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  • Writer's pictureHelen Lederer


I feel like I’m preparing for a wedding …. but in a way I am.

Witty women authors are about to be joined together with CWIP in preparation for the winner’s announcement on 10 July. I will not be wearing a hat. I’ve been comfort eating my way through admin duties and my head has grown – so that’s out now. We’re not doing rings either - but we do have a VERY arty statuette made of natural materials (not cork or calico). It's currently called the CWIPETTE but we are taking alternative suggestions from callers. Don’t hold back.   

CWIP Statuette
Very, very early arty on lined paper sneak preview by Jake Hussey

So much to do to get focussed on next year so I’m stocking the freezer now in case I can’t leave the house again… new timeline, new books, new cheese selection ….

But for NOW, I get asked to write things about women’s visibility in literature so here is a wordy piece should you care to read.

TLS piece

And, the closer we get to 10 July – the more I get asked to do things with clean hair. This week I went on the Jeremy Vine show on Channel Five to not only talk about CWIP - but also, as it turned out – to respond to the Jo Brand story which, I hadn’t read properly at 7 in the morning. I did my best about the freedom of speech (4 out of ten), the construction of a joke (3 out of ten) and the role of comedy and satire in a toxic society (nil).

It reminded me when Allison Pearson and I went on BBC Breakfast TV at the launch of CWIP and I was asked to tell a joke on the spot.  The best I could offer was ‘What’s French for love in a lorry?' answer ‘coq au vin’… the lovely Dan Walker tweeted afterwards – ‘just put it out there why don’t you’ (in a nice way) while Louise Minchin confessed she didn’t get it (also in a nice way) … so there we are  - one person’s humour is another person’s ‘love in a lorry’…..  Luckily CWIP is across this variable of perception, which also shows in the breadth of books on the long and shortlist.

Anyway…. At least we have the rather racy ‘Glad Rags and Hags’ reading group - shadowing the celebrity judges as they read and comment nicely. Looking forward to their views after the 10th. I’m pleased to reveal a ‘Gladrags and Hags’ photo here with apologies to one of the shortlisted published books ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’ by Gail Honeyman - whose book appears to have been temporally replaced by the bottle of King of Soho Gin in this pic. 

CWIP Shortlist authors
These things happen and the gin is good

I invite you to watch and comment on @CWIPprize on twitter and Facebook and insta – as well as read things in papers for more literary witty gossip and excitement before the great day - last minute nerves are inevitable – there’s no CWIP hen night of course, because that might be milking it  –  but also, CWIP’s a sort of group wedding anyway – you’ve been there for us and we will continue to be there for you….

PS CWIP Mission statement – to  reduce the use of the word QUIRKY when referencing witty woman writers - and increase the word PARITY when it comes to referencing the canvas of literary prizes…

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