morning. And through it all she found the joy in every day, the positives in any situation.

You’ve Got To Laugh will give a never-before-seen insight into Alison’s life: her loves, her losses – and a side order of gossip. As well as being a hugely entertaining and uplifting read, Alison’s story will inspire you to grab life with
both hands and make the most of every single moment.

Pre-Order Today Hardback £20
Awaiting Publication Date

This is a book about growing up in the ’90s told through the thing that mattered most to me, the television programmes I watched. For my generation television was the one thing that united everyone. There were kids at my school who liked bands, kids who liked football and one weird kid who liked the French sport of petanque, however, we all loved Gladiators, Neighbours and Pebble Mill with Alan Titchmarsh (possibly not the third of these).

In his first memoir, Josh Widdicombe tells the story of a strange rural childhood, the kind of childhood he only realised was weird when he left home and started telling people about it. From only having four people in his year at school, to living in a family home where they didn’t just not bother to lock the front door, they didn’t even have a key. Using a different television show of the time as its starting point for each chapter Watching Neighbours Twice a Day… is part-childhood memoir, part-comic history of ’90s television and culture. It will discuss everything from the BBC convincing him that Michael Parkinson had been possessed by a ghost, to Josh’s belief that Mr Blobby is one of the great comic characters, to what it’s like being the only vegetarian child west of Bristol.

Pre-Order Today Hardback £20        Awaiting Publication Date

PRE-ORDER
Due end October

Life hasn’t always been straightforward for Daisy May Cooper: growing up in rural poverty in Gloucestershire with her brother Chaz, she had to work a myriad of low-paid, unrewarding jobs just to make ends meet. Don’t Laugh, It Will Only Encourage Her is the endearingly honest and hilarious memoir from the creator and star of award-winning BBC comedy This Country.

PRE-ORDER
Due end September

Detailing Katherine’s journey from a naive ex-Hooters waitress fresh off the boat from Canada to comedy megastar, chapters will cover How to Potty Train Your Baby at 10 Months, How to Cut Off Your Racist Aunties, How to Marry Your High School Boyfriend and How to Co-Parent when you’re a Single Mum. The Audacity combines Katherine’s unerring ear for the perfect line with the warmth, compassion and hard-won wisdom that makes up a life on and off stage.

PRE-ORDER
Due mid September

Bursting with the unique comic imagination that makes him such a beloved entertainer, Bob Mortimer’s memoir takes in his numerous misadventures on the path to fame yet doesn’t shy away from moving reflections on the death of his father and his own diagnosis with a serious heart condition.

PRE-ORDER
Due Mid September

The second novel in the record-breaking, million-copy bestselling Thursday Murder Club series by Richard Osman.

It’s the following Thursday.

Elizabeth has received a letter from an old colleague, a man with whom she has a long history. He’s made a big mistake, and he needs her help. His story involves stolen diamonds, a violent mobster, and a very real threat to his life.

A Class Act: Signed Edition (Hardback)

AWAITING PUBLICATION

In this hilarious exploration of class, Rob tries to understand the life he lived growing up as a working-class kid in comparison to the life he lives now.

Will he ever favour a craft beer over strong lager? When did it become normal for kids to eat sushi? Is he still working class? Why does he feel so embarrassed about success? And, will it ever be acceptable to serve pie mash on a wooden board?

Sidesplitter: How To Be From Two Worlds At Once - Signed Edition (Hardback)

AWAITING PUBLICATION

Phil was born in the UK, in Stoke-on-Trent to an English mother and a Chinese-Malaysian father. Three weeks after his birth, the Wang family returned to his fathers’ hometown in Malaysia, and at age 16, Phil was uprooted once again, to return with his family to the UK.

In Sidesplitter, Phil reflects on race, belonging and cultural cachet, bringing his trademark cynicism and wit to topics that range from food and comedy to empire and colonialism.

Windswept & Interesting: My Autobiography (Hardback)

Half Price Only £12.50

AWAITING PUBLICATION

Billy Connolly reveals the truth behind his windswept and interesting life. Born in a tenement flat in Glasgow in 1942, orphaned by the age of 4, and a survivor of appalling abuse at the hands of his own family, Billy’s life is a remarkable story of success against all the odds.

Billy found his escape first as an apprentice welder in the shipyards of the River Clyde. Later he became a folk musician – a ‘rambling man’ – with a genuine talent for playing the banjo. But it was his ability to spin stories, tell jokes and hold an audience in the palm of his hand that truly set him apart.

Delicacy: A memoir about cake and death (Hardback)

Twenty-one snapshots of a life – some staccato, raw and shocking, some expansive, meditative, and profound, underpinned with moments of startling humour that shatter the darkness – all beginning with a single memory. A memory of cake. 

