Andrew McMillan on longlist for Polari Prize

Andrew McMillan credit Urszula Soltys
Andrew McMillan photo: Urszula Soltys

The longlists for The Polari Prize and Polari First Book Prize have been announced, with Poetry Society Member Andrew McMillan among the contenders alongside fellow poets Richard Scott and Sophia Blackwell.

Now in its ninth year, the Prize recognises writers whose work explores the LGBT experience, whether in poetry, prose, fiction or non-fiction. New to 2019, The Polari Prize will award established authors, while the Polari First Book Prize will continue to champion work by new writers.

The Polari First Book Prize 2019 longlist is:

  • The House on Half Moon Street – Alex Reeve (Raven)
  • XX – Angela Chadwick (Dialogue Books)
  • The Unexpected Love Objects of Dunya Noor – Rana Haddad (Hoopoe)
  • Soho – Richard Scott (Faber & Faber)
  • Attend – West Camel (Orenda Books)
  • Disbanded Kingdom – Polis Loizou (Cloud Lodge)
  • Not Just A Tomboy – Caspar J Baldwin (Jessica Kingsley Publishers)
  • Next Lesson – Chris Woodley
  • Queer Sex – Juno Roche (Jessica Kingsley Publishers)
  • Out of the Woods – Luke Turner (Orion)
  • Visceral – RJ Arkhipov (Zuleika)
  • Yes You Are Trans Enough – Mia Violet (Jessica Kingsley Publishers)

The Polari Prize 2019 longlist is:

  • Drapetomania – John R Gordon (Team Angelica)
  • The Other Woman – Sophia Blackwell (Burning Eye)
  • Take Nothing With You – Patrick Gale (Headline)
  • The Lion Tamer Who Lost – Louise Beech (Orenda Books)
  • A Simple Scale – David Llewellyn (Seren)
  • Making Oscar Wilde – Michéle Mendelsshon (Oxford University Press)
  • Louis & Louise – Julie Cohen (Orion)
  • Playtime – Andrew McMillan (Penguin)
  • Prodigal – Charles Lambert (Gallic)
  • The Bumblebee Flies Anyway – Kate Bradbury (Bloomsbury)
  • Ghost Wall – Sarah Moss (Granta)
  • The AQI – David Tait (Smith / Doorstop)

Announcing the names of the 24 writers in contention for this year’s awards, author, founder and Chair of Judges, Paul Burston said: “The books on this year’s longlists celebrate LGBT lives in their many varieties. At a time when reactionary forces are on the rise and political babbles won many years ago are being fought all over again, books that tell the truth about who we really are serve a powerful purpose. Stories about trans lives and gender identities feature heavily. There are also books about the changing landscape of our collective experiences, from gay shame to equal marriage. Together these longlists represent the very best in emerging and established LGBT literary talent today.”

Judges for the 2019 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 critically-acclaimed author 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 shortlists will be announced on July 26th at a special Polari Literary Salon hosted at the Southbank Centre. The winner will be announced in October at the London Literature Festival.

Founded in 2011, The Polari First Book Prize is awarded annually to a writer whose debut book explores the LGBT+ experience, whether in poetry, prose, fiction or non-fiction. The prize is open to writers born or resident in the UK and Ireland.

Previous winners include Fiona Mozley, Saleem Haddad, Paul McVeigh, Kirsty Logan, Diriye Osman, Mari Hannah, John McCullough and James Maker. The Prize is sponsored by leading literary PR consultancy FMcM Associates. Prize money is £1,000.

For 2019, the award-winning LGBT+ literary salon has added a second prize. The Polari Book Prize will be awarded to a writer at any stage of their publishing career (other than debuts). Writers must identify as LGBT+ or the work must feature LGBT+ themes and characters.

In its inaugural year, The Polari Prize is sponsored by D H H Literary Agency, with the winner receiving a cheque for £2,000.​

Winners will be offered headline slots at future Polari events.

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11 June 2019