Ian McEwan wins comic fiction award for "Solar"

Author Ian McEwan in a file photo. REUTERS/Peter Jones

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Ian McEwan, renowned for serious literary prose, won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for comic fiction on Tuesday for his novel “Solar.”

David Campbell, judge and publisher of Everyman’s Library, said: “It was an easy, unanimous decision by the judges. This is a brilliantly funny book, by a great writer.”

McEwan’s Solar is about climate change and focuses on the ambitions and self-deceptions of Nobel prize-winning physicist Michael Beard, whose best days are behind him.

The Financial Times said of the book: “It is a stunningly accomplished work, possibly his best yet -- the book does contain a truly shocking surprise -- not that it deals with climate change, but that it is a comedy.”

As well as a case of vintage Bollinger champagne, tradition dictates that the author is also presented with a locally bred Gloucestershire Old Spot pig, named “Solar” after the winning novel.

Previous pigs have been christened with names including “A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian,” “All Fun and Games until Somebody Loses an Eye” and “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.”

The other four nominees this year were Paul Murray (“Skippy Dies”), Tiffany Murray (“Diamond Star Halo”), David Nicholls (“One Day”) and Malcolm Pryce (“From Aberystwyth With Love”).

The prize, Britain’s only award for comic fiction, celebrates the novel of the last 12 months that has best captured the comic spirit of P.G. Wodehouse.

Reporting by Mike Collett-White; Editing by Steve Addison