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Polari Prize 2019: Award longlist celebrates ‘powerful purpose’ of LGBTQ+ stories

The longlists for The Polari Prize and Polari First Book Prize were announced last night at London’s Southbank Centre.

Now in its ninth year, the Prize recognises writers whose work explores the LGBTQ+ experience, whether in poetry, prose, fiction or non-fiction.

New to 2019, The Polari Prize will award established authors, while the Polari First Book Prize will continue to champion work by new writers.

Among those nominated for the First Book Prize include ‘Queer Sex’ by Juno Roche, ‘Soho’ by Richard Scott, and Caspar Baldwin with ‘Not Just a Tomboy’.

Speaking to QWEERIST last year, Baldwin said the book was created after he “recognised a clear need to improve the representation of trans masculine people in the media.”

Those nominated for the Polari Prize include Sophia Blackwell with ‘The Other Woman’, Andrew McMillian for ‘Playtime’, and ‘The Lion Tamer Who Lost’ by Louise Beech.

Announcing the names of the 24 writers in contention for this year’s awards, author, founder and Chair of Judges, Paul Burston said: “The books on this year’s longlists celebrate LGBT lives in their many varieties.

“At a time when reactionary forces are on the rise and political battles won many years ago are being fought all over again, books that tell the truth about who we really are serve a powerful purpose.

“Stories about trans lives and gender identities feature heavily. There are also books about the changing landscape of our collective experiences, from gay shame to equal marriage.

“Together these longlists represent the very best in emerging and established LGBT literary talent today.”

The full longlist for The Polari First Book Prize 2019:

  • The House on Half Moon Street – Alex Reeve (Raven)
  • XX – Angela Chadwick (Dialogue Books)
  • The Unexpected Love Objects of Dunya Noor – Rana Haddad (Hoopoe)
  • Soho – Richard Scott (Faber & Faber)
  • Attend – West Camel (Orenda Books)
  • Disbanded Kingdom – Polis Loizou (Cloud Lodge)
  • Not Just A Tomboy – Caspar J Baldwin (Jessica Kingsley Publishers)
  • Next Lesson – Chris Woodley
  • Queer Sex – Juno Roche (Jessica Kingsley Publishers)
  • Out of the Woods – Luke Turner (Orion)
  • Visceral – RJ Arkhipov (Zuleika)
  • Yes You Are Trans Enough – Mia Violet (Jessica Kingsley Publishers)

The full longlist for The Polari Prize 2019:

  • Drapetomania – John R Gordon (Team Angelica)
  • The Other Woman – Sophia Blackwell (Burning Eye)
  • Take Nothing With You – Patrick Gale (Headline)
  • The Lion Tamer Who Lost – Louise Beech (Orenda Books)
  • A Simple Scale – David Llewellyn (Seren)
  • Making Oscar Wilde – Michéle Mendelsshon (Oxford University Press)
  • Louis & Louise – Julie Cohen (Orion)
  • Playtime – Andrew McMillan (Penguin)
  • Prodigal – Charles Lambert (Gallic)
  • The Bumblebee Flies Anyway – Kate Bradbury (Bloomsbury)
  • Ghost Wall – Sarah Moss (Granta)
  • The AQI – David Tait (Smith / Doorstop)

Judges for the 2019 First Book prize are bestselling novelist Kiki Archer; writer and performer Cerys Evans; author and former Head of Literature & Spoken Word at Southbank Centre Rachel Holmes; and poet and former Polari First Book Prize winner John McCullough.

Judges for the new prize include critically-acclaimed author Bernardine Evaristo, CEO of the National Centre for Writing Chris Gribble, award-winning author and performer VG Lee, and playwright and former winner of The Polari First Book Prize Paul McVeigh.

The shortlists will be announced on July 26th at a special Polari Literary Salon hosted at the Southbank Centre.

The Polari winners will be announced in October at the London Literature Festival.

Written by QWEERIST editor

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