Stella Duffy, Garth Greenwell and Kei Miller are among the names to have been shortlisted for the Green Carnation Prize for LGBTQ writing, alongside David France and Kirsty Logan, who have been shortlisted for the second time.
Duffy has been recognised for her 73rd writing credit London Lies Beneath (Virago), which is set in the South London slums of 1912, while Greenwell is on the list for his debut novel What Belongs to You (Picador), which explores loneliness and isolation. The 2014 Forward Prize-winner Miller has been shortlisted for Augustown (Weidenfeld & Nicolson), a story of racism and inequality in Jamica.
France's insider account of the AIDS epidemic, How to Survive a Plague is Picador's second novel on the shortlist, and Logan's tale of queer magical realism A Portable Shelter (Random House) completes the list.
Author and chair of judges John Boyne said: "These five books combine great storytelling with poetic language and authentic voices. Individually, each one has the power to move the reader while collectively they display the extraordinary diversity at play within the literary work of the LGBTQ community. It’s been difficult to narrow all the books down to five; it will be even harder to choose a winner.”
Now in its seventh year, the prize, with the support of bookseller Foyles, seeks to champion the best writing by an LGBTQ author in the UK. "It is a vital recognition and celebration for books as diverse as the community it represents and unified by a common thread: sheer quality of writing", the organisers said.
Simon Savidge, director of the prize, said the shortlist was "diverse" and showed the breadth that LGBTQ writing covers in styles, settings and scope.
Simon Heafield, head of marketing at Foyles, said the bookseller was "hugely proud to partner with the Green Carnation to champion writing by the diverse and flourishing LGBTQ community in the UK".
In 2015 the prize was awarded to Marlon James’ A Brief History of Seven Killings (Oneworld). Upon winning the prize, James said: “Six years ago I wouldn’t have been able to voice that I was LGBT, so to be recognised for that and for work the judges felt was great is fantastic.”
The Green Carnation Prize comes with no money and the award organisers are currently seeking sponsorship. The winner will be revealed at a ceremony at Foyles’ flagship bookshop on 22nd May 2017.
W H Smith Travel is set to hold a promotion of gay literature in 35 of its biggest travel locations in June to mark the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales, The Bookseller reported last week.