Official website of award-winning LGBTQ+ literary salon 



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 end in October 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.

NOT - Due to Covid-19 many events are taking place online.


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, Must Okwonga, 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

“Lively, funny and inspiring – a gay-themed salon of interest to anyone remotely interested in literature, whatever their sexual bent” – Patrick Gale


Coming up

Wed Jan 13 - Polari Live Online 7pm. £5.

With former Polari Prize winner and Booker nominee Fiona Mozley and debut author Mohsin Zaidi.

Thur Jan 28 - Polari Live Online 7pm. £5.

With artist and writer Jason Ford and actor, author and Booker nominee Sophie Ward.

Wed Feb 3 - Polari at Herts Libraries 7pm. £3.

With Juno Roche, PJ Samuels and Joelle Taylor.

Thur Feb 11 - Is The Gay Novel Dead? 5.30pm. Free.

Guest lecture by author and Polari founder Paul Burston for Insights NCL.

Thur Feb 25 - Polari Live Online 7pm. £5. 

With Stella Duffy and Niven Govinden.


Thur March 4 - Polari Live Online 7pm. £5.


With Steven Appleby and Alex Reeve. 


Wed March 24 - Creative Writing Workshop at Huddersfield Literature Festival 7pm.

With Paul Burston and Karen McLeod.

Thur March 25 - Polari at Huddersfield Literature Festival 7pm. Free.

With Armou Al-Kadhi, Paul Burston and Kate Davies.

Thur April 8 - Polari Live Online 7pm. £5.

With Elizabeth Chakrabarty, Nikita Gill and Musa Okwonga.

Thur May 6 - Polari Live Online 7pm. £5. 

With Sophia Blackwell, Salena Godden and Polis Loizou.

Wed May 19 - Polari In Heaven 7pm. £12.

With Ian Elmslie, Alexis Gregory, VG Lee, PJ Samuels and Joelle Taylor.


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



For enquiries, please contact

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Jake Arnott

Polari at Southbank