Polari First Book Prize 2017 - Call For 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, 2017.

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 2017. 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 seventh year, the longlist will be announced at the Southbank Centre on Tuesday 6 June, followed by a shortlist announcement on Monday 31 July. The final winner will revealed in October.

Last year’s winner was Belfast-born Paul McVeigh for his debut novel The Good Son. Following the announcement, McVeigh’s publisher recorded a sales spike of 36% for his book. 

“Winning the Polari Prize has been a wonderful experience. It has given me a huge boost as a writer and brought me to the attention of a new and diverse readership for my work.”
— Paul McVeigh, 2016 Winner

The prize enjoys a strategic partnership with WH Smiths Travel, who support the shortlisted books and winner throughout their stores UK-wide. Award winners are also 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 Pride in Hull.

Judges for the 2017 prize will 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; and author and comedian, VG Lee. They will be joined for the first time this year by playwright, actor and producer, Alexis Gregory.

“I’m really excited to be joining the Polari First Book Prize judging panel, getting stuck into the submissions and immersing myself in the work of today’s LGBT+ writers. I think the Prize provides a vital platform for such writers and I’m so pleased to be on board.”
— Alexis Gregory
“2016 saw a large number of high quality entries, reflected through a fantastic shortlist and winner. As the Literary Salon gets ready to celebrate its 10th year in 2017, we are excited to welcome a new series of entries to the prize, which continues to go from strength to strength.”
— Paul Burston, Chair of the judges

For further details of how to submit a book for this year’s prize, please email