The Washington Post

David Letterman a finalist for the Thurber Prize

(Courtesy of Blue Rider Press) (Courtesy of Blue Rider Press)

Late Show host David Letterman is among the finalists for the 30th annual Thurber Prize, which calls itself “the nation’s highest recognition of the art of humor writing.” Letterman and New Yorker writer-illustrator Bruce McCall have been nominated for “This Land Was Made for You and Me (But Mostly Me)” (Blue Rider), their satiric tour of America’s richest vacation homes.

The other two finalists are:

(Courtesy of Narrative Library) (Courtesy of Narrative Library)

* Liza Donnelly for “Women on Men” (Narrative Library), a collection of cartoons and writing about dating, sex and marriage.

* John Kenney for “Truth in Advertising” (Touchstone), a novel about the New York advertising industry. In his Washington Post review, John Wilwol praised the story’s “quick-witted, wry sendup of corporate culture” and noted that it “also produces a few strikingly dark moments.”

(Courtesy of Touchstone) (Courtesy of Touchstone)

Is it a sign of our grim literary times that only one novel managed to make the finalist list? For a nation of great comics, we are not, apparently, a nation of great comic novelists.

But regardless of who ultimately gets the $5,000 prize on Sept. 30, the clear winner is the New Yorker. McCall, Donnelly and Kenney all contribute illustrations, cartoons and humor pieces to the magazine.

The Thurber Prize is given in honor of New Yorker writer and cartoonist James Thurber. The awards ceremony in New York will be hosted by Dan Zevin, who won last year’s prize for “Dan Gets a Mini-Van.”

The judges of this year’s prize are John Searles, Meg Wolitzer and Henry Alford.

Ron Charles is the editor of The Washington Post's Book World. For a dozen years, he enjoyed teaching American literature and critical theory in the Midwest, but finally switched to journalism when he realized that if he graded one more paper, he'd go crazy.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
How to make Sean Brock's 'Heritage' cornbread
New limbs for Pakistani soldiers
The signature dish of Charleston, S.C.
Play Videos
Why seasonal allergies make you miserable
John Lewis, 'Marv the Barb' and the politics of barber shops
What you need to know about filming the police
Play Videos
The Post taste tests Pizza Hut's new hot dog pizza
5 tips for using your thermostat
Michael Bolton's cinematic serenade to Detroit
Play Videos
Full disclosure: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1 ghoul
Pandas, from birth to milk to mom
The signature drink of New Orleans
Next Story
Elahe Izadi · August 14, 2014

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.