The sickly royal icing marked the moment Katy found her voice. The madeira cake was the sun her group therapy sessions orbited. The ‘missing cake’ from a lost holiday has never let go. Shocking, raw, darkly funny and deeply humane, Katy Wix’s exploration of trauma, grief, addiction, love, loss, memory and hope is truly unforgettable.

Victoria had plenty of stories still to tell when she died in 2016, and one of those was her own autobiography.

Featuring interviews with family members and the stars who knew her best, the official biography of the much-missed Victoria Wood draws on the comedian’s personal archives to tell a warm, compelling and very funny life story

No Shame is a very funny, candid and emotional ride of a memoir by one of our most beloved comedians. The working-class son of a coach driver, and the youngest member of the Noel Coward Society, Tom Allen grew up in 90s suburbia as the eternal outsider.
In these hilarious, honest and heart breaking stories Tom recalls observations on childhood, his adolescence, the family he still lives with, and his attempts to come out and negotiate the gay dating scene.

Stanley Baxter delighted over 20 million viewers at a time with his television specials. His pantos became legendary. His divas and dames were so good they were beyond description.

Baxter was a most brilliant cowboy Coward, a smouldering Dietrich. He found immense laughs as Formby and Liberace. And his sex-starved Tarzan swung in a way Hollywood could never have imagined. But who is the real Stanley Baxter?

Looking back over his life, from schoolboy crushes (on girls and boys) to discovering the power of making people laugh (in the Cambridge Footlights with David Mitchell), and from losing his beloved mother to becoming a husband and father, Robert Webb considers the absurd expectations boys and men have thrust upon them at every stage of life.

Hilarious and heartbreaking, How Not To Be a Boy explores the relationships that made Robert who he is as a man, the lessons we learn as sons and daughters, and the understanding that sometimes you aren’t the Luke Skywalker of your life – you’re actually Darth Vader.

Three little things

A funny book with serious intent, Sex Power Money interrogates this contentious triptych and examines the links between the three. Asking uncompromising questions about the sex industry, objectification and the erotic allure of immense wealth, Pascoe offers a splenetic, incisive and frequently hilarious account of the modern condition. Award-winning comedian Sara Pascoe, following her hit book Animal, turns her attention to the things that really matter to humans - sex, power and money.

Great follow up

Confronted by the realities of adulthood, Romesh Ranganathan must face an uncomfortable truth: this is not quite how he imagined it. Rom wrestles with the greater questions that threaten his being: Could I save my family in a crisis? Do I possess the skills to assemble flatpack furniture? Am I too old for streetwear? Is it alright to parent my kids through the medium of Fortnite? From one of the countries most beloved comedians and author of the Sunday Times bestseller STRAIGHT OUTTA CRAWLEY comes the hilarious and painfully accurate dissection of what it really means to grow up.

Sunday Times No 1

. In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet up once a week to investigate unsolved killings. But when a local property developer shows up dead, 'The Thursday Murder Club' find themselves in the middle of their first live case. The four friends, Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron, might be octogenarians, but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves. Can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer, before it's too late? Pre-order the next book in the series here.

Dancing strictly

Part memoir based on a personal obsession, part homage to a monster hit and a work of genius, Katy will explore her own memories and experiences, and talk to other fans of the film, to examine its legacy as a piece of filmmaking with a social agenda that many miss on first viewing.

This is the heading

The compelling, inspiring, (often comic) coming-of-age story of Trevor Noah, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed. One of the comedy world's brightest new voices, Trevor Noah is a light-footed but sharp-minded observer of the absurdities of politics, race and identity, sharing jokes and insights drawn from the wealth of experience acquired in his relatively young life

Signed Edition

To celebrate his 80th birthday, the nation’s most beloved comic actor shares the wit and wisdom that he has amassed during his stellar career in showbusiness. Whether holding forth on Del Boy or Frost, family or resilience, Jason is ever the consummate entertainer and his warm, gently hilarious tone shines through every anecdote and piece of sage advice.

Mummy love

Mummy dreams of a quirky rural cottage with roses around the door and chatty chickens in the garden. Life, as ever, is not going quite as she planned. Paxo, Oxo and Bisto turn out to be highly rambunctious, rather than merely chatty, and the roses have jaggy thorns. Her precious moppets are now giant teenagers, and instead of wittering

Life's not a sit-com

One of the more playful foundational texts of fourth wave feminism, How to be a Woman discusses taboo subjects with a wit and candour that is as revolutionary as it is hilarious. Ranging from botox to motherhood and all points in between, Moran’s dazzling humour and sharp intelligence pours off the page.

