Polari shortlist announced
Judging is currently taking place on the second, annual Polari First Book Prize – which was launched by the organisers of London’s literary gay salon, Polari. The prize was initiated to highlight and reward a first book that “explores the queer experience”. It is open to any work of fiction or non-fiction, prose or poetry, published by an author or resident in the UK.
A long list was announced earlier in the year, but this has now been whittled down to five finalists – as featured below. The winner will be announced at Polari’s fifth birthday party on Monday 26 November, with the winner receiving a cheque for £1,000. The Polari Book Prize is sponsored by Square Peg Media, publishers of Out In The City and g3 magazines.
Paul Burston, chair of the judges, said, “This is a really strong short list which reflects the diversity of LGBT literary voices. These five writers tackle a wide variety of themes and subjects through a range of different genres. The one thing they have in common is that they each offer humour and insight. The judges would like to congratulate the five shortlisted writers and would also like to thank Linda Riley of Square Peg Media for her generous support in celebrating the inventiveness, distinctiveness and excellence of the very best of queer writing.”
The Polari Prize shortlist 2012:
The Frost Fairs
By John McCullogh (Salt)
A collection of poems from Jon McCullogh, which are both global an historical in their scope – travelling from from ancient Alexandria to twenty-first century bars and council estates. The collection explores the many different forms of love, from modern transatlantic relationships to hidden gay and cross-gendered lives from the past.
John McCullough was born in Watford in 1978. His poetry has appeared in publications including Poetry London, The Rialto, The Guardian, Magma and London Magazine.
Ey Up and Away!
Growing Up in Nuneaton, a Town in the Wild West Midlands
By Vicky Ryder (Wandering Star Press)
This short, humorous book charts the life of a young girl growing up in Nuneaton during the 1950s and 1960s. Writer VG Lee described it as having “pitch perfect dialogue and prose… Vicky Ryder has that special quality in a writer; the ability to inject an element of poignancy into her humour that makes the reader care as well as laugh out loud.”
Vicky Ryder was born in Nuneaton, Warwickshire in 1953 into a family of miners and engineering workers. She now lives in Hackney, London.
By Terry Ronald (Transworld)
The debut novel from Terry Ronald is a fabulous and warmly evocative tale about a teenage boy in the late 70s. David is forced to confront issues around his sexuality when he is cast to play the role of Nancy in a school production of Oliver! – and subsequently develops an enormous crush on fellow cast member Maxie, captain of the school football team. The book paints a rich and comic portrait of growing up gay in the late 70s in East Dulwich, against a backdrop of Abba, Blondie and the emerging Two Tone music scene.
Exit Through The Wound
By North Morgan (Limehouse Books)
Wealthy, privileged Maine Hudson has a high tolerance for pharmaceuticals and a low tolerance for everything and everyone else. This includes his Greek parents, who bankroll his glorious isolation in London, and the model boyfriend of the American girl that he had decided to fall in love with.
Described by one Amazon reviewer as “a nihilistic account of a spoilt, selfish and world-expecting man in what can best be described as a quarter-life crisis”, Exit Through The Wound is nevertheless an entertaining and addictive read that is reminiscent of the early work of Bret Easton Ellis.
North Morgan was born in Greece, before moving to London. He is the creator of popular blog, London Preppy.
By Max Wallis (Flap)
This slim volume of poetry by Max Wallis traces the year-long course of a love affair and all its constituent parts: sex and sensuality, longing and loneliness, desire and disappointment, heady beginnings and inevitable endings.
Widely published in anthologies, magazines and journals, Max Wallis has found recognition early. Between October 2010 and March 2011 he took part in the Barbican Centre's prestigious Young Poet Scheme and proved himself as agile on stage as his work is on the page. He is currently studying for a Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Manchester where he is working on a debut novel.
Posted: 25 September 2012