Comedy Women In Print Prize unveils expanded judging panel

Father Ted star Pauline McLynn and The Thick Of It’s Joanna Scanlan have joined the judging panel for the second annual Comedy Women In Print Prize.

The award was founded by actress and stand-up Helen Lederer in response to a perceived lack of support for female comedy writing and as a way of discovering new talent.

They join returning chair Marian Keyes on an expanded panel of judges for the prize for published authors, including comedian Lolly Adefope and writer Emma Kennedy.

Galaxy British Book Awards 2007 – London
Marian Keyes (Joel Ryan/PA)

Irish author and actor McLynn is best known for playing Mrs Doyle in Father Ted, Libby Croker in Shameless and Yvonne Cotton in EastEnders.

Bafta-nominee Scanlan made her name in Armando Iannucci’s political satire The Thick Of It, before going on to create dark comedy Getting On with Jo Brand.

She said: “Judging for CWIP is my idea of heaven – it’s the ultimate OOO (Out of Office) reply excuse to snuggle up with a funny book without having to fork out for a vacation. Who needs anything more?”

Writer Fanny Blake returns to chair the prize for unpublished writers, which features Slay In Your Lane co-author Yomi Adegoke and Alastair Campbell’s daughter Grace, who is a writer and comedian.

Bridget Jones’s Baby – World Premiere – London
Joanna Scanlan (Ian West/PA)

Adegoke said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to be asked to do what I love most in a professional capacity: read the work of witty women. The CWIP awards are much needed and I’m delighted to be a part of it.”

Former Blue Peter presenter Janet Ellis chairs the panel for the prize for comic graphic design, which is new this year.

She is joined by actress Paula Wilcox and cartoonist Rachael Ball among others.

Lederer said: “The generosity and commitment of the judges – including established and witty TV stars such as Jo Scanlan and bestselling writer Marian Keyes – has upped our game for the second year.

Blue Peter turns 60
Janet Ellis (Peter Byrne/PA)

“As the suffragettes said, it’s ‘deeds not words’, so this year we’ve added another unsung group of witty cartoonists and artists in the graphic novel category. CWIP remains an irreverent but relevant prize at a time when women write funny books but get published less than men.

“Apparently, there’s never been a better time to be witty and a woman – we are all set to have a laugh proving it.”

The winner of the published award will receive a cash prize of £3000.

At the inaugural ceremony last year, Laura Stevens’ The Exact Opposite Of Okay won in the published novel category while Kirsty Eyre’s Cow Girl won in the unpublished novel category.

International bestselling author Jilly Cooper was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

The closing date for all award entries is March 2.