Glasgow-based author Kirsty Logan has won the Polari First Book Prize 2015 for her short story collection, The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales (Salt Publishing).
Now in its fifth year, the Polari First Book Prize celebrates the best debut books exploring the LGBT experience, whether through poetry, prose, fiction or non-fiction.
Logan's collection, announced as the winner at a ceremony on 5th October, prevailed over a shortlist of books traditionally comprising five titles - this year stretched to six due to the strength of submissions - including Straight Expectations by Julie Bindel (Guardian Books); the self-published The Gift of Looking Closely by Al Brookes (Al Brookes); Everything Must Go by La JohnJoseph (Itna Press); Self-portrait with The Happiness by David Tait (Smith Doorstop); and The Informant by Susan Wilkins (Pan).
Already winner of the Scott Prize, The Herald: Book of the Year 2014, Saboteur Award for Best Short Story Collection, and shortlisted for the 2014 Green Carnation Prize, The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales is a lyrical collection of 20 short stories on lust and loss, compiled of radical retellings of classic tales.
Prize judges included author, journalist and host of Polari literary salon, chair Paul Burston; Rachel Holmes, author and former head of literature and spoken word at the Southbank; literary critic Suzi Feay; writer, critic and broadcaster Bidisha; author and comedian VG Lee; and writer and editor Alex Hopkins.
Burston said: “The shortlist for this year’s prize was one of the strongest we’ve ever seen, a great reflection of the breadth and depth of LGBT literature today. However, the judges were enormously impressed with Logan’s command of language and skillful story telling. She writes from a variety of queer perspectives, showing us a range of outsider’s viewpoints. Her characters are compelling, alienated, and trying to find a place themselves in a world with which they are at odds. For a first book The Rental Heart and Other Fairy Tales is remarkably assured. Each tale feels like a work of art in miniature, a controlled experiment in transformative storytelling."