Three finalists for this year's Thurber Prize were announced yesterday. The prize is America's highest recognition for the art of humor writing.

Larry Doyle, for I Love You, Beth Cooper
One of this year’s judges, Firoozeh Dumas, herself a former finalist, said: “Clearly Larry Doyle was not the BOMC (“Big Man on Campus” for those of you who have suppressed the Eighties.) Had Larry been cool, he could have never written I Love You, Beth Cooper, a hilarious yet painfully accurate account of high school in all its pimply glory.”

Patricia Marx, for Him Her Him Again The End of Him
As 2008 judge, and former finalist, Robert Kaplow said of Him Her Him Again The End of Him: “...the care and exactness of language itself elevates the story into something more artful than simply a comic novel. There is a real sense of a complicated and contradictory human being, and it infuses every page of the novel.”

Simon Rich, for Ant Farm
Christopher Buckley, a 2008 judge and winner of the prize in 2005, praised Ant Farm “for its youth and freshness and impertinence,” and Jon Stewart, the 2006 winner, called the book “hilarious.”

The Thurber Prize for American Humor was first presented in 1997 to Ian Frazier for his book Coyote vs. Acme. In 1999, the prize went to the editorial staff of the satirical magazine The Onion for Our Dumb Century; in 2001, to David Sedaris, best-selling author of Me Talk Pretty One Day. In 2004, the Prize was made an annual award and was given to Christopher Buckley for his comic novel, No Way to Treat a First Lady. In 2005, it was presented to Jon Stewart, Ben Karlin and David Javerbaum for America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction. Five-time Emmy winner Alan Zweibel won in 2006 for his novel, The Other Shulman, and last year's prize went to former Frasier Executive Producer Joe Keenan for his novel, My Lucky Star.

For more information on the prize and this year's finalists, see the Thurber House website.