Polari has been awarded a grant from Arts Council England’s Grants for the Arts, to fund a major 22 date tour. 

The Polari Prize Tenth Anniversary Tour will showcase writers long and shortlisted for this year’s Polari Prize awards for emerging and established LGBTQ+ literary talent, as well as past winners from the Prize’s ten year history, dating back to 2011. 

The tour will kick off at Huddersfield Literature Festival on March 25 and continue into 2021.

The centrepiece of the tour will be a special event at London’s Southbank Centre, when this year’s Prize winners will be announced as part of London Literature Festival. 

The tour will also include events in Birmingham, Bradford, Canterbury, Edinburgh, Newcastle, York and at London’s legendary nightclub Heaven and gay sauna Sweatbox Soho.


Founded by author Paul Burston, Polari began in 2007 in a bar in Soho. Since 2009, we’ve been based at London’s Southbank Centre. We also tour regularly, funded by Arts Council England.

There’s a brief history of Polari on our YouTube channel HERE 

There’s a brief history of Polari on tour HERE

Writers and performers who’ve appeared at Polari include Adele Anderson, Amrou Al-Kadhi, Penny Arcade, Jake Arnott, Dean Atta, Neil Bartlett, Dustin Lance Black, John Boyne, Russell T Davies, Maureen Duffy, Stella Duffy, Cerys Evans, Bernardine Evaristo, Patrick Gale, Garth Greenwell, Alexis Gregory, Saleem Haddad, Mari Hannah, Philip Hensher, Celia Imrie, Keith Jarrett, Jackie Kay, VG Lee, Kirsty Logan, David McAlmont, John McCullough, Andrew McMillan, Val McDermid, Karen McLeod, Paul McVeigh, Fiona Mozley, Diriye Osman, PJ Samuels, Ali Smith, Joelle Taylor, Tracey Thorn, Paula Varjack and Sarah Waters.

Polari was named Cultural Event of the Year in the Co-op Respect Loved By You Awards 2013.

“Always fun, always thought-provoking – a guaranteed great night out” - Sarah Waters


Coming up

PLEASE NOTE - Due to Covid-19, events are subject to change.

Thur, April 16 - Polari On Sea Online 


Virtual event with Hastings author VG Lee, local poet Dillon Jaxx & former Polari Prize winner John McCullough.

Tue, June 23 - Polari Prize Longlists on YouTube

Our scheduled event at Southbank has been cancelled, but tune in to our YouTube channel to hear this year’s Polari Prize long lists.

Fri, July 31 - Polari Prize Shortlists on YouTube k 

Tune in from 5pm as we announce this year’s Polari Prize shortlists.

Sat, Aug 15 – Summer Festival of Writing. 7pm. 

Webinar discussing Ten Years of the Polari Prize with fellow judge VG Lee and 2019 winner Angela Chadwick. 


"The most exciting literary movement in London... crackling with energy, ideas, excitement"



For enquiries, please contact paulburston@btinternet.com

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