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Funny books are often overlooked. Attention often goes to “serious literature” – the great American novels or the heartbreaking coming-of-age stories of the world. Although there are awards for humor books, such as the Mark Twain Book Awards or the much-missed Roald Dahl Funny Prize, they are not as prestigious as the Booker Prize or the Women’s Prize; and while funny books can be nominated for the most prestigious awards, that’s rare. While there has been some debate over whether books that win prestigious awards can be considered funny, the fact remains that books whose main purpose is comedy are less likely to be funny. be considered for top prizes than their literary counterparts. Add to that the tedious and pervasive problem of sexism, and even the funniest female writers are even less likely to be recognized.
Some steps have been taken to address this issue, such as the creation of the Comedy Women in Print Prize; However, there are plenty of funny female writers out there, some already popular, some lesser known. In fiction and non-fiction, memoirs and essays, women writers have used wit and humor to explore serious topics, tell a great story, or simply make people laugh. Here’s a selection of the funniest female writers, across a range of different genres, and a suggestion of some of their best books to read.
If you like your humor so dark the light can barely escape it, and you’re not put off by a little (or a lot) of gore, CJ Skuse’s books are a fantastic choice. The Sweetpea series follows Rhiannon, a completely unrepentant and vicious serial killer. While Rhiannon mostly kills really bad people, she’s not as tenacious for that rule as Dexter, and some of her victims absolutely don’t deserve their fate – but Skuse brings such wit and humor to the worldview. from Rhiannon that you can’t help but root for her. Skuse is a very funny writer, and her books are full of quick twists that thriller readers will love.
It’s hard to say which of Roxane Gay’s writings to recommend – because honestly everyone should read them all – but bad feminist is a great starting point for anyone unfamiliar with Gay’s work. A collection of essays on a wide variety of topics, from female friendships to competitive Scrabble, bad feminist deals with serious subjects (including sexual assault and eating disorders), but also shines with Gay’s unmistakable wit and humor.
All the foregoing
Juno Dawson is a brilliant YA author, deftly balancing humor with the deadly serious aspects of teenage life. Her novel Clean looks at addiction, while Meat Market considers the exploitation that young models can face in the course of their work; However, All the foregoing is my pick as one of Dawson’s best examples of undercutting funny with sadness. In this book, new town girl Toria meets a group of new friends and negotiates love, loss and local activism – but Dawson rarely lets us go more than a few pages without belly laughs, with believable and fun interactions between friends. .
Suruthi Bala and Hannah Maguire
in the act
You might not expect this kind of reading in a list of the funniest female writers. True crime isn’t usually the funniest genre, and for good reason – however, Bala and Maguire, hosts of a popular podcast (also named in the act), have always directed their jokes directly at perpetrators and other deserving targets, never at victims or survivors of crime. Their first book is an in-depth look at the psychology behind killers, cults and cannibals, and is a fascinating and witty read for any true crime fan.
Will my cat eat my eyeballs?
Mortician, author and podcaster Caitlin Doughty has dedicated her life to demystifying death and advocating for the acceptance of death. His work has always taken a fresh and fun approach to serious subject matter, but I would particularly recommend Will my cat eat my eyeballs? in which Doughty answers death-related questions posed by children. This book takes away the fear and mystery of one of life’s inevitabilities, and is encouraging and reassuring as well as funny.
The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls
Mona Eltahawy is a brave and furious feminist writer and activist, skewering patriarchal hypocrisy and oppression with her words in her newsletters, on Twitter, and in her books. The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls describes the need for women and girls to “sin” by embracing anger, lust, pride, and all the other “deadly sins” that patriarchy has denied them, and her writing is as witty as it is sharp and insightful. Without laughing out loud, Eltahawy’s work approaches feminism and activism with a deep note of humor, laughing at the ridicule of patriarchal structures and boundaries.
If you like a romantic comedy, you must read The split. In Laura Kay’s sweet and funny novel, Ally, following a breakup with her girlfriend Emily, returns on a whim to her childhood home and takes her and Emily’s cat. As she adjusts to life with her dad, Ally reconnects with an old friend, Jeremy, and the two vow to win back their exes…by running a half marathon. However, when Ally meets Jo, the beautiful and athletic organizer of her local running club, she begins to wonder if getting back together with Emily is what she really wants. Both Ally and Jeremy are unfortunate, goofy, lovable characters that novel readers will love.
Although many health conditions are more widely discussed than before, some are still taboo, one of them being incontinence. In PMSL, Luce Brett writes about her own experiences with urinary incontinence, dismantling the culture of silence around the condition with wit and humor. Funny writing from a place of experience can sometimes be the best way to dismantle the stigma, and Brett’s account of coping with incontinence at a young age is candid, thoughtful and often hilarious.
You can’t touch my hair
You can’t touch my hair is an upcoming collection of amusing political and personal essays by comedian and writer Phoebe Robinson. Robinson skewers societal racism with humor and wit, examining casting calls, stereotypes about musical preferences, and the endless requests she receives from white people who want to touch her hair. Fans of Robinson’s comedy will probably have pre-ordered these books already, but even if you’re not a stand-up fan, it’s fun and essential reading – and you can always pick up other books from him, Please don’t sit on my bed in your outerwear and It’s all trash, but it’s okaywhile you wait.
Anita and me
To complete this list of the funniest female writers, Meera Syal has had a brilliant career as a funny writer, actor, and brilliant person. Part of the team behind the TV hit Gracious goodness meshe is also a playwright and novelist. Anita and me is her first novel, partly based on her own experiences as a British Asian in the UK, and although the book deals with racism, from microaggressions to violence, there are also plenty of hilarious moments.
While these books from the funniest writers are the perfect fun additions to your shelves, there are plenty of other hilarious reads out there. Fantasy fans can try 15 of the best fun fantasy books. For a fun twist on upcoming releases, check out Am I the A**hole? 2022 book releases as Reddit posts.