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.

 

Polari Literary Salon comes to Belfast

Fri 16 June 8pm: Reading at Polari Literary Salon at Sunflower Pub

You catch me reading at The Belfast Book Festival this year as The Polari Literary Salon comes to Belfast for the first time! Polari was founded by author Paul Burston who also founded the Polari First Novel Award which I won last year.

 

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Juliet Jacques, me & Paul Burston at Polari Prize ceremony

 

Paul and author Vg Lee will be flying over and will be reading from their work. Here’s a little but about the Polari  Salon…

London’s award-winning LGBT literary salon. Now in its tenth year, Polari has been showcasing the best in established and emerging LGBT literary talent since 2007. Polari is curated and hosted by author Paul Burston and features a mixture of visiting and local guests.

Polari began in November 2007 in the upstairs room of a bar in Soho. Events are now held monthly at the Southbank Centre and feature the best in established and emerging LGBT literary talent.

“Always fun, always thought-provoking – a guaranteed good night out” – Sarah Waters

“Polari is a unique mix of voices that provokes the strongest responses from its audience – love, laughter, tears, but most of all, thought” – Val McDermid

“London’s most theatrical salon” – The New York Times

Hope to see some of you there.

The Good Son in WHSmith Fresh Talent

Exciting news for me and The Good Son thanks to WHSmith Travel who have chosen me for their Fresh Talent promotion (reported in The Bookseller today). The Good Son will be in all their travel shops in trains stations and airports around the UK. Great news for reaching new audiences.

Special thanks to The Polari Prize (and founder Paul Burston) which, I think, had a lot to do with this.

Here’s what WH Smith had to say in The Bookseller today:

“Polari First Book Prize winner The Good Son (Salt) by Northern Irish author Paul McVeigh, a coming-of-age novel following a young boy growing up during the Troubles in 1980s Belfast, was singled out as “a gem of a novel that blends pathos and humour perfectly through the eyes of its inspired and heroic narrator, Mickey.”

You can read the whole article and find out about the other authors who were chosen, here.

Winner of The Polari Prize
“One of the most engaging protagonists of the year”
Bailey’s Prize-winner Lisa McInerney
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The Good Son makes Polari Prize Shortlist

The Good Son Makes The Polari Prize Shortlist

The Good Son has made The Polari Prize shortlist. Exciting!

You can read all about it here.

The Chair of the judges, Paul Burston, wrote a wonderful article in The Irish Times about Mickey Donnelly that I found very moving.

“There aren’t a great many sexually ambiguous, sassy, 10-year-old Irish narrators in literature. So thank heavens for Mickey Donnelly. From the moment we first meet him, we know that Mickey is a mammy’s boy. But there’s more to it than that. To his older brother Paddy, he’s a “wee gay boy” and “a fucking weirdo”. To the kids who play on the mean streets where he lives, he’s a “fruity boy” who acts “like a girl”. The boys bully him. The girls tease him. Even Mickey’s Aunt Kathleen worries about the way he behaves. “Do you think he’s…” she asks, before Mickey’s mother cuts her off. Not even a doting mammy wants to consider the possibility of her wee boy turning out like that.”

“What emerges from this novel isn’t just a portrait of the outsider as a young Irishman. It’s also a testament to the strength of character required by gay children simply to survive. Mickey may be effeminate but he’s certainly not weak. He’s kind, loving and sometimes an eejit. He’s also cunning and far more courageous than any 10-year-old boy should need to be. He might not have his “man’s voice” yet, but he’s the only one man enough to take care of his mother.”

Read it all here. It’s really special.

 

New Book Cover

Currently shortlisted for The Polari Prize
Chosen as
Brighton’s City Reads 2016
Shortlisted: The Guardian’s
‘Not The Booker’ Prize
Shortlisted:
The Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award
Finalist for The People’s Book Prize
ELLE Magazine
Best Books of 2015