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The Frost Fairs wins 2012 Polari Prize

28th November 2012 - 11:35am

Poet John McCullough's debut collection The Frost Fairs has won the Polari First Book Prize for 2012, beating off competition from a strong shortlist.

The title was awarded the prize at the Southbank Centre in London and, for the first time, the winner received a GBP 1,000 cheque.

The Frost Fairs, described by the Guardian as a collection packed with 'sensuous lyricism', slang, modern culture and an 'engaging seriousness', tackles love in all its forms, criss-crossing from ancient Alexandria to 21st century bars and council estates.

The Polari Prize is awarded to a first book which explores the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender experience and is open to any work of poetry, prose, fiction or non-fiction published in the UK in English.

Brighton-based McCullough, who teaches creative writing at the Open University, previously won first prize in the Robin Lee Memorial poetry competition 2002 and second prize in the Chroma international writing competition 2008.

Paul Burston, chair of the Polari judges, said the panel was impressed with the 'polish and precision' of McCullough's work.

'The Frost Fairs isn’t a one-note collection, but one that covers many themes and strikes many chords, from modern transatlantic relationships to hidden gay lives from the past. It’s also surprisingly mature for a first book - a debut which doesn’t feel like a debut,' he said.

The Frost Fairs triumphed over a shortlist also comprising Becoming Nancy by Terry Ronald, Exit Through The Wound by North Morgan, Ey Up and Away by Vicky Ryder and Modern Love by Max Wallis.

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