Alexander McCall Smith lands comic fiction prize

BESTSELLING writer Alexander McCall Smith, author of The No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, has scooped a book prize for comic fiction.

Alexander McCall Smith beat off competition from the likes of Caitlin Moran and Irvine Welsh. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

The Scottish writer beat Caitlin Moran (How To Build A Girl) and Irvine Welsh (A Decent Ride) to this year’s Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction, named in honour of PG Wodehouse.

He won for his irreverent novel Fatty O’Leary’s Dinner Party, about a hapless couple on a trip of a lifetime from the US to Ireland.

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Following in the footsteps of previous winners, the author will be presented with a locally-bred Gloucestershire Old Spot pig - which will be named after his winning novel - at the Hay Festival later this month.

Broadcaster James Naughtie, one of the judges, said: “It’s right and proper to couple the names of Alexander McCall Smith and PG Wodehouse.

“No writer in recent times has been a more prolific dispenser of wit. He makes people laugh out loud and, like everyone who understands the absurdities of life, he understands sadness too.”

Meanwhile, it was announced that another award, The Folio Prize, is looking for a new sponsor.

The £40,000 literature prize, celebrating English-language fiction by writers from around the world, was established in 2013 and took its name when The Folio Society was its title sponsor.

It has decided not to renew its sponsorship.