In England: The Polari Prize’s 2023 Longlists

In News by Porter Anderson

The Polari Prize program for UK and Irish books relative to LGBTQ themes is to announce its shortlists in September, winners in November.

Titles longlisted for the 2023 main Polari Prize

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

‘A Wide Variety of Perspectives’
With a shortlist date set for September 27 and a winners’ event date at the British Library on November 24, the Polari Prizes program’s longlists this year are for the main Polari Prize and for a debut work, the Polari First Book Prize.

If you recall there being a new children’s and YA prize in last year’s competition, you’re not mistaken. The company says that the third prize—the one for younger readers’ content—is on a biennial schedule and will return in 2024.

The program’s organizers describe this as “the UK and Ireland’s only dedicated prize for LGBTQ literature,” and an unusual range of writings are eligible for these two prizes, including memoir, poetry, historical fiction, and thrillers.

The program is sponsored by FMcM, a literary PR consultancy, for the debut award, and by the DHH Literary Agency for the main prize. The winner of the debut award, established in 2011, receives a purse of £1,000 (US$1,257). The winner of the main prize, established in 2019, receives £2,000 (US$2,514).

Each of the two categories operative this year has 12 longlisted titles from a mix of independent presses and major publishers.

Polari Prize 2023 ‘First Book’ Longlist
  • Love from the Pink Palace by Jill Nalder (Hachette / Wildfire)
  • A Visible Man by Edward Enninful (Bloomsbury)
  • The Whale Tattoo by Jon Ransom (Muswell Press)
  • Whatever Happened to Queer Happiness? by Kevin Brazil (Influx Press)
  • Rising of the Black Sheep by Livia Kojo Alour ​(Polari Press)
  • The New Life by Tom Crewe (Penguin Random House / Chatto & Windus)
  • None of the Above by Travis Alabanza (Canongate Books)
  • Orpheus Builds a Girl by Heather Parry (Gallic Books)
  • In Her Jaws by Rosamund Taylor (Banshee Press)
  • Is This Love? by CE Riley (Profile Books / Serpent’s Tail)
  • No Country for Girls by Emma Styles (Hachette / Little, Brown / Sphere)
  • Some Integrity by Padraig Regan (Carcanet Press)
Polari Prize 2023 Longlist
  • Fire Island by Jack Parlett (Granta Books)
  • Roam by Juno Roche (Hachette / Dialogue Books)
  • Other People Manage by Ellen Hawley (Swift Press)
  • All Down Darkness Wide by Seán Hewitt (Penguin Random House / Jonathan Cape)
  • Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart (Pan Macmillan / Picador)
  • Mother’s Boy by Patrick Gale (Hachette / Tinder Press)
  • The Schoolhouse by Sophie Ward (Hachette / Little, Brown / Corsair)
  • Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield (Pan Macmillan / Picador)
  • Rookie by Caroline Bird (Carcanet Press)
  • Cells by Gavin McCrea (Scribe)
  • ScreenAge by Fenton Bailey (Penguin Random House / Ebury Press)
  • Here Again Now by Okechukwu Nzelu (Hachette / Dialogue Books)

The jury this year comprises the program’s founder, Paul Burston, with VG Lee, Suzi Feay, Chris Gribble, and Joelle Taylor.

In a prepared statement, Burston is quoted, saying, “This year’s Polari Prize longlists demonstrate a diverse range of LGBTQ literary talent, writing across many genres and from a wide variety of perspectives.

“The volume and quality of submissions was extremely high this year, and the judges really had their work cut out. But these are longlists we can all be proud of. At a time when LGBTQ people are under attack, our stories matter more than ever.”

Titles longlisted for the 2023 Polari ‘First Book’ Prize

More from Publishing Perspectives on publishing and book awards is here, more on the United Kingdom’s market is here, and more on LGBTQ issues and publishing is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.