Comic teacher

One of the country’s biggest comics, Ranganathan reveals all in this side-splitting memoir. Covering everything from his childhood and his circuitous route into comedy, to how to cope as a vegan stand-up, Ranganathan’s memoir is irreverent, frank and hilarious. Straight Outta Crawley is the hilarious and irreverent autobiography from comedian Romesh Ranganathan. At the age of 9, Romesh delivered his first ever stand-up set at a Pontin's holiday camp talent competition, then after twenty-two years, hiding behind the guise of a maths teacher,he finally took to the stage.

The Big Yin

For fifty years Billy Connolly’s stand-up routines have been the stuff of legend; constantly evolving and expanding they ensured his reputation as the funniest comic of his generation. Tall Tales and Wee Stories pulls together the cream of these hilarious routines, alongside an enlightening introduction from the Big Yin himself.

Witty and wise

Jeremy Hardy Speaks Volumes is a fitting celebration of this brilliant comedian. Introduced by Jack Dee and Mark Steel and containing material from his stand-up to his radio monologues and political satire to the joyfully silly gems, as well as tributes from his friends and fellow comedians, it is curated to encompass everything about Jeremy that fans adored. Edited by Katie Barlow and David Tyler, Jeremy Hardy Speaks Volumes is wise, daft, outrageous, personal and, above all, very funny: like Jeremy himself.

It all adds up

What makes a bridge wobble when it's not meant to? Billions of dollars mysteriously vanish into thin air? A building rock when its resonant frequency matches a gym class leaping to Snap's 1990 hit I've Got The Power? The answer is maths. Or, to be precise, what happens when maths goes wrong in the real world. As Matt Parker shows us, our modern lives are built on maths: computer programmes, finance, engineering. And most of the time this maths works quietly behind the scenes, until ... it doesn't.

Irreverant as usual

Written with Jenny Eclair’s trademark candour and wit, Older and Wider is a laugh-out-loud guide to the challenges and pitfalls of the menopause from one who has survived its capricious ways. Structured in an accessible A-Z format and full of top tips and handy advice, Older and Wider is side-splitting self-help. Older and Wider is Jenny Eclair's hilarious, irreverent and refreshingly honest compendium of the menopause. From C for Carb-loading and G for Getting Your Shit Together to I for Invisibility and V for Vaginas, Jenny's whistle-stop tour of the menopause in all its glory will make you realise that it really isn't just you.

No more cat videos

Our phones have become a constant distraction; it's time we put them down and rediscovered the simple art of taking a few minutes out. This book offers an imaginative list of games and tips aimed at curing us of our portable tech addiction. More than mere time-killers, these activities include ways to unleash your creative side and train your brain, but above all methods to set you on the road to calm. And all without a phone-charger in sight

A razor sharp mind

Once in a blue moon, a book comes along that changes the world. The Origin of Species. War and Peace. 1984. The World According to Danny Dyer. And now, Cunk on Everything: The Encyclopedia Philomena, by Philomena Cunk. Philomena Cunk is one of the greatest thinkers of the 21st century, and in Cunk on Everything she turns her attention to our biggest issue: why are there so many books? Wouldn't it be better if there was just one? This is that book - an encyclopedia of ALL HUMAN KNOWLEDGE, from sausages to Henry of Eight to Brush Strokes to vegetarian sausages.

Colon oscopy

But do not despair, Have You Eaten Grandma? is here: Gyles Brandreth's definitive (and hilarious) guide to punctuation, spelling, and good English for the twenty-first century. Without hesitation or repetition (and just a touch of deviation) Gyles, the Just A Minute regular and self-confessed grammar guru, skewers the linguistic horrors of our time, tells us where we've been going wrong (and why), and reveals his tips and tricks to ensure that, in future, we make fewer (rather than 'less') mistakes.

The life of a Python

We know him best for his unforgettable roles on Monty Python - from the Flying Circus to The Meaning of Life. Now, Eric Idle reflects on the meaning of his own life in this entertaining memoir that takes us on a remarkable journey from his childhood in an austere boarding school through his successful career in comedy, television, theatre and film. In Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, named after the song he wrote for Life of Brian which has since become the number-one song played at funerals in the UK, he shares the highlights of his life and career with the kind of offbeat humour that has delighted his audiences for five decades. This is a memoir chock-full of behind-the-scenes stories from a high-flying life featuring everyone from Princess Leia to Queen Elizabeth.

Mind over matter

The hilarious feminist account of the female body by the award-winning comedian 'HILARIOUS' Daily Telegraph 'Brilliant' Frankie Boyle Sometimes Sara Pascoe confuses herself. She gets wildly and pointlessly jealous. She spends too much time hating her bum. And you know what she hates more than her bum? Her preoccupation with her bum. She's had sexual experiences with boys she wasn't really into, but still got a post-coital crush on them. She's ruined brand-new relationships by immediately imagining them going into reverse. There was so much about her behaviour that Pascoe wanted to understand. So she started researching what makes us - women - tick. And what she read made her eyes fall out of her face. Reader, here is everything science has to tell us about love, sexuality, infidelity, boobs, periods, pubes, broodiness, and clever old fat.

