Three fi­nal­ists for Amer­i­can Hu­mor are all women

The China Post - - ARTS -

Thurber Prize judges have made it of­fi­cial: Women are funny, too. Nearly 20 years af­ter its found­ing, the all-male win­ners’ cir­cle for the Thurber Prize for Amer­i­can Hu­mor is fi­nally chang­ing.

New Yorker car­toon­ist Roz Chast, ac­tress-writer Annabelle Gur­witch and nov­el­ist Julie Schu­macher were the fi­nal­ists an­nounced Mon­day by or­ga­niz­ers of the US$5,000 prize.

Chast was cited for her graphic memoir about her par­ents, “Can’t We Talk About Some­thing More Pleas­ant?” Gur­witch was in­cluded for her es­say col­lec­tion “I See You Made An Ef­fort.” Schu­macher was nom­i­nated for the aca­demic satire, told in letters, called “Dear Com­mit­tee Mem­bers.”

“The fi­nal­ists share more than their gen­der in com­mon — they are also all above the age of 50,” said awards judge Sloane Crosley, whose book of es­says “I Was Told There’d Be Cake” was a fi­nal­ist in 2009.

“Can we there­fore ex­tract from this short­list, the idea that not only are women funny, but that they get fun­nier as time passes,” Crosley asked.

The award was es­tab­lished in 1996 and was named for late hu­morist James Thurber. Un­til this year, it had only been won by men, in­clud­ing Jon Stewart and David Sedaris.

Crosley said she and fel­low judges Liza Don­nelly and David Gif­fels had no other goal than to honor the year’s fun­ni­est books.

“Se­lect­ing these books was more like bliss­fully driv­ing over the gap,” Crosley said, “turn­ing around once on the other side and think­ing, ‘Well, would you look at that? Isn’t that some­thing?’”


This un­dated im­age re­leased by Thurber House shows New Yorker car­toon­ist Roz Chast, who was named a fi­nal­ist for the Thurber Prize for Amer­i­can Hu­mor on Mon­day, Aug. 24.

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