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Polari First Book Prize 2016 shortlist revealed

29th July 2016

The shortlist for the Polari First Book Prize has been announced by founder and chair of judges Paul Burston. Now in its sixth year, the Prize is awarded annually to a writer whose first book explores the LGBT experience, whether in poetry, prose, fiction or non-fiction. The six shortlisted titles are:

Blood Relatives by Stevan Alcock

Sugar and Snails by Anne Goodwin

Trans by Juliet Jacques

Different for Girls by Jacquie Lawrence

Physical by Andrew McMillan

The Good Son by Paul McVeigh


This year’s shortlist throws a spotlight on the increasing breadth and diversity of works focusing on the LGBT experience and demonstrates the remarkable candour and breadth of talent of the LGBT literary community.

Fiction features strongly – from Anne Goodwin’s poignant midlife coming-of-age (Sugar and Snails) and Jacquie Lawrence’s exploration of love through the entangled lives of six women (Different for Girls) to Paul McVeigh’s funny and frightening story of a young boy navigating the troubles of 1980s Northern Ireland (The Good Son) and Stevan Alcock’s unforgettable tale of teenage life set to the backdrop of the Yorkshire Ripper murders (Blood Relatives). The shortlist is rounded-off by Juliet Jacques' poignant memoir of the transgender experience (Trans) and a raw yet moving collection of poems written in celebration of the masculine form (Physical).

Chair of judges Paul Burston said:  'From an exceptionally strong longlist, we are delighted to present a shortlist of books which successfully highlight the range of experiences and talent in the LGBT literary community. Our strongest ever. Since we began this year’s judging process the world has turned on its head. At a time when it has never been more important to draw our similarities over our differences, each book chosen gives us all insights into other worlds; a sense of what it’s like to walk in another’s shoes. Choosing a winner will be incredibly challenging.'

The 2016 prize is judged by a panel comprising of chair Paul Burston, author, journalist and host of Polari literary salon; Rachel Holmes, author and former Head of Literature & Spoken Word at the Southbank; Suzi Feay, literary critic; VG Lee, author and comedian and Alex Hopkins, writer and editor.

The winner will be announced on 7th October. Last year's winner was Kirsty Logan with The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales.



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Andrew McMillan
The Good Son
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Different for Girls
Jacquie Lawrence
Sugar and Snails
Anne Goodwin

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Blood Relatives
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