It has been announced today that the Comedy Women In Print (CWIP) Prize will offer an aspiring female comic novelist a publishing contract with HarperFiction, and £5,000 advance. Meanwhile, the runner-up will receive a free place on the MA course in Creative Writing at the University of Hertfordshire.
The CWIP Prize, which was officially launched at the Edinburgh Fringe in August, has been created by actress and stand-up comedian Helen Lederer in response to the lack of support and exposure for female comedy writing, and as a way of discovering and nurturing new talent.
Speaking about their support for the Award, Martha Ashby, Editorial Director at HarperFiction, says: "I'm absolutely delighted to support CWIP's prize for unpublished writers in 2019. There are so many hilarious female writers in the UK and this prize is the perfect opportunity to shine a spotlight on an area of fiction that is often overlooked."
Ashby will sit on the judging panel alongside international bestselling writers Marian Keyes (Watermelon) and Allison Pearson (I Don't Know How She Does It), and Dr Jennifer Young, English and Creative Writing Lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire.
Helen Lederer comments: "I thought it was Christmas when Marian and Allison came on board (people tend to swoon at the mention of their names and rightly so) but when HarperFiction came through with this unique and serious offer to publish new work... Well, I had to sit down. It proves that witty female fiction is being taken seriously from the top down. I love HarperFiction for doing this. They will not be sorry... and they will definitely laugh more."
Entrants to the unpublished category are asked to submit a one-page synopsis and the first 5,000 words of their comedy novel, which, when completed must be at least 85,000 words in length.
Alongside the award for an unpublished writer, the CWIP Prize will also offer an award for Comedy Writing by a published author with a prize fund of £2,000.
Entrants can be of any nationality but must be over the age of 18. The closing date for both awards is 28th February 2019.
The shortlist will be revealed at the end of May.
For more details about CWIP and full terms and conditions visit www.comedywomeninprint.co.uk