Polari First Book Prize 2018 - CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

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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 Tuesday 1 May, 2018.

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 2018. 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 eighth year, the longlist will be announced at the Southbank Centre on Tuesday 26 June, followed by a shortlist announcement on Tuesday 24th July. The final winner will revealed in October.

Last year’s winner was Kuwait-born Saleem Haddad whose debut novel Guapa (Europa Editions UK), exploring gay life in the Arab world, was described by judges as “poetic, politically daring [and] beautifully written.” Former winners also include Paul McVeigh, Kirsty Logan, Diriye Osman, James Maker and Mari Hannah.

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 REGULAR events with Huddersfield Literature Festival, Bradford Literature Festival and in Hastings on the south coast.

First launched in 2011, the prize continues to grow in scale and has been covered in a wide range of publications including Metro, the Guardian, Irish Independent, Press Association, Gay Times, Winq and BBC Radio.

Judges for the 2018 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;  author, performer and writing coach Karen McLeod; author and comedian, VG Lee; and playwright, actor and producer, Alexis Gregory.

Chair of the judges Paul Burston, said: “Thanks to our ongoing touring activities and strong presence at the Southbank Centre, awareness of Polari and The Polari First Book Prize grows year on year. This is reflected in the growing number of submissions as the Prize continues to highlight the diverse range of literary voices within the LGBT+ community.”

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

Notes to editors: 

About the Polari First Book Prize

  • The Polari First Book Prize was launched in 2011 and previous winners include Paul McVeigh, Kirsty Logan, Diriye Osman, James Maker and Mari Hannah.
  • Last year’s shortlisted books were displayed at WH Smiths Travel outlets nationwide, and the prize supported by a Polari national tour, funded by Arts Council England.

Terms and Conditions for WH Smith sales:
1.   All titles bought for sale in WHSmith Travel stores will be purchased at a cost price/discount agreed by publisher and the buyer prior to in store placement.
2. All copies are bought sale or return and are returnable from 3 months after the purchase date.
3. Ideally each title should be stocked at a book distributors (eg: Gardners, Bertrams, Orca Book Services, Turnaround, Central Book Services) which will be able to ship stock direct to retailer.
4.  WHSmith Travel reserve the right to not stock any particular title(s).

About Polari Literary Salon

  • Polari Literary Salon began in 2007 in the upstairs room of a bar in Soho. Events are now held monthly at the Southbank Centre and regularly sell out.

Polari Literary Salon dates confirmed for 2018:

  • 10th March- Polari at WOW Festival, Southbank Centre
  • 9th April- Polari at The Light Lounge (Soho) for London Book & Screen Week
  • 26th June- Polari at Southbank Centre
  • 24th July- Polari at Southbank Centre
  • In 2013, Polari was named ‘LGBT Cultural Event of the Year’ in the Co-op Respect Loved By You Awards.

For all media enquiries please contact Ashton Bainbridge at FMcM Associates on ashtonb@fmcm.co.uk or call 0207 4057422