Polari has been awarded a grant from Arts Council England’s Grants for the Arts, to help 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 until February 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.

Submissions for this year’s Prize are now open - see Polari Prize for details.


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.

Polari has also appeared at Aye Write, the Hepworth Gallery, Huddersfield Literature Festival, Homotopia, Manchester Literature Festival, the Science Museum and more. 

Authors, poets 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, Alexis Gregory, Saleem Haddad, Mari Hannah, Philip Hensher, Celia Imrie, Juliet Jacques, 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

events currently on hold due to the coronavirus

Polari Up North -

Wed Mar 25

Polari at York Lit Fest -

Thur Mar 26 

Polari with Philip Hensher - Fri Mar 27  

Unless otherwise stated, events are held at RFH, Southbank Centre


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



For enquiries, please contact paulburston@btinternet.com

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