News story

May 2019

Champagne Bollinger and the World’s Leading Festival of Ideas

Champagne Bollinger has become the Official Champagne of the Hay Festival Wales. From 23rd May to 2nd June the World’s literati descended on Hay on Wye for the festival’s 32nd edition. Flocks of award-winning writers gathered to launch new works, global policy makers, pioneers and innovators debated solutions to the biggest issues of our time, from the rise of populism to the climate crisis.

32nd Hay Festival Wales

The festival also saw the prize giving for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction. Established in 2000, the prize is awarded to the novel deemed to best capture the comic spirit of the late PG Wodehouse. This year the prize was won by Nina Stibbe for her pitch-perfect vintage comedy about love, lust and social angst at the dental surgery. Stibbe joins 19 previous winners including Helen Fielding, Hannah Rothschild, Howard Jacobson, Terry Pratchett and Will Self.

After a discussion of her book Reasons to be Cheerful Nina was presented with a special rollover prize of two locally-bred Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs, newly named Reasons and Cheerful, and a methuselah of Bollinger Special Cuvée.

Nina Stibbe with her Gloucester Old Spot pig

Peter Florence, director of Hay Festival, said: “The writers of comic fiction are astonishingly gifted. They turn phrases, create characters to love, and offer a hotline to truth. Comedy can be a weapon to power too, and we need it today more than ever. For all of these reasons it is a joy to celebrate the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize at our Festival in May. We have been delighted by all the winners over the years.”

The Hay Festival

Victoria Carfantan, Director of Champagne Bollinger UK, said: “We are very proud of our long-standing relationship supporting the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction, and we are delighted to partner this year with Hay Festival Wales as Official Champagne provider. It is an important occasion to continue supporting the most talented names in comic fiction, and we are delighted to offer our congratulations to Nina Stibbe as this year’s winner.”

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