Life's deeper meaning

The Meaning of Liff has sold hundreds of thousands of copies since it was first published in 1983, and remains a much-loved humour classic. This edition has been revised and updated, and includes The Deeper Meaning of Liff, giving fresh appeal to Douglas Adams and John Lloyd's entertaining and witty dictionary. In life, there are hundreds of familiar experiences, feelings and objects for which no words exist, yet hundreds of strange words are idly loafing around on signposts, pointing at places. The Meaning of Liff connects the two.

Curl up with a G&T

Curl up with this hilarious, heartwarming read from the Top 5 bestselling author of The Mum Who Got Her Life Back Sometimes life can be bittersweet . . . Between tending to the whims of her seven-year-old and the demands of her boss, Viv barely gets a moment to herself. It's not quite the life she wanted, but she hasn't run screaming for the hills yet. But then Viv's husband Andy makes his mid-life crisis her problem. He's having an affair with his (infuriatingly age-appropriate) colleague, a woman who - unlike Viv - doesn't put on weight when she so much as glances at a cream cake. Viv suddenly finds herself single, with zero desire to mingle. Should she be mourning the end of life as she knows it, or could this be the perfect chance to put herself first? When life gives you lemons, lemonade just won't cut it. Bring on the gin!

Just good friends

Two comedy greats talk life, friendship and the joys of fishing... Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse have been friends for 30 years, but when life intervened, what was once a joyous and spontaneous friendship dwindled to the odd phone call or occasional catch up. Then, Glory Be! They were both diagnosed with heart disease and realised that time is short. They'd better spend it fishing... So they dusted off their kits, chucked on their waders and ventured into the achingly beautiful Following the success of the BBC's Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing series, this wonderful book by two lifelong friends is a love letter to the joys of angling, the thrill of the catch and the virtue of having a right daft laff with your mates. On the fish, the equipment, the food, and the locations, Gone Fishing is the perfect book for fans of Bob Mortimer, Paul Whitehouse and for anyone who wants to read a brilliantly written and endlessly funny joint memoir on life, friendship and joys of fishing.

She did it her way

This long-awaited memoir from one of Britain's best-loved celebrities - a writer, broadcaster, activist, comic on stage, screen and radio for nearly forty years, presenter of QI and Great British Bake Off star - is an autobiography with a difference: as only Sandi Toksvig can tell it. 'Between the Stops is a sort of a memoir, my sort. It's about a bus trip really, because it's my view from the Number 12 bus (mostly top deck, the seat at the front on the right), a double-decker that plies its way from Dulwich, in South East London, where I was living, to where I sometimes work - at the BBC, in the heart of the capital. It's not a sensible way to write a memoir at all, probably, but it's the way things pop into your head as you travel, so it's my way'. A funny and moving trip through memories, musings and the many delights on the Number 12 route, Between the Stops is also an inspiration to us all to get off our phones, look up and to talk to each other because as Sandi says: 'some of the greatest trips lie on our own doorstep'.

From me Theroux

In Gotta Get Theroux This, Louis takes the reader on a joyous journey from his anxiety-prone childhood to his unexpectedly successful career. Nervously accepting the BBC's offer of his own series, he went on to create an award-winning documentary style that has seen him immersed in the weird worlds of paranoid US militias and secretive pro-wrestlers, get under the skin of celebrities like Max Clifford and Chris Eubank and tackle gang culture in San Quentin prison, all the time wondering whether the same qualities that make him good at documentaries might also make him bad at life. As Louis woos his beautiful wife Nancy and learns how to be a father, he also dares to take on the powerful Church of Scientology. Just as challenging is the revelation that one of his old subjects, Jimmy Savile, was a secret sexual predator, prompting him to question our understanding of how evil takes place. Filled with wry observation and self-deprecating humour, this is Louis at his most insightful and honest best.

Failure is strength

Novelist and journalist Elizabeth Day’s podcast, How To Fail With Elizabeth Day, is a salvation to an age, as Day puts it, of curated perfection. Celebrating and embracing the moments where life didn’t quite go to plan, Day’s guests (including names such as Dolly Alderton, Lily Allen and Fleabag's Phoebe Waller-Bridge) have proven that through failure, we truly begin to understand the truth about ourselves. How to Fail is Elizabeth Day’s essential distillation of that knowledge, born through her own acute experiences and the stories of others. Frank, wise and witty, Day walks us through the impossibility of a flawless world to find a place where failure is our strength.