Angela Chadwick and Poetry Society Member Andrew McMillan have been announced as the winners of the 2019 Polari Prizes, celebrating work that explores the LGBT experience. Chadwick’s highly acclaimed, dystopian thriller XX picked up the Polari First Book Prize for best debut whilst McMillan’s intimate poetry collection, Playtime, scooped the inaugural Polari Prize, beating other shortlisted authors including Kate Bradbury, Patrick Gale and Sarah Moss.
The winners were announced by judges Cerys Evans, John McCullough, Bernadine Evaristo and VG Lee at a ceremony held at the Southbank Centre as part of the London Literature Festival.
Chadwick’s debut follows the story of two women who take part in a ground-breaking clinical trial that enables two women to have a female baby. Commenting on the book, judge and author Rachel Holmes called it “an exquisitely plotted page-turner.” Whilst fellow judge Cerys Evans described it as “an essential read for our times.”
Playtime is the much-anticipated follow-up to McMillan’s debut collection Physical, shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize and winner of the Guardian First Book Award. Judge and Booker-winning novelist Bernadine Evaristo said of McMillan “he is exploring coming of age, masculinity and sexuality in ways that move and surprise. His poetic voice is completely natural and free, with no pretence or attempts to obfuscate meaning, yet the work has emotional complexity, power and depth.”
Fellow judge Paul McVeigh described Playtime as “beautiful, courageously honest and disarmingly vulnerable. Playtime does what the best writing does, articulates unflinchingly what it is to be human.”
Judges for the 2019 Polari First Book prize are bestselling novelist Kiki Archer; writer and performer Cerys Evans; author and former Head of Literature & Spoken Word at Southbank Centre Rachel Holmes; and poet and former Polari First Book Prize winner John McCullough.
Judges for the new prize include Booker prize-winning novelist Bernardine Evaristo, CEO of the National Centre for Writing Chris Gribble, award-winning author and performer VG Lee, and playwright and former winner of The Polari First Book Prize Paul McVeigh.
The chair for both prizes is author and founder Paul Burston.
The Polari First Book Prize is sponsored by award-winning arts communications company FMcM Associates, with the winner receiving a cheque for £1,000. The Polari Prize is sponsored by D H H Literary Agency, with the winner receiving a cheque for £2,000.
23 October 2019