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  • Writer's pictureHelen Lederer

Is CWIP necessary? Discuss:

Good question. The other morning, I had to send three texts as damage limitation before I really began to worry. Would three texts be enough? It was my own fault. I had gone to a work event the night before, where all the waiters seemed to be on a commission to fill up my glass. I wasn’t complaining (at that point) but before anyone could say the word ‘drunk’, ‘under the table’ or ‘Dorothy Parker’ – the damage was done, and I accept the consequences with humility.

My Dorothy Parker reminder as stationery

I will never work on a certain TV channel again - but here’s the thing: one must keep going. And to keep going, one mustn’t feel alone. And to avoid feeling alone, one must read funny novels. Particularly novels written by authors, who capture perfectly the universal truth of GETTING THINGS WRONG.

Out of tragedy comes comedy but without comedy novels - we are stuck in the ‘NOIR’. Imagine a life without a narrative voice that makes us laugh? Exactly. It's unthinkable. Which is why we need to celebrate, encourage and be grateful for all funny female fiction out there – and the best of these are jewels. Hence the CWIP prize. Thankfully I am not alone in my belief system.

Imagine my glee when the Writer’s Guild of Great Britain sent a little significant something into the CWIP bank account. These people really know how to look after writers. It’s like being friends with a literary fairy Godmother with a cheque book. The WGGB are an amazing team who’ve been negotiating deals since 1959 (that’s before Caitlin Moran was born) and the agreements they’ve sorted are stunning.

And just when I thought I couldn’t quite stretch to paying a professional to do ‘logistics’ for the prize - a wonderful gift turned up from the estate of the late Simon Brint who was a comedic genius. His wonderful wife said at the time ‘Simon would have loved to have known his royalties are going to CWIP’

And with a tear in my eye and a glimmer of relief - CWIP is now set to host the first judging meeting of the longlist at the Groucho Club who have supported us with a smashing room. There will be croissants, notebooks from Rymans and Gin from King of Soho (for going home presents, not during).

Oh, and the clever judges who are supporting because they too, believe CWIP is necessary.

Our wonderful judges



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