Monday 24 June 2019

LGBT literary award receives record number of submissions

The long-list for the 2018 Polari First Book Prize has been unveiled.

Novelist Fiona Mozley’s book Elmet is on the long-list for the Polari First Book Prize 2018 (Man Booker Prize/PA)
Novelist Fiona Mozley’s book Elmet is on the long-list for the Polari First Book Prize 2018 (Man Booker Prize/PA)

By Andrew Arthur, Press Association Entertainment Reporter

The organisers of the Polari First Book Prize have revealed a record number of submissions have been made for this year’s staging of the literary award.

The annual prize, which is presented to a writer whose first book explores the LGBT experience, has received four times the number of entries this year. There has also been a rise in major publishers putting their authors’ work forward for consideration.

Poets and graphic artists are eligible to enter for the award as well as authors of prose, fiction or non-fiction.

The long-list for this year’s award was announced at the Polari Literary Salon at London’s Southbank Centre.

Among the contenders are Irish author Sally Rooney’s acclaimed Conversations with Friends, novelist Fiona Mozley’s Man Booker Prize nominated book Elmet and transgender YouTuber Alex Bertie’s memoir Trans Mission: My Quest To A Beard.

The Duchess of Cornwall (right) with writer Fiona Mozley at the 2017 Man Booker Prize ceremony (Chris Jackson/PA)

Paul Burston, who chairs the judging panel that will decide this year’s winner, reflected on how the burgeoning amount of worthy entries made it difficult to compile the initial list of nominees.

He 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 by women and men, and several trans titles – all of which is reflected in the long-list.

“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.”

The full long-list for the 2018 Polari First Book Prize is as follows:

• Trans Mission: My Quest To A Beard – Alex Bertie (Wren & Rook)
• Through Your Blood – Toby Campion (Burning Eye)
• Mussolini’s Island – Sarah Day (Tinder Press)
• A Marvellous Party – Ian Elmslie (Ignite)
• Good As You: From Prejudice To Pride – 30 Years Of Gay Britain – Paul Flynn (Fourth Estate)
• Pansy Boy – Paul Harfleet (Barbican)
• Carnivore – Jonathan Lyon (HQ)
• Elmet – Fiona Mozley (John Murray)
• Little Gold – Allie Rogers (Legend Press)
• Conversations With Friends – Sally Rooney (Faber)
• Bravado – Scottee (Oberon)
• Is Monogamy Dead? : Rethinking Relationships In The 21st Century – Rosie Wilby (Accent Press)

The current field will be whittled down to as many as six titles, which will be announced on July 24.

The winner will be announced on October 20 at the London Literature Festival.

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