PolarI BOOK prize

Amrou Al-Kadhi and Kate Davies win 2020 Polari Prizes  

Amrou Al-Kadhi and Kate Davies have tonight (Oct 15) been announced as the winners of the 2020 Polari Prizes, the UK’s only award celebrating literature that explores the LGBTQ+ experience.

 

Al-Kadhi becomes the 10th winner of the Polari First Book Prize, established in 2011, for their remarkably honest, funny and moving memoir Life As A Unicorn (Fourth Estate), whilst Kate Davies scooped the Polari Prize for non-debut talent for her frank and funny novel In At The Deep End (Borough Press).

 

The winners were announced in a digital ceremony in association with the Southbank Centre, hosted by author and founder Paul Burston who described this year’s winning titles as “exceptionally good reads - original, genre-defying, hugely entertaining and unapologetically queer.”

Al-Kadhi’s memoir Life as a Unicorn is an honest, heart-breaking and often hilarious account of  the author’s journey from god-fearing Muslim boy enraptured with their mother, to a vocal, queer drag queen estranged from their family. Commenting on the winner, the 2020 judges said that Life as a Unicorn offered a “unique perspective at the intersection of gender, race and sexuality whilst being highly emotive and deeply moving.” It becomes the 10th winner of the Polari First Book Prize following in the footsteps of former winners including Fiona Mozley, Kirsty Logan, Paul McVeigh and Mari Hannah.

Davies’ In At The Deep End, a frank and funny novel exploring sex, love and self-understanding, triumphed against work by authors including Dustin Lance Black, Juno Roche, Niven Govinden and Robert Hamberger. Announcing the winner, poet and judge Andrew McMillan described it as an “open, generous, bold and unashamedly commercial novel that deals quite rarely with lesbian love, lesbian sex and lesbian eroticism.”

Judges for the First Book Prize are Angela Chadwick, who won in 2019 for her dystopian thriller XX, alongside Rachel Holmes, Cerys Evans, and Keith Jarrett. The winner receives a cheque for £1,000 from prize sponsors FMcM Associates.

Judges for the Polari Prize are inaugural prize winner Andrew McMillan, who won the 2019 award for his intimate poetry collection Playtime, alongside Suzi Feay, Chris Gribble, and VG Lee. The winner receives a cheque for £2,000 from prize sponsors D H H Literary Agency.

Both prize panels are chaired by founder, journalist and author Paul Burston.

 

The Polari First Book Prize 2020 shortlist : 

 

Queer Intentions: A Personal Journey through LGBTQ+ Culture - Amelia Abraham


Life As A Unicorn - A Journey From Shame to Pride and Everything In Between - Amrou 
Al-Kadhi 


 

Sensible Footwear: A Girl’s Guide - Kate Charlesworth


 

Tell Me I’m Forgiven: The Story of Forgotten Stars Gwen Farrar and Norah Blaney - 
Alison Child  

The Confessions of Frannie Langton - Sara Collins 

The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney - Okechukwu Nzelu 


The Polari Prize 2020 shortlist : 

Mama’s Boy: A Story from Our Americas - Dustin Lance Black 

 

In At The Deep End - Kate Davies  

This Brutal House - Niven Govinden 

 

Blue Wallpaper - Robert Hamberger 

Trans Power: Own Your Gender - Juno Roche 

 

Things We Say in the Dark - Kirsty Logan 

 

Judges for the First Book Prize are Angela Chadwick, who won in 2019 for her dystopian thriller XX, alongside Rachel Holmes, Cerys Evans, and Keith Jarrett. 

Judges for the Polari Prize are inaugural prize winner Andrew McMillan, who won the 2019 award for his intimate poetry collection Playtime, alongside Suzi Feay, Chris Gribble, and VG Lee. 

Both prize panels are chaired by founder, journalist and author Paul Burston. 

The Polari First Book Prize is sponsored by award-winning arts communications company FMcM Associates, with the winner receiving a cheque for £1,000. The submission fee is £15.

 

The Polari Prize is sponsored by D H H Literary Agency, with the winner receiving a cheque for £2,000. The submission fee is £25.

Writers must be born or based in the UK and Ireland.

 

NOTES TO EDITORS:

About the Polari First Book Prize

• The Polari First Book Prize was launched in 2011.

Previous winners include –

Angela Chadwick (XX)

Fiona Mozley (Elmet)

Saleem Haddad (Guapa)

Paul McVeigh (The Good Son)

Kirsty Logan (