Judging The Polari Book Prize

In 2016 I won The Polari First Book Prize for The Good Son and it was an incredible experience.

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This year there is a new prize – The Polari Book Prize and I will be one for the judges – check out the information for both below.

“Founded in 2011, The Polari First Book Prize is awarded annually to a writer whose debut book explores the LGBT+ experience, whether in poetry, prose, fiction or non-fiction. The prize is open to writers born or resident in the UK and Ireland.

Previous winners include Fiona Mozley, Saleem Haddad, Paul McVeigh, Kirsty Logan, Diriye Osman, Mari Hannah, John McCullough and James Maker. The Prize is sponsored by leading literary PR consultancy FMcM Associates. Prize money is £1,000.

For 2019, the award-winning LGBT+ literary salon is adding a second prize. The Polari Book Prize will be awarded to a writer at any stage of their publishing career (other than debuts). Writers must identify as LGBT+ or the work must feature LGBT+ themes and characters.

In its inaugural year, The Polari Prize will be sponsored by D H H Literary Agency, with the winner receiving a cheque for £2,000. Entry for the prize includes a submission fee of £25 per title.

Judges for the new prize include critically-acclaimed author Bernardine Evaristo, CEO of the National Centre for Writing Chris Gribble, award-winning author and comedian VG Lee and author and former winner of The Polari First Book Prize Paul McVeigh.

Judges for this year’s Polari First Book Prize are bestselling novelist Kiki Archer, writer and performer Cerys Evans, author and former Head of Literature & Spoken Word at Southbank Centre Rachel Holmes and previous Prize winner John McCullough. Entry is free.

Both panels will be chaired by author and Polari founder Paul Burston.

 

Books for both prize must have been published in English by a writer born or resident in the UK and Ireland. Books must have been published in the 12 months up to February 1, 2019. Self-published works are eligible. Works should be submitted by the publisher, while self-published works should be submitted by the writer with a covering letter explaining why the book was self-published.

The deadline for submissions for both prizes is April 10, 2019. For further information, please email Paul Burston

 

The longlists will announced on June 10 and the shortlists on July 26.

The winners will be revealed in October 2019 as part of the London Literature Festival at the Southbank Centre.

Winners will be offered headline slots at future Polari events.

 

Terms & conditions

 

Entry for The Polari First Book Prize is free.

Entry for The Polari Book Prize is £25.

 

Any eligible book that is entered for the Prize shall not qualify unless its publisher/author agrees:

 

a. that in the case of The Polari Book Prize, the publisher/author will contribute a submission fee of £25 per title. This payment is to be made promptly within seven days by BACS.

 

b. to provide a short bio and high resolution author photo for each book submitted – no later than May 31.

 

c. to invite longlisted authors to the public shortlist event on July 26 at the Southbank Centre and shortlisted authors to the award ceremony at the London Literature Festival in October, also at the Southbank Centre (date TBC). Publishers/authors will be responsible for travel costs and will do their best to ensure attendance.

 

d. that if an entered book should be longlisted, the publisher will obtain permission from the copyright holder and agree to broadcast, record and/or make available a downloadable audio and/or text file extract, to be used for publicity purposes on the website, mobile site and any other partner websites or platforms, and to inform the Society of Authors of the copyright credit to be used.

 

e. that if an entered book should be shortlisted, the publisher will endeavour to facilitate recorded interviews/readings with the author to be used by the Polari Prize on either web or mobile platforms to promote the Prize.

 

f. that if an entered book should be shortlisted, the publisher will do their best to ensure the author’s attendance at the Prize award ceremony.

Eligibility for The Polari First Book Prize

 

a. The prize is open to any writer whose first book explores the LGBT+ experience, whether in poetry, prose, fiction or non-fiction.

b. Writers must be born or resident in the UK and Ireland.

 

Eligibility for The Polari Book Prize

 

a. Any full length novel, novella, short story collection, memoir, biography or book of poetry written in English by a writer born or resident in the UK and Ireland is eligible.

 

b. Writers must either identify as LGBT+ or explore LGBT+ subjects, themes and characters in the work submitted. Books by LGBT+ writers writing in all genres are actively encouraged, whether they feature LGBT+ characters or not.

 

c. All entries must be submitted in print form. Where books exist only in e-book format, a bound printed copy will be accepted. E-books or PDFs will not be accepted.

 

d. All entries must be first published as a print edition in the United Kingdom or Ireland between 2 February 2018 and 1 February 2019,

but may have been previously published outside the UK. Titles with simultaneous UK / US publications within this timeframe are eligible.

 

e. Self-published books are eligible for the Prize. Submission must include a covering letter explaining why the work was self-published.

 

f. Authors / publishers are reminded that it is their responsibility to ensure that all submitted titles meet all other requirements for the prize.

Submissions

 

There is no limit on the number of eligible titles entered by any one publisher.

The following steps should be taken for titles to be considered:

 

a. By April 5, 2019 Publishers should contact the chair of judges via email expressing their intention to submit.(In the case of the Polari Prize, the submission fee of £25 per title will then be sent via BACS and the judges’ addresses will be forwarded for submission.)

 

b. By April 10, 2019 Publishers should ensure that all books have been received by the judges.

 

25–27 JAN 2018, #BRITLITBERLIN

Writing Gender – Sexuality, Feminism and Masculinity

#BRITLITBERLIN, 25 – 27 JANUARY 2018

Registration is now open for the 33rd British Council Literature Seminar. Professor Bernardine Evaristo MBE will chair the seminar which this year will focus will be on gender diversity in contemporary UK writing.

Authors include: Juno Dawson, Kerry Hudson, Sabrina Mahfouz, Nick Makoha , Monique Roffey and me!

I hope to see some of you there.

More info…

#BritLitBerlin 2018 – in Bernardine Evaristo’s words…

“The 2018 seminar will be an exploration of some of the ways in which British writers are exploring gender and sexuality in the twenty-first century. We will look at the current conversations around gender identity that have been gaining ground in the mainstream recently, including the challenge to the social construction of gender binaries. As the spectrum and categories of transgender identities and LGBTQ+ sexualities continue to revolutionise how we define ourselves as humans, we will examine how this is being played out in literature. At the same time feminism has recently enjoyed a rebirth and gone mainstream. The post-feminist era is over and young women, in particular, are taking ownership of Fourth Wave Feminism, a shift as individualised as each proponent. We will ask how this is being addressed by writers of fiction and poetry, whose work appears to subscribe to a range of feminist ideas or ideals. We will ask how we can create literature that is complex and nuanced, while also being consciously political. As notions of masculinity and femininity are called into question, subverted, rejected and expanded, we will examine the decisions we make that informs our literature in this regard. Who and what do we write about? What fictional characters do we create, and why? What are the self-imposed limits that determine whether or how we write across gender and sexuality. And what are our responsibilities as writers when addressing these issues. Finally, what are the expectations imposed upon us by the reading public and the publishing industry to write from a perspective that correlates to our (cis) gender? (Bernardine Evaristo)”