Thursday, September 2, 2010

2010 Thurber Prize for American Humor

The three finalists for the 2010 Thurber Prize for American Humor were recently announced. The winner will be announced on Monday, October 4th, at the Algonquin Hotel in New York City, where James Thurber once lived. The Thurber Award was started in 1997 -- Ian Frazier won the first award for his book Coyote v. Acme. It is the only recognition of the art of humor writing in the United States. Previous winners include David Sedaris, Christopher Buckley, and the editorial staff of The Onion. Here are this year's finalists:

Why is My Mother Getting a Tattoo? In her early forties, Jancee Dunn began to wonder why she still felt like a thirteen-year-old around her family. Talking to her friends, she found the same was true for themdespite successful jobs, marriages, and families of their own. Do we ever really grow up, she wonders? Why is the slow, sticky process of prying ourselves free from our parents and childhoods so difficult?

How I Became a Famous Novelist, by Steve Hely, is the only novel in the finals. Narrated by an unlikely literary legend, this work moves from the post-college slums of Boston to the fear-drenched halls of Manhattan's publishing houses and tells the horrifying, hilarious tale of how one man's self-described pile of garbage novel becomes the most talked about book in America.

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home. Not long after Rhoda Janzen turned forty, her world turned upside down. It was bad enough that her husband of fifteen years left her for Bob, a guy he met on, but that same week a car accident left her injured. Needing a place to rest and pick up the pieces of her life, Rhoda packed her bags, crossed the country, and returned to her quirky Mennonite family's home, where she was welcomed back with open arms and offbeat advice.

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