Polari First Book Prize



The shortlist for the Polari First Book Prize was announced tonight (July 24, 2018) at the Polari Literary Salon at London’s Southbank Centre.

Founded by journalist and author Paul Burston, the Prize is awarded annually to a writer whose first book explores the LGBT experience, whether in poetry, prose, fiction or non-fiction.

Now in its eighth year, the Prize is celebrating a record number of submissions in 2018, with

a significant rise in entries from major UK publishers.

The Polari First Book Prize 2018 shortlist is:

  1. Trans Mission: My Quest to a Beard – Alex Bertie (Wren & Rook) 

  2. Mussolini’s Island – Sarah Day (Tinder Press) 

• Pansy Boy - Paul Harfleet (Barbican) 

• Carnivore  - Jonathan Lyon (HQ) 

• Elmet – Fiona Mozley (John Murray)

  1. Little Gold – Allie Rogers (Legend Press)

Judges for the 2018 prize are author, journalist and host of Polari Literary Salon, chair Paul Burston; author and former Head of Literature & Spoken Word at the Southbank, Rachel Holmes; author, performer and writing coach Karen McLeod; author and comedian, VG Lee; and playwright, actor and producer, Alexis Gregory.

The winner will be announced on 20th October 2018 at the London Literature Festival.


Established in 2011, The Polari First Book Prize is for a first book which explores the LGBT experience, in prose or poetry, fiction or non-fiction.

Books must be published in English in the 12 months leading up to the submission date.

Self published books are eligible.

Writers must be born or based in the UK and Ireland.

Previous winners are –

2011 - ‘AutoFellatio’ by James Maker

2012 - ‘The Frost Fairs’ by John McCullough

2013 - ‘The Murder Wall’ by Mari Hannah

2014 - ‘Fairytales for Lost Children’ by Diriye Osman

2015 - ‘The Rental Heart’ by Kirsty Logan

2016 - ‘The Good Son’ by Paul McVeigh

2017 - ‘Guapa’ by Saleem Haddad

Press contact –

Ashton Bainbridge  

FMcM Associates 


0207 4057422