Helen Lederer’s top 5 funny books written by women

Ahead of this year's Comedy Women in Print prize, Helen Lederer gives The Big Issue her top comedy reads by women

The Driver’s Seat 

by Muriel Spark 

In the current climate of dark female comedies, this Spark novel written in 1970 will not disappoint. The bold heroine – Lise – is both unpredictable, rude and dangerous. She leaves her job to find her inner dark side… Hilarious and err… dark.  

Excellent Women 

by Barbara Pym 

Mildred is a ‘spinster’ in a world full of couples. A delicious social comedy set in the 1950s, where Mildred triumphs over convention. This offers a rather ruthless and witty take on the constraints of English society and the beginnings of a new feminism.

How To Be Famous 

by Caitlin Moran 

This is a fast-paced delight. The plot makes good work of pretentiousness, immorality and our obsession with fame. The clever asides and delicious tangents of bad behaviour are a must. A lie-down in a darkened room might be a good idea when it ends.

The Party 

by Elizabeth Day 

This is a rattling tale that starts in a privileged house party and spreads into darker waters. Peppered with beautifully waspish and witty dialogue, the satirical element is both delicious and disturbing. Top page turner.   

Conversations with Friends 

by Sally Rooney 

A compelling and richly drawn love story about two young women from different worlds who study in Dublin. The wry narrative is full of tight and witty observations about human weakness. A treat.  

Helen Lederer is creator of the Comedy Women in Print Prize. The deadline for entries is February 28. For full details visit comedywomeninprint.co.uk