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Tuesday 30 April 2024

The Book of Witty Women


Dear friends.  I'm pleased to be on the blog tour to promote a ground breaking book showcasing 15 short by women, introduced by Helen Lederer. 


From tales of a narcoleptic biscuit lover, con artists with a twist, and the accidental death of a hamster; to consequences of accidental gluing, the imagined world of extreme shopping, and the delightfully surreal world of canine dating, these 15 boldly imaginative stories range across a multitude of genres and themes.

Each proves the power of the short story to disarm, tickle or simply entertain.  

The book  features winning and shortlisted stories from the 2023 Comedy Women in Print Short Story Prize. 


It's great to see a collection of short stories which feature both established and up-and-coming writers. What makes the book ground breaking is that it's the first ever anthology dedicated to comedy writing by women authors.

The publicity describes the book as "laugh-out-loud," but it isn't, and if you buy it on this basis, you'll be disappointed.  You'll find some gentle humour in every day situations, plus some more surreal settings for the stories.

The real value of an anthology like this is two fold: it introduces us to new writers who are active with podcasts, plays or other creative pursuits where we can find them,  and it's a moment in time. An anthology freezes the thoughts and attitudes of women in 2023 into one volume. What will people make of the language, for example, in 50 years' time? 

I'll share my two favourite stories.  In You Can't Get Here by J Y Saville,  Ian pretends he's going to the work conference every year but in reality he escapes to the Lake District.  His wife Patty knows it because it's always on the credit card bills, and he takes his binoculars.  But when fire puts a premature end to the conference, and Patty says she will pick him up,  Ian tries to get back to Brighton without Patty getting suspicious.  Much confusion ensues.

I looked up the writer and found that Jacqueline Saville (JY Saville) writes and performs prose and scripts in West Yorkshire, including the podcast sitcom Lee-Ann's Spare Fridays.

In Glue by Clare Shaw, we meet Gillian, a deputy head of 36. She's a Rick Astley fan who goes everywhere with her mother, who is very controlling. But now she wants to go on an eco march- on her own. Somehow she gets glued to a Gary and is bundled into a police van. Then she goes viral. A surreal story of 2 women letting old, unwanted glue finally melt away.

Clare Shaw is a poet and performer, tutor and trainer who's written four poetry collections.

It's worth diving in, there's a lot of female talent in the book and you're bound to find stories which engage you.


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1 comment

  1. This sounds like a great read. I'm always on the lookout for book reviews and recommendations.
    Visiting today from SSPS 308 #29&30


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