The Polari First Book Prize longlist shows that LGBT+ writing in the UK is "growing in scope and confidence,” the prize founder has said.
The award, which is given annually to a writer whose first book explores the LGBT experience, whether in poetry, prose, fiction or non-fiction, received a record number of submissions this year and far more from major publishers, founder Paul Burston said, making "choosing 12 titles from the huge number of submissions difficult" but showing that "LGBT+ writing in the UK is growing in scope and confidence.”
Despite submissions from mainstream publishers rising, those from indie presses continued to dominate the longlist. Revealed at the Polari Literary Salon at London’s Southbank Centre on Tuesday night (26th June), titles by indie publishers to have made the cut are: Through Your Blood by Toby Campion (Burning Eye); A Marvellous Party by Ian Elmslie (Ignite); Pansy Boy by Paul Harfleet (Barbican); Little Gold by Allie Rogers (Legend Press); Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney (Faber); Bravado by Scottee (Oberon) and Is Monogamy Dead?: Rethinking Relationships in the 21st Century by Rosie Wilby (Accent Press).
Rounding out the group from major publishers are Trans Mission: My Quest to a Beard by Alex Bertie (Wren & Rook), Mussolini’s Island by Sarah Day (Tinder Press), Good As You: From Prejudice to Pride- 30 years of Gay Britain by Paul Flynn (Ebury Press), Carnivore by Jonathan Lyon (HQ) and Elmet by Fiona Mozley (John Murray).
Burston, who is the chair of the judges, said: “The judges were impressed at the range and quality of books submitted this year. There were far more submissions from major publishers, with equal numbers of books my women and men, and several trans titles - all of which is reflected in the longlist. There were some books we loved but which sadly didn’t make the final list. Choosing 12 titles from the huge number of submissions was difficult but shows that LGBT+ writing in the UK is growing in scope and confidence.”
Joining Burston on the judging panel are author and former head of literature and spoken word at the Southbank, Rachel Holmes; author, performer and writing coach Karen McLeod; author and comedian, VG Lee; and playwright, actor and producer, Alexis Gregory.
The shortlist of up to six titles will be announced on Tuesday 24th July 2018 at a special Polari Literary Salon hosted at the Southbank Centre. The winner will be announced on 20th October 2018 at the London Literature Festival.