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Debut novelist fends off famous faces to win Comedy Women In Print Prize

Jesse Sutanto won the prize for published comic novel (CWIP/PA)
Jesse Sutanto won the prize for published comic novel (CWIP/PA)

A debut novelist whose book has already been snapped up by Netflix has beaten a host of famous faces to win a top accolade at the 2021 Comedy Women in Print Prize (CWIP).

Jesse Sutanto won the prize for published comic novel with her hilarious “murder rom-com” Dial A for Aunties, with acclaimed Sunday Times journalist and author Dolly Alderton the runner-up.

The ceremony, celebrated in-person for the first time since its inaugural year, included guests such as author Jilly Cooper, cartoonist Posy Simmonds and comedian Lolly Adefope.

Awards were dished out in The Groucho Club in Soho, London, on Monday night.

Dial A for Aunties follows the story of Medillin Chan, who enlists the help of her mother and meddlesome aunties after a blind date goes horribly wrong.

Rebecca Rogers
Rebecca Rogers won the unpublished comic novel prize (Tim Wolfe/PA)

Set in California, the novel was picked up by US streaming giant Netflix following a bidding war to be made into a feature-length film.

Nahnatchka Khan, director of sitcoms Fresh off the Boat and Young Rock, will direct and produce.

Joanne Harris, chair of judges for the CWIP, said Sutanto’s book was “a deliciously frantic comedy caper” that was “crackling with comic energy”.

Other participants shortlisted for the award included Bafta award-winning TV presenter Mel Giedroyc and international bestselling writer Lynne Truss.

The unpublished comic novel prize was won by job centre worker and single mother Rebecca Rogers for her novel Purgatory Poisoning.

Meera Syal
Meera Syal was been given a special acknowledgement at the awards (Simon Annand/PA)

Special acknowledgement was given to actor and writer Meera Syal for her contribution to wit on the page and Deborah Frances-White, host of the Guilty Feminist podcast, was named witty game-changer.

The ceremony was celebrated online last year due to the coronavirus pandemic and winners included Ruth Jones and Nina Stibbe.

Helen Lederer, founder of the Comedy Women in Print Prize, said: “I am as in awe of the judges as I am of the authors.

“I don’t know how they did it but the judges managed the balance between personal comedic instinct and an unashamed, shared passion to celebrate witty writing.”

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