Winterson, Black and O'Connor make Polari Prize longlist

Winterson, Black and O'Connor make Polari Prize longlist

This year's Polari Prize longlist sees titles from Jeanette Winterson, Dustin Lance Black and Joseph O'Connor in the running for the £2,000 award, while Amrou Al-Kadhi and Sara Collins will be among those competing for the £1,000 Polari First Book Prize.

Now in its 10th year, the Polari Prize recognises work by LGBTQ+ authors, and writing which explores the LGBTQ+ experience. 

Longlisted for this year's Polari Prize are Mama’s Boy: A Story from Our Americas by Dustin Lance Black (John Murray); In At The Deep End by Kate Davies (The Borough Press); Blue Wallpaper by Robert Hamberger (Waterloo Press); In Nearby Bushes by Kei Miller (Carcanet); Reckless Paper Birds by John McCullough (Penned In The Margins); Trans Power: Your Own Gender by Juno Roche (Jessica Kingsley Publishers); Frankissstein: A Love Story by Jeanette Winterson (Vintage);Things We Say in the Dark by Kirsty Logan (Harvill Secker); Heartstopper by Alice Oseman (Hodder Children’s Books); The Other Mother: A Wickedly Honest Parenting Tale for Every Kind of Family by Jen Brister (Square Peg); Shadowplay by Joseph O’Connor (Harvill & Secker) and This Brutal House by Niven Govinden (Dialogue Books . 

Judges for the Polari Prize are the inaugural prize winner Andrew McMillan, who won the 2019 award for his poetry collection Playtime, alongside Suzi Feay, Chris Gribble, and V G Lee. 

Launched in 2011, the Polari First Book Prize awards £1,000 to a debut writer. Featured on this year's longlist is Unicorn: The Memoir of a Muslim Drag Queen by Amrou Al-Kadhi (Fourth Estate); Tell Me I’m Forgiven: The Story of Forgotten Stars Gwen Farrar and Norah Blaney by Alison Child (Tollington); Queer Intentions: A Personal Journey through LGBTQ+ Culture by Amelia Abraham (Picador); Surge by Jay Bernard (Chatto & Windus); Sensible Footwear: A Girl’s Guide—a graphic guide to lesbian and queer history 1950-2020 by Kate Charlesworth (Myriad Editions); Flèche by Mary Jean Chan (Faber); The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney by Okechukwu Nzelu (Dialogue Books); Diary of a Drag Queen by Crystal Rasmussen (Ebury Press); Salt Slow by Julia Armfield (Picador); The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins (Penguin); A Love Story for Bewildered Girls by Emma Morgan (Penguin) and Death Magazine by Matthew Haigh (Salt). 

The debut prize will be judged by Angela Chadwick, who won in 2019 for her dystopian thriller XX, alongside Rachel Holmes, Cerys Evans, and Keith Jarrett.

Paul Burston, founder of the prize and chair of the judging panels, said: “This year’s extraordinary longlists bring together an astonishingly rich selection of books that are wide-ranging in form and experience. After 10 years of championing LGBTQ+ books, it’s heartening to see such a diversity of voices from a variety of cultural backgrounds, with many genders and genres represented. The judges were impressed with the quality and variety of this year’s entries and we all agree that this year’s longlists reflect the ethos of the awards and the overall standard of submissions.”

The shortlist will be announced on 31st July.