Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction 2023

Words by
Lisa Barnard

24th November 2023

At a time when there is not much to laugh about in the world, it's refreshing to celebrate humour and the comical side of life, especially if you have a glass of Bollinger in your hand. The Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction has crowned its winner for 2023 and the award went to Bob Mortimer for his funny and clever debut novel 'The Satsuma Complex'. SPHERE's Lisa Barnard attended the awards at The Goring Hotel on this glamorous evening of Bollinger Special Cuvee, rib-tickling fiction and... iced pigs

Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize 2023 - Bob Mortimer and pig

Photography by Laurie Fletcher

Bob Mortimer with his winning novel 'The Satsuma Complex' alongside his prize pig named after the book (photo Laurie Fletcher)

While Bollinger may be known for its glamour as the favoured Champagne of James Bond and kings and queens, here it displays an appreciation for quintessential British humour. Now in its 23nd year, the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize is the UK’s longest-running prize for comic fiction and highlights the funniest novel of the past twelve months, best evoking the Wodehouse spirit of witty characters and perfectly-timed comic phrases. Judges this year are Peter Florence (festival producer and co-director of The European Festivals Forest), Pippa Evans (comedian), David Campbell (publisher, Everyman’s Library), Sindhu Vee (comedian), James Naughtie (broadcaster and author), and Justin Albert (Vice President of Hay Festival and Vice Chair, University of Wales). They found Mortimer has this strange ability to keep the reader on the very brink of guffawing for whole chapters at a time.” Mortimer commented with characteristic "I'm really chuffed to have won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction, and what a treat to have an old spot pig named after the book. I still have no idea if I can actually write but this award gives me fresh hope. Cheers!”


Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize 2023 - Bob and Victoria
Victoria Carfantan, Director of Champagne Bollinger and this year's winner, Bob Mortimer

The winner of the prize selected from a shortlist of six titles that vary within the comedy genre. Searching for the novel that most accurately matches with Wodehouse’s witty approach to writing, embedding pages with lovable characters and perfectly timed comic phrases. The lucky winner receives a jeroboam of Bollinger Special Cuvée, a case of Bollinger La Grande Année, the complete set of the Everyman’s Library P.G. Woodhouse Collection and in this case an old spot pig, trotting with the name of ‘The Satsuma Complex’, after the winning novel authored by Bob Mortimer. Victoria Carfantan, Director of Champagne Bollinger, Group Bollinger UK & Global Partnerships, commented: The Satsuma Complex really does seem to tick all the boxes. Funny, clever, and with Bob Mortimer’s very distinctive voice, it’s the perfect literary accompaniment to a good glass of Champagne Bollinger.”

Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize 2023 - Judges
David Campbell of Everyman, Victoria Carfantan of Champagne Bollinger and Justin Albert, Vice President of Hay Festival and Vice Chair, University of Wales

Middlesbrough-born, Bob Mortimer’s novel ‘The Satsuma Complex’ is based around South London following Gary, a legal assistant, on a mission to find his colleague Brendan. Requiring the help of a girl he had met at the pub the night of Brendan’s disappearance, knowing not her name but only the book she was reading that night – ‘The Satsuma Complex’. Described by the Daily Mail as being “stuffed with laugh-out-loud moments”, this joyful novel of love, laughs and mystery seems a worthy winner of the bubbles, books and Babe.

The other 2023 shortlisted titles were: Darling by India Knight; Didn’t Nobody Give a S*** What Happened to Carlotta by James Hannaham; Mother Hens by Sophie McCartney; Murder at Crime Manor by Fergus Craig and Teen Couple Have Fun Outdoors by Aravind Jayan.


Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize 2023 - Bollinger
Guests at the Goring Hotel toasted the winning author with Champagne Bollinger
Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize 2023 - Canapés
Quail egg canapés
Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize 2023 -
Mentzendorff's Alan Montague-Dennis, Victoria Carfantan, Prize Judge Justin Albert and Justin Liddle the MD of Mentzendorff.