Polari First Book Prize 2016 shortlist revealed

The shortlist for the Polari First Book Prize was announced last night (Thursday 28 July, 2016) at the Polari Literary Salon in London’s Southbank Centre by founder and chair of judges Paul Burston.

Now in its sixth 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 six shortlisted titles are:

Blood Relatives, Stevan Alcock (Fourth Estate)
Sugar and Snails, Anne Goodwin (Inspired Quill)
Trans, Juliet Jacques (Verso)
Different for Girls, Jacquie Lawrence (Zitebooks)
Physical, Andrew McMillan (Jonathan Cape)
The Good Son, Paul McVeigh (Salt)

This year’s shortlist draws a spotlight on the increasing breadth and diversity of works focusing on the LGBT experience and demonstrates the remarkable candour and breadth of talent of the LGBT literary community.

Fiction features strongly – from Anne Goodwin’s poignant midlife coming-of-age (Sugar and Snails) and Jacquie Lawrence’s exploration of love through the entangled lives of six women (Different for Girls) to Paul McVeigh’s funny and frightening story of a young boy navigating the troubles of 1980s Northern Ireland (The Good Son) and Stevan Alcock’s unforgettable tale of teenage life set to the backdrop of the Yorkshire Ripper murders (Blood Relatives). The shortlist is rounded-off by Juliet Jacques poignant memoir of the transgender experience (Trans) and a raw yet moving collection of poems written in celebration of the masculine form (Physical).

“From an exceptionally strong longlist, we are delighted to present a shortlist of books which successfully highlight the range of experiences and talent in the LGBT literary community. Our strongest ever. Since we began this year’s judging process the world has turned on its head. At a time when it has never been more important to draw our similarities over our differences, each book chosen gives us all insights into other worlds; a sense of what it’s like to walk in another’s shoes. Choosing a winner will be incredibly challenging.”
— Paul Burston, Polari Founder and Chair of Judges

The 2016 prize is judged by a panel comprising of chair Paul Burston, author, journalist and host of Polari literary salon; Rachel Holmes, author and former Head of Literature & Spoken Word at the Southbank; Suzi Feay, literary critic; VG Lee, author and comedian and Alex Hopkins, writer and editor.

The announcement also marks the pre-launch of Polari on Tour a UK-wide series events taking London’s award-winning Polari Literary Salon to major cities from September to November.

For further information on the tour, including full dates and event line-ups visit: www.polariliterarysalon.co.uk.

The overall winner will be revealed at the London Literature Festival on Friday 7 October, 2016 at the Southbank Centre.

Polari First Book Prize partners include WH Smiths Travel and Square Peg Media.