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2011 Thurber Prize finalists: Mike Birbiglia, David Rakoff and Rick Reilly

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The Thurber House has announced its finalists for the annual Thurber Prize for American Humor, and the trio represents a wide spectrum of comedic writing, although two of them share a propensity for telling stories on public radio's This American Life, while one has a longtime history as a sportswriter for Sports Illustrated and now ESPN.

The 2011 finalists are:

  • Mike Birbiglia – Sleepwalk with Me and Other Painfully True Stories
  • David Rakoff – Half Empty
  • Rick Reilly – Sports from Hell: My Search for the World’s Dumbest Competition

The winner will be announced on Monday, Oct. 3 at the Algonquin Hotel in New York City, with the winner receiving $5,000 and performing at is the annual December Thurber Birthday Gala.

Named for the late cartoonist and author James Thurber, the Thurber Prize has been awarded annually since 1997 to recognize humor writing in the United States, specifically authors of books published in the prior year.

Last year's award went to Steve Hely (a writer for The Office and previous writer for 30 Rock, The Late Show with David Letterman and American Dad) for his debut novel, How I Became a Famous Novelist.

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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