Poet Andrew McMillan has been shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize for his debut poetry collection Physical (Jonathan Cape).
The shortlist for the prize, awarded annually to a writer whose first book explores the LGBT experience, was announced this evening (28th July) at the Polari Literary Salon in London’s Southbank Centre by founder and chair of judges Paul Burston.
McMillan, whose "hymns to the male body” have already won The Guardian First Book Award, the Society of Authors’ Somerset Maugham and Eric Gregory awards, and were shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize, is joined on the shortlist by: Yorkshire-born writer and translator Stevan Alcock for Blood Relatives (Fourth Estate); former psychologist Anne Goodwin for Sugar and Snails (Inspired Quill); journalist Juliet Jacques for Trans (Verso), TV producer Jacquie Lawrence for Different for Girls (Zitebooks), and Paul McVeigh for The Good Son (Salt), winner of The McCrea Literary Award 2015.
Organisers said the diversity exemplified by this year’s shortlist was testament to the "remarkable candour and breadth of talent of the LGBT literary community”. Respectively, the list showcases “raw yet moving” poetry (Physical); a tale of teenage life set against the backdrop of the Yorkshire Ripper murders (Blood Relatives); a “midlife coming-of-age” story and portrait of a woman confronting a troubled past (Sugar and Snails); an honest memoir about the transgender experience (Trans); a novel about the “entangled lives” of a group of women in west London (Different for Girls); and a novel about a broken family living in Belfast during the Troubles (The Good Son).
Burston, chair of judges, said: “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.”
Under Burston’s chairmanship, the 2016 prize is judged by a panel comprising of Rachel Holmes, author and former head of literature and spoken word at the Southbank; Suzi Feay, literary critic; VG Lee, author and comedian and Alex Hopkins, writer and editor.
The winner will be revealed at the London Literature Festival at the Southbank Centre on 7th October.