Bloomsbury has scooped two nominations on the Polari 2019 shortlists with titles from indies Faber, Granta and Orenda also up for awards.
Now in its ninth year, the Prize recognises writers whose work explores the LGBT experience, whether in poetry, prose, fiction or non-fiction with the Polari First Book Prize returning and the introduction of the Polari Prize for established authors.
This year's six-strong shortlists, which are dominated by Indies, feature titles from teaching same sex relationships in schools to a trans perspective of Victorian London and a moving wildlife memoir.
Bloomsbury imprint Raven is in the running for the Polari First Book Prize 2019 with The House On Half-Moon Street by Alex Reeve (Raven), which is narrated by trans man Leo Stanhope living Victorian London, while memoir The Bumblebee Flies Anyway by Kate Bradbury (Bloomsbury) made the shortlist for The Polari Prize 2019.
Reeve faces competition from dystopian novel XX by Angela Chadwick (Dialogue Books); Deptford-set Attend by West Camel (Orenda Books)and satirical novel The Unexpected Love Objects of Dunya Noor by Rana Haddad (Hoopoe), which follows 13-year-old Syrian exile Dunya.
Wasafiri New Writing Prize winner Richard Scott makes the cut with Soho (Faber & Faber) and Chris Woodley's play Next Lesson (Aurora Metro Books) is also shortlisted for the First Book Prize.
Commenting on the Polari First Book Prize, judge and former winner John McCullough said: “The four novels, poetry collection and play on this year’s diverse shortlist include a trans perspective on Victorian London, a probing of Syrian sexualities under Assad and a modern magic realist fable. They explore the politics of shame, a world where lesbian couples can conceive without sperm and the teaching of same-sex relationships in schools. Here are six daring books that redefine the boundaries of queer writing.”
1970s tale Take Nothing With You by Patrick Gale (Tinder); novel Prodigal by Charles Lambert (Gallic); gay drama A Simple Scale by David Llewellyn (Seren); childhood-set Playtime by Andrew McMillan (Cape Poetry) and Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss (Granta), which tells the story of a teenage Silvie living in a hut in Northumberland, will go head to head with Bradbury for the Polari Prize.
Commenting on the Polari Prize, author and judge Paul McVeigh said: “What a rich and diverse body of LGBT themed work we had to read for this inaugural Polari Book of the Year. It was hard to select just 6 for this shortlist from work of such high quality.”
Fellow author and judge on the Polari Prize, VG Lee, added: “Six very different and exciting voices make up the shortlist for the Polari Prize, taking us from the English countryside to Soviet Russia and post 9/11 New York, a Brighton garden to music-making in Berwick-on-Tweed, and a teenage rites of passage towards selfhood. Any one of these books is a potential winner because each is perfect in its own right.”
The winner will be announced on 22nd October at the Southbank Centre’s London Literature Festival, in an event headlined by Tracey Thorn.