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The Polari Book Prizes, the UK’s book prizes for emerging and established LGBTQ+ writers, are now open for submissions. 


The prizes are run by Polari literary salon, which is currently touring the UK, showcasing prize winners past and present, together with nominees from the prizes’ 14 year history.

The Polari Prize National Showcase is funded by Arts Council England. For further details, see Events.


This year there are three Polari prizes – for a first book, for the book of the year (excluding debuts), and for a Children’s/YA title. 


This year’s prizes are for books published in the 12 months up to and including February 1, 2024 (24 months in the case of the Children’s & YA Prize)

Authors must be born or based in the UK & Ireland.

Paul Burston, founder of the Polari Literary Salon and Polari Prizes said: “I’m delighted to welcome current prize winners Julia Armfield and Jon Ransom, along with co-chair of Spread The Word Simon Richardson to the judging panels for this year’s awards. We’re also thrilled that the prize for Children’s and YA books returns this year, chaired by author Jodie Lancet-Grant. The Polari Prizes have grown in size and stature in recent years, with a significant increase in the number and varieties of submissions. We can’t wait to see what delights we have in store.”



FMcM Associates sponsors the Polari First Book Prize (£1,000).

DHH Literary Agency sponsors the book of the year Polari Prize (£2,000).

The Children’s & YA Prize has a new sponsor, Ash Literary Agency, which specialises in Children’s and YA books (£1,000).



Polari First Book Prize judges: author Rachel Holmes, author and writing coach Karen McLeod, author Jon Ransom (Polari Prize winner 2023), Co-chair of Spread The Word Simon Richardson and author Paul Burston (chair)


Polari Prize judges: author Julia Armfield (Polari Prize winner 2023), literary critic Suzi Feay, cultural sector leader Chris Gribble, author and comedian VG Lee and author Paul Burston (chair)


Polari Childrens & YA Prize judges: educator Rayyan Aboo, librarian Zoey Dixon, writer Erica Gillingham, author Sam Sedgeman and author Jodie Lancet-Grant (chair)



Deadline / Schedule 

The deadline for submissions is May 6

The long lists will be announced in July.


The shortlists will announced in September.


The winners will be announced on November 29 at The British Library

For further information about submissions, please email - including the name of the prize you wish to enter in the subject field.

Notes to Editors

About The Polari Prize

The Polari Prize is the UK and Ireland’s only dedicated LGBTQ+ book prize, founded by author and activist, Paul Burston. The Polari First Book Prize was launched in 2011. Previous winners include Fiona Mozley, Saleem Haddad, Paul McVeigh, Kirsty Logan, Diriye Osman, John McCullough, Mari Hannah, James Maker, Angela Chadwick, Amrou Al-Kadhi, Mohsin Zaidi, Adam Zmith and Jon Ransom.

The Polari Prize was founded in 2019 and awarded to Andrew McMillan in its inaugural year, to Kate Davies in 2020, Diana Souhami in 2021, Joelle Taylor in 2022 and Julia Armfield in 2023.

The Children’s & YA Book Prize was established in 2022 and won by Terry Eagleton and James Mayhew.

The awards have been covered in a wide range of publications including Metro, the Bookseller, Book Brunch, the Guardian, the i, Irish Independent, Press Association, Gay Times, Winq, BBC Radio 4, The London Magazine, Wasafiri and elsewhere. For further details on the prize, please visit:


About Paul Burston

Paul Burston is an author, activist and founder of Polari Literary Salon and Polari Prizes. A founding editor of Attitude magazine, he has written for many publications including the Guardian, Time Out, the Times and Sunday Times. He is the author of five non-fiction books, the editor of two short story collections and the author of six novels. 

His memoir We Can Be Heroes was published by Little A in June 2023 to rave reviews from across the industry including from Russell T. Davies and Bernardine Evaristo. ES Magazine called it ‘probably the gay book of the year’. In 2016, he featured in the British Council’s Global List of ‘33 visionary people promoting freedom equality and LGBT rights around the world.’

About Jodie Lancet-Grant

Jodie Lancet-Grant is the author of the nationally acclaimed 2021 picture book The Pirate Mums, which, read by Sue Perkins, was the first ever Cbeebies bedtime story to feature a family with two mums. Her writing has appeared in publications including The Times, the Independent and the Telegraph and she is a passionate advocate of LGBTQ+ representation in children’s culture. She is Chair of Judges for the Children’s and Young Adults category of the Polari Prize, the UK’s only prize for queer writing. Jodie also works as Communications Director at Pan Macmillan on high-profile non-fiction books for Bluebird. The Marvellous Doctors for Magical Creatures is her second picture book, published with Oxford University Press.

For all media enquiries please contact Ned Green or Hope Ndaba at FMcM Associates at or


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