In the 18 years that the Thurber Prize for American Humor has been around, only men have won. Calvin Trillin, Ian Frazier, Jon Stewart, David Sedaris. This year, though, all three finalists were women, and the winner, announced last night, was St. Paul writer Julie Schumacher, University of Minnesota professor, and author of the very funny book, "Dear Committee Members."
The novel is a series of letters written by a beleaguered professor (definitely not Schumacher) named Jason Fitger, who is tasked with writing letters of recommendation (known as LORs) for students--mediocre students, terrible students, students he barely knows.
“The LOR has become a rampant absurdity,” Jason writes in one letter. “I haven’t published a novel in six years; instead, I fill my departmental hours casting words of praise into the bureaucratic abyss."
Schumacher is also the author of a novel, "The Body is Water," a collection of stories, "An Explanation for Chaos," and five books for young adults.
The other finalists for the Thurber Prize were New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast, and actress Annabelle Gurwitch.