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And the winner of the Gloucestershire Old Spot pig is...

Byline: Claire Hill

FIRST-TIME novelist Paul Torday was yesterday named as the winner of the eighth Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize.

The author, pictured left, was presented with a Gloucestershire Old Spot pig and a jeroboam of Bollinger champagne at the Guardian Hay Festival to mark his victory.

The two-year-old sow, originally called Princess, was renamed Salmon Fishing in the Yemen after Torday's winning novel.

The 60-year-old author said that the award came as a shock to him.

He said, "I am delighted, honoured and very surprised to have won this prize. I couldn't be more pleased that my first novel has had this recognition from the judges.

Previous winners of the prize include best-selling novels Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre, Marina Lewycka's A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian and Jonathan Coe's The Rotter's Club.

Awarding Torday the prize, the judges, who included broadcaster James Naughtie and Hay Festival director Peter Florence, said the novel was "a wonderfully engaging and extraordinary tale of love, fly fishing and political spin".

Torday treated the judges to a novel that was poignant and hugely entertaining in equal measure from years as a keen fisherman and travelling in the Middle East.

The short-listed authors for the award were Marina Lewycka's Two Caravans, Howard Jacobson's Kalooki Nights and David Nobbs' Cupid's Dart.

The prize is given to the best comic novel published in the previous 12 months.

Torday himself is already working on his second novel, called Bordeaux, which is a darkly comic tale of a man who drinks himself to death.

Spotted @ Hay

Alan Yentob sitting in the Clive James lecture seeming more interested in adapting his notes on a talk about the BBC, ITV and digital television. Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs David Miliband was spotted making friends with children outside an event.
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:May 29, 2007
Words:305
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