February 28


CWIP is calling all your witty women writers! HarperFiction will publish the winning entry offering £5000 advance. Entries close 28 Feb 2019 – enough time to send in a chapter and a synopsis of the novel. Shortlisted entries to send novel end of March 2019. Enter here It would be wonderful if you can do a likey if you spot on Twitter and Instagram – you will find us at @CWIPprize. …. Could you? Hope so… CWIP will, I’m sure, benefit from excellent witty women’s entries…. Warmest wishes Helen Lederer


HarperFiction to team up with the


for unpublished writers

A major new award for witty women, the Comedy Women in Print (CWIP) Prize, today announced that they are joining forces with HarperFiction. The publisher will offer the winning aspiring, comic female novelist a publishing contract and £5,000 advance. The runner-up will be offered a free MA in Creative Writing from the University of Hertfordshire.

The CWIP Prize, officially launched at the Edinburgh Fringe in August 2018, was created by actress and stand-up comedienne Helen Lederer in response to the lack of support and exposure for female comedy writing and as a way of discovering and nurturing new talent. Judges announced for the award to date include international bestselling writers, Marian Keyes and Allison Pearson and Dr Jennifer Young, English and Creative Writing Lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire. Martha Ashby, Editorial Director, HarperFiction will join the judging panel for the unpublished award.

Speaking about their support for the Award, Martha Ashby, Editorial Director, HarperFiction says:

‘I’m absolutely delighted to support CWIP’s prize for unpublished writers in 2019. There are so many hilarious female writers in the UK and this prize is the perfect opportunity to shine a spotlight on an area of fiction that is often overlooked.

Helen Lederer, founder of CWIP says: ‘I thought it was Christmas when Marian and Allison came on board (people tend to swoon at the mention of their names and rightly so) but when HarperFiction came through with this unique and serious offer to publish new work…Well, I had to sit down. It proves that witty female fiction is being taken seriously from the top down. I love HarperFiction for doing this. They will not be sorry…and they will definitely laugh more.’

Entrants to the unpublished category are asked to submit a one-page synopsis and the first 5,000 words of their comedy novel, which, when completed must be at least 85,000 words in length. Entrants can be of any nationality but must be over 18-years-old. For more details about CWIP and full terms and conditions visit

Alongside the award for an unpublished writer, the CWIP Prize will also offer an award for Comedy Writing by a published author with a prize fund of £2,000. Entrants can be of any nationality but must be over the age of 18 and have written a novel of at least 50,000. The closing date for both awards is 28th February 2019.


28th February 2019: Closing Date for submissions
30th May 2019: CWIP shortlist announcement.
10th July 2019: CWIP winners’ event and announcement

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Helen Lederer is probably best known as part of London’s Comedy Store comedians, including Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, the late Rik Mayall and Ben Elton, and for her roles in ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ and the BBC comedy sketch show ‘Naked Video’. Helen’s recent appearance in Celebrity Big Brother led to her trending on Twitter, being saved by the public vote three times and affording her a temporary title of “national treasure”. She is not only a comedian and actor but also a comedy novelist. Her first novel ‘Losing It’, published by Pan Macmillan, was nominated for the PG Wodehouse comedy literary prize. She is currently working on her comedy memoir. She is a much sought after panellist having appeared on shows such as ‘The News Quiz’, ‘Just a Minute’, ‘Quote…Unquote’, ‘A Good Read’, ‘Open Book’ and ‘Woman’s Hour’. She has also written for Woman&Home, The Independent, The Mail on Sunday, The Express and the Daily Telegraph and is currently the ‘agony aunt’ for Woman’s Weekly. Her show at the Edinburgh Festival ‘I might as well say it’ was sold out to rave reviews


Marian Keyes is one of the most successful Irish novelists of all time. Her first novel, Watermelon, was published in Ireland in 1995, where it was an immediate, runaway success. It’s chatty conversational style and whimsical Irish humour appealed to all age groups, and this appeal spread to Britain when Watermelon was picked as a Fresh Talent book. Other countries followed and Marian is now published in 33 languages and has sold nearly 7 million books.

Allison Pearson is the author of the bestseller I Don’t Know How She Does It, which became a major motion picture starring Sarah Jessica Parker, its recent sequel, How Hard Can It Be?, and other novels including I Think I Love You. She is a Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph columnist and has won many awards including Columnist of the Year, Critic of the Year and Interviewer of the Year.

Jennifer Young is a novelist and Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing and an Associate Dean. Her novel, Cold Crash, won the Cinnamon Press Debut Novel Award in 2016. Jennifer is the programme leader for the MA in Creative Writing in the School of Humanities at the University of Hertfordshire.

Martha Ashby is Editorial Director of Commercial Fiction at HarperFiction. She works on a wide variety of authors, such as Gail Honeyman (Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine), Mhairi McFarlane (Don’t You Forget About Me) and Sarah J. Harris (The Colour of Bee Larkham’s Murder).


About HarperCollins Publishers:

HarperCollins UK is a division of HarperCollins Publishers, the second largest consumer book publisher in the world, with operations in 18 countries. With two hundred years of history and more than 120 unique imprints around the world, HarperCollins publishes approximately 10,000 new books every year, in 17 languages, and has a print and digital catalogue of more than 200,000 titles. Writing across dozens of genres, HarperCollins authors include winners of the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Newbery and Caldecott Medals and the Man Booker Prize. HarperCollins UK has offices in London, Glasgow and Honley, and can be found online at To explore HarperCollins’ 200 year history, including a list of 200 iconic titles, fascinating stories and artefacts from the archive, visit

About the University of Hertfordshire:

The University of Hertfordshire is a vibrant, inclusive, campus-based institution. It is innovative and enterprising and challenges individuals and organisations to excel. All courses are underpinned by industry insight and powerful research ensuring our student community of over 24,600 graduates are equipped with the skills and attributes for successful professional lives. The University has excellent progression rates to employment – 96.5% of students are in employment or further study six months after graduating* – and its teaching expertise has recently been awarded the top gold ranking in the Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) 2018. It is one of the top 150 universities in the world under 50 years old, according to the new Times Higher Education 150 under 50 rankings 2018. For more information visit: For further information about its MA in Creative Writing visit

PegasusLife was established in 2012 on the premise of redefining the retirement housing market in order to overcome the chronic lack of relevant housing options available to the older generation in the UK. Their work has changed the way retirement property is understood and delivered in the UK.

The company was founded by Oaktree Capital Management. Find out more by visiting

The Telegraph is an award-winning, multimedia news brand that has been synonymous with quality, authority and credibility for more than 160 years. Renowned for analysis, perspective, opinion and insight its content sets the news agenda, sparks debate and provokes comment. The Telegraph is CWIP’s media partner. Visit

For further information on the Comedy Women in Print Prize please visit:

#CWIP #ComedyWomeninPrint





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