Until this year, the winners of the annual Thurber Prize for American Humor have been men: Calvin Trillin. Ian Frazier. Jon Stewart. Christopher Buckley. David Sedaris.
This year, finally, someone realized that women are funny, too; all three finalists for this year's prize are women, including the Minnesota writer Julie Schumacher, who was nominated for her very funny academic satire, "Dear Committee Members."
The two other finalists are Roz Chast, who was a finalist for the National Book Award for her graphic memoir about her parents, "Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant," and Annabelle Gurwitch, author of the essay collection, "I See You Made An Effort."
The annual prize was established in 1996 and was named in honor of James Thurber, another extremely funny writer and the author of the comic autobiography, "My Life and Hard Times." Thurber, who grew up in Columbus, Ohio, was a writer for the New Yorker and collaborated at times with E.B White. (Read their parody of sexual self-help books, "Is Sex Necessary?" if you want a laugh--after you read the works of these three finalists.)
Schumacher teaches at the University of Minnesota. She is the author of the novel "The Body is Water," a story collection, and several novels for young adults.
Sloane Crosley, one of the Thurber Prize judges (and herself a finalist in 2009), told the Associated Press, "The finalists share more than their gender in common — they are also all above the age of 50. Can we therefore extract from this shortlist the idea that not only are women funny, but that they get funnier as time passes?"
The prize is $5,000 and will be announced on Sept. 28 in New York.