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    Jude: Level 1
    by Julian Gough

    Shortlisted for the 2008 Wodehouse Prize for comic fiction.

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« Jude: Level 1 in Greek | Main | My Enormous Gherkin »

Senile Dementia versus Penile Dementia - the Queen and Jude battle it out for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize

pig_chimney.jpgWell, it seems I have been shortlisted for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction, alongside Alan Bennett (he wrote The Madness of King George!), Will Self (he wrote Great Apes!), Garrison Keillor (he wrote Lake Wobegon Days!), John Walsh (he once wrote in the Independent that I looked like a member of the Proclaimers!), and Joe Dunthorne (he wrote the extremely acclaimed first novel Submarine, and is only eight years old!)

Very very exciting. Previous winners include DBC Pierre, for Vernon God Little, Jonathan Coe, for The Rotters' Club, Jasper Fforde, for The Well of Lost Plots, and Marina Lewycka, for A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian.

 They do not insult you with money, either. Bollinger give you a shitload of champagne, Everyman give you sixty volumes of PG Wodehouse in hardback, and the Hay-on-Wye Literary Festival names a large pig after your book. What a year you could have, reading Wodehouse, drinking Bollinger, and... er... whatever it is that you do with pigs.

Unsurprisingly, for it is marvellous, I had picked Alan Bennett's The Uncommon Reader as one of my Books of 2007. I even bought my mother a copy for Christmas. Now he and I rub shoulders on a shortlist. My mother is delighted. I can only hope that none of the others bought their mothers a copy of my book for Christmas, considering how filthy it is. Personally, I hope Alan Bennett wins. His book is far more suitable for the nation's impressionable youth.

I have always argued that comedy is superior to tragedy, and this excellent shortlist proves my point. The tragic is a rather narrow genre, the comic is infinite. What other prize would place a story about a refined elderly lady reading books, in competition with the adventures of a Tipperary orphan with two penises who urinates on a politician while a mob of fifty thousand enraged farmers burn down his orphanage? Now, that's what the people want to see in a literary prize - senile dementia versus penile dementia.

May the best book win. Or, failing that, my one.

Indeed, I do believe that Jude: Level 1 is the first book featuring a hero with two penises to be nominated for a major UK literary award. Of course, it merely follows the American success of Jeffrey Eugenides' Middlesex, which won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize with a hero who had both a penis and a vagina.


In the everevolving literary world, are two sets of genitals the new one set of genitals? Will the next Booker winner be a realistic, psychologically nuanced, slightly depressed novel featuring a funeral at which a dark family secret is finally revealed and it turns out to be sex abuse yet again, but with two penises?


We shall see. 

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Reader Comments (4)

Brian Behan pioneered the double genital theme in his play, 'A Tale of Two Todgers'.

'BRIAN BEHAN, brother of the better known, late, Irish playwright Brendan, is having a spot of bother with his play, The Tale of Two Todgers. Todgers tells the story of a man born with a dual appendage, who claims benefit for it, as well as for his cat and his dog. In the latest version of the play, to be shown at the Hammer-smith Irish Centre on 16 December, Swiney, a miserly DSS official, kills the cat and the dog so the hero, Padser Sausage, can't claim for them. "I've got animal rights protesters threatening to picket the play," Behan complained to Pandora. "I wouldn't mind, but the cat and dog are stuffed. It's not as if I killed them."'

That animal rights story was a typical Brian Behan publicity stunt.

The longing to possess two penises must be embedded deep within the Irish psyche.
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Chrisp
This is great. I hadn't known about Brian's play at all. Thanks for the tip... or tips...
May 2, 2008 | Registered CommenterJulian Gough
Congratulations, Julian! Jude's a great name for a pig, On the other hand, a pig would make a pretty uncommon reader....
May 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth Baines
Thanks, Elizabeth. I really REALLY don't think I'll win. Alan Bennett deserves to. The Uncommon Reader is a perfect little book.

Ah well, that which we call a pig, by any other name would smell as sweet.
May 5, 2008 | Registered CommenterJulian Gough

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