Thurber Prize for American Humor

The Thurber Prize for American Humor, named after American humorist James Thurber, recognizes outstanding contributions in humor writing. The prize is given out by the Thurber House. It was first awarded irregularly, but since 2004 has been bestowed annually.

 

2013 selection

Dan Gets a Minivan: Life at the Intersection of Dude and Dad

Thurber Prize for American Humor 2013

by Dan Zevin

A coming-of-middle-age tale told with warmth and wit, Dan Gets a Minivan provides the one thing every parent really needs: comic relief. Whether you’re a dude, a dad, or someone who’s married to either,...


2012 selection

Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin: Forty Years of Funny Stuff

Thurber Prize for American Humor 2012

by Calvin Trillin

For at least forty years, Calvin Trillin has committed blatant acts of funniness all over the place—in The New Yorker, in one-man off-Broadway shows, in his “deadline poetry” for The Nation, in comic novels...


2010 selection

How I Became a Famous Novelist

Thurber Prize for American Humor 2010

by Steve Hely

What Pete Tarslaw wants is simple enough: a realistic amount of fame that will open new avenues of sexual opportunity; the kind of financial comfort that will allow him to spend his life pursuing hobbies such...


2009 selection

Lamentations of the Father

Thurber Prize for American Humor 2009

by Ian Frazier

When The Atlantic Monthly celebrated its 150th anniversary by publishing excerpts from the best writing ever to appear in the magazine, in the category of the humorous essay it chose only four pieces—one by...


2008 selection

I Love You, Beth Cooper

Thurber Prize for American Humor 2008

by Larry Doyle

Denis Cooverman wanted to say something really important in his high school graduation speech. So, in front of his 512 classmates and their 3,000 relatives, he announced: "I love you, Beth Cooper."

It would have...


2007 selection

My Lucky Star

Thurber Prize for American Humor 2007

by Joe Keenan

In this hilarious, laser-sharp comedy, the Emmy(-winning writer and producer of "Frasier" sends up Hollywood pretense higher than it's ever been sent before.


2006 selection

The Other Shulman: A Novel

Thurber Prize for American Humor 2006

by Alan Zweibel

Shulman, a chubby, middle-aged stationery-store owner from New Jersey, has always claimed that he’s been gaining and losing the same thirty-five pounds since junior high–and that if you added all of that...


2004 selection

No Way To Treat a First Lady: A Novel

Thurber Prize for American Humor 2004

by Christopher Buckley

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year

Elizabeth Tyler MacMann, the ambitious First Lady of the United States (and known in the tabloids as “Lady Bethmac”), is on trial for the death of her philandering...


2001 selection

Me Talk Pretty One Day

Thurber Prize for American Humor 2001

by David Sedaris

A new collection from David Sedaris is cause for jubilation. His recent move to Paris has inspired hilarious pieces, including Me Talk Pretty One Day, about his attempts to learn French. His family is another...


1997 selection

Coyote V. Acme

Thurber Prize for American Humor 1997

by Ian Frazier

Twenty-two humorous essays on topics ranging from Joseph Stalin's theories of revolutionary stand-up comedy, to a commencement address given by a Satanist college President, to the opening statement of an attorney...