Polari First Book Prize, reveals 2017 longlist

Besi Besemar June 15, 2017

Polari Literary Salon announces largest ever LGBT+ literary tour to celebrate 10th anniversary.

The longlist for the Polari First Book Prize was announced last week at the Polari Literary Salon in London’s Southbank Centre.

Now in its seventh year, the Prize is awarded annually to a writer whose first book explores the LGBT experience, whether in poetry, prose, fiction or non-fiction.

The Polari First Book Prize 2017 longlist is:

♦ Guapa Saleem Haddad (Europa Editions UK)

♦ Expecting Chitra Ramaswamy (Saraband)

♦ Love Both Ways Martin Patrick (Austin McCauley)

♦ We Go Around In The Night And Are Consumed By Fire Jules Grant (Myriad)

♦ Straight Jacket Matthew Todd (Bantam)

♦ Jerusalem Ablaze Orlando Ortega-Medina (Cloud Lodge)

♦ The Chemsex Monologues Patrick Cash (Oberon Books)

♦ Letters I Never Sent You Paula Varjack (Burning Eye)

♦ A Monster by Violet Laura Wake (Urbane Publications)

♦ Rufius Sarah Walton (Barbican Press)

♦ Threads Nathan Evans (Incandescent)

♦ The Vegetarian Tigers of Paradise Crystal Jeans (Honno)

The twelve-strong longlist brings together an exceptional collection of drama, poetry, memoir and fiction.

From Kuwaiti-born Haddad’s depiction of gay life in a post-Arab Spring dictatorship, to Matthew Todd’s ground-breaking investigation of contemporary gay culture; a pacey female gang thriller by barrister-turned-author Jules Grant, to Chitra Ramaswamy’s pregnancy memoir, a fresh perspective on the most extraordinary and ordinary of experiences.

Paul Burston
Paul Burston

Chair of judges Paul Burston, said: “This is a really strong, diverse long list. From novels and short stories to memoir, monologues, poetry and political calls to arms, it demonstrates the wealth of literary talent our community continues to produce and reflects the many challenges LGBT+ people still face in today’s society.

As we approach the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in UK, it is an important reminder of the role literature has to play in championing voices from the community and new work exploring the LGBT+ experience.”

Judges for the 2017 prize include author, journalist and host of Polari Literary Salon, chair Paul Burston; Rachel Holmes, author and former Head of Literature & Spoken Word at the Southbank; literary critic, Suzi Feay; author and comedian, VG Lee; and playwright, actor and producer, Alexis Gregory.

The shortlist of up to 6 titles will be announced on Monday July 31, 2017 at a special Polari Literary Salon hosted at the Southbank Centre.

This will coincide with a bumper series of events organised by the multi award-winning salon, as it celebrates 10 years of championing LGBT+ voices in literature, with the largest ever LGBT+ literary tour undertaken in the UK.

The 16-date tour will start at Bradford Literature Festival on July 7 and will move on to a special event at Hull Pride/City of Culture on July 27 marking the anniversary of The Sexual Offences Act 1967.