Graphic novel wins UK’s oldest comic fiction prize

A graphic novel has scooped the UK’s oldest prize for comic fiction.

Flake, by Matthew Dooley, is the first novel in comic-strip format to win the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize For Comic Fiction in its 20-year history.

A story of ice cream wars and sibling rivalry, it is described by judges as “a rare joy”.

Winner Matthew Dooley’s self-portrait (Matthew Dooley/PA)

The winner is given a jeroboam of Bollinger and, in more usual times, a pig named after the winning book at the Hay Festival.

Dooley, 35, said: “Flake was published on 2nd April, amidst a huge, bewildering global crisis. It’s been a very strange experience.

“Winning the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize means it’s just got stranger in the best possible way.

Matthew Dooley’s image of himself with the giant pig usually handed out as a prize (Matthew Dooley/PA)

“I’m surprised, overwhelmed and elated to have won. Now, how on earth do you chill a bottle of champagne that big…?”

Judge David Campbell, publisher of Everyman’s Library, said: “None of us, I think, expected a graphic novel to win, but we were all captivated by Flake.”

The shortlist featured Nobber by Oisin Fagan, Rules For Visiting by Jessica Francis Kane, Weather by Jenny Offill, 46% Better Than Dave by Alastair Puddick, and House Of Trelawney by Hannah Rothschild.

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