A graphic novel about ice cream wars in an English coastal town has won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Award for Comedic Fiction.

Matthew Dooley’s Flake is the first graphic novel to ever win the award. He is going to work “in the spirit” of Jeeves and Wooster creator PG Wodehouse. It has been won by “true comic book gems” in the past, including Marina Lewycka’s A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian and Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre.

Ice cool … one side of Flake. Photo: Matthew Dooley

Set in the fictional little seaside town of Dobbiston, Flake follows the life of iceman Howard, who realizes the downturn in his business is a result of his half-brothers’ efforts to build their own ice empire in the north. West.

With his debut, Dooley, who also works in the lower house of his education department, shortlisted novels, including Jenny Offill’s Weather and Oisin Fagan’s Nobber. After Dooley won the 2016 Observer / Cape / Comica Graphic Short Story Award for a comic strip about a man longing to win Lancashire’s Tallest Milkman competition, he was recognized by the Observer as a cross between Alan Bennett and the Graphic novelist Chris Ware described.

“I don’t think we expected any of us to win a graphic novel, but we were all fascinated by flake,” said judge and publisher David Campbell, while Judge Sindhu Vee called the book “a rare delight: a laughing-out story.” with characters that you want to meet again and again ”.

Dooley, the 21st Wodehouse Award winner, said he was “surprised, overwhelmed and excited” to receive this year’s award. His prizes include a Bollinger Jeroboam and a number of Wodehouse books.

“Flake was released on April 2nd amid a huge, confusing global crisis. It was a very strange experience. Winning the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Award means he has become a stranger in the best possible way, ”said Dooley. “Well, how on earth do you cool such a big bottle of champagne …?”

Matthew Dooley celebrates winning his Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Award with an illustration.Matthew Dooley celebrates winning his Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Award with an illustration. Illustration: Matthew Dooley

Usually the winner of the Wodehouse is also presented at the Hay Festival with a pig named after its winning title. However, organizers said that “given the current situation where no physical pig is allowed,” Dooley has drawn his own interpretation of what may have been there.