Polari First Book Prize 2016 opens submissions

Submissions are now open for this year’s Polari First Book Prize, which celebrates the very best debut books that explore the LGBT experience, whether through poetry, prose, fiction or non-fiction. Deadline for submissions is 1 May, 2016.

Books must have been published in English by a writer born or resident in the UK. Books must have been published in the 12 months up to 1 February 2016. Self-published works in both print and digital formats are also eligible. Works should be submitted by the publisher, while self-published works should be submitted together with a letter explaining why the book was self-published.

Now into its sixth year, the longlist will be announced at the Southbank Centre on Wednesday 1 June, followed by the shortlist announcement on Thursday 28 July.

Judges for the 2016 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 writer and editor Alex Hopkins.

Last year’s winner was Glasgow-based author Kirsty Logan with her critically acclaimed debut short story collection, The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales, with shortlisted titles including Straight Expectations by Julie Bindel; The Gift of Looking Closely by Al Brookes; Everything Must Go by LaJohn Joseph; Self-portrait with The Happiness by David Tait; and The Informant by Susan Wilkins.

The prize enjoys a strategic partnership with WH Smiths, who support the shortlisted books and winner throughout their stores UK-wide. Meanwhile, award winners are offered headline slots in the Polari Literary Salon event series, which includes an expansive national tour, in addition to events with Huddersfield Literature festival, Bradford Literature Festival and Mayfest Word Festival in Aberdeen.

Chair of the judges Paul Burston, said: “The 2015 shortlist and winner demonstrated the enormous scope of the prize and represented the diverse and unique voices at the heart of the LGBT experience. We couldn’t be more pleased to open submissions for the 2016 Polari First Book Prize; each year the prize goes from strength to strength and we are excited to see where this year’s entries take us.”

For further details of how to submit a book for this year’s prize, please email paulburston@btinternet.com