Columbia University School of the Arts Writing Program Assistant Professor Gary Shteyngart is the first American ever to win the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction, for his novel Super Sad True Love Story.
The prize is awarded to a book that "has captured the comic spirit of P. G. Wodehouse," the English novelist and humorist best known for his Jeeves novels. The prize includes a double magnum of champagne, a set of Wodehouse books, a trip to the Hay Festival in Wales where Shteyngart will accept the award, and a pig named after his book.
As reported in The Guardian, "The Gloucestershire Old Spot Super Sad True Love Story joins a herd of bizarrely named swine, from Salmon Fishing in the Yemen to A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian and All Fun and Games Until Somebody Loses an Eye."
Peter Florence, judge and director of the Hay Festival, raved, “Gary Shteyngart’s writing is thrilling. He’s a staggeringly clever satirist who manages to create worlds and people of perfect coherence and outrageous misfortune. This is great literature and it’s wild comedy.”
Shteyngart was selected over British novelists India Knight (Comfort and Joy), Sam Leith (The Coincidence Engine), and Catherine O'Flynn (The News Where You Are), and Indian author Manu Joseph (Serious Men). He joins an illustrious group of previous winners including Man Booker Prize winners Ian McEwan and Howard Jacobson.
Shteyngart is the author of the novels Absurdistan (Random House, 2006), The Russian Debutante's Handbook (Riverhead, 2003), and Super Sad True Love Story (Random House, July 2010). He was chosen as one of The New Yorker's "20 Under 40" fiction writers worth watching in summer 2010. Super Sad True Love Story was selected as a New York Times Notable Book of 2010, one of 10 Best Books of the Year by Michiko Kakutani in The New York Times, and one of the best books of the year by The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, Salon, Slate, and dozens of additional publications. Absurdistan was chosen as one of the ten best books of the year by The New York Times Book Review and Time magazine, as well as a book of the year by The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The San Francisco Chronicle, and many other publications. The Russian Debutante's Handbook won the Stephen Crane Award for First Fiction and the National Jewish Book Award for Fiction, was named a New York Times Notable Book and one of the best debuts of the year by The Guardian (UK). His fiction and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, Esquire, GQ, The New York Times Magazine, and many other publications. His work has been translated into twenty languages.