June 22, 2015
Novelist Alexander McCall Smith wins a literary prize… and a pig
by Claire Kelley
Alexander McCall-Smith, the novel and author of the bestselling No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series won the 2015 Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize, an award in the U.K. for humorous literature, for his latest book called Fatty O’Leary’s Dinner Party, a book about an American’s trip to Ireland. Announced at the annual Hay Festival held in Wales in May, the prize is given by Bollinger, a company that produces sparkling wine in the Champagne region of France, and Everyman’s Library, an imprint of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group at Penguin Random House.
Traditionally, the award comes with a locally bred Gloucestershire Old Spot pig that is named after the winning novel, so this year the pig will be named Fatty O’Leary’s Dinner Party—the title of McCall-Smith’s book.
“I won’t be taking the prize home, that’s the different from many literary prizes,” explained McCall-Smith in an interview with the BBC. “This one stays on the farm, where I hope he has a very happy existence, named after the book. The pig will be called Fatty O’Leary’s Dinner Party, which of course is a slightly awkward name for a pig because it implies a certain destiny, however let’s not talk about that.
The award, which has been won in previous years by authors like Will Self, Ian McEwan, Terry Pratchett, and Gary Shteyngart (the first American to win the prize), seemed particularly appropriate this year because McCall-Smith was formerly part-owner of a small pig farm on the west coast of Scotland.
Claire Kelley is a the former Director of Library and Academic Marketing.