With her comic epistolary novel Dear Committee Members — about a harried professor and his increasingly over-the-top letters of recommendations — Julie Schumacher became the first woman to win the Thurber Prize for American Humor on Monday.
The runners-up for the award, named for humorist James Thurber, were also women: Roz Chast for her memoir Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? and Annabelle Gurwitch for I See You Made an Effort: Compliments, Indignities, and Survival Stories from the Edge.
Schumacher, who lives in St. Paul and is a faculty member in the Creative Writing Program and the Department of English at the University of Minnesota, takes home a $5,000 prize. She appeared earlier this year at the Broward County Library Foundation’s Literary Feast fundraiser and talked to the Miami Herald about her hilarious novel, the hardship of being an adjunct professor and the perils of academia in general.
Previous winners of the award are David Sedaris, Jon Stewart and Calvin Trillin.