Entertainment & Arts

Booker Prize satire wins Wodehouse comic fiction prize

Book jacket for Edward St Aubyn's Lost For Words Image copyright Other
Image caption St Aubyn beat the likes of Sebastian Faulks and Helen Fielding to take the prize

A satire of the Booker Prize by Edward St Aubyn has won its own award - The Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction.

Lost for Words was written, as critics have noted, after St Aubyn's novel, At Last, was overlooked by Booker judges.

It takes aim at judges of the fictional Elysium prize, who largely fail to read the books on their shortlist.

"The only thing I was sure of when I was writing this satire on literary prizes was that it wouldn't win any prizes, said the author.

"I was wrong. I had overlooked the one prize with a sense of humour."

As part of his prize, St Aubyn will be presented with a Gloucestershire Old Spot pig, named after his novel.

Known for his best-selling Patrick Melrose novels, the author beat Sebastian Faulks, John Niven, Hanif Kureishi, Joseph O'Connor and Helen Fielding to take the title.

Of the runners-up, Faulks will have the most cause to be aggrieved - as his book was based on the Jeeves and Wooster characters, after whose author the Wodehouse Prize was named.

Fielding was nominated for the latest Bridget Jones novel, Mad About the Boy, while O'Connor's The Thrill of it All was the story of 25 years in the life of an aspiring Anglo-Irish rock band.

The Last Word was Kureishi's tale of a young writer commissioned to write the biography of a prestigious Indian-born author, while John Niven was recognised for Straight White Male, about a washed-up, alcoholic, sex-addicted novelist.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption St Aubyn was shortlisted for the Booker in 2006 with his novel Mother's Milk

David Campbell, organiser of the Wodehouse Prize said: "Lost For Words is a wonderfully funny send-up of literary prizes and much of contemporary cultural life. I'm delighted it's won."

Organisers of the award noted the novel "questions the role of art in a celebrity-obsessed world where everyone has his or her own agenda".

St Aubyn will receive his prize - and his pig - at the Hay literary festival on 24 May.

Previous winners include Will Self, Terry Pratchett, Ian McEwan, Marina Lewycka, Paul Torday, and DBC Pierre.

The Hay Festival runs from 22 May - 1 June 2014. The BBC will broadcast coverage of the festival on television, radio and online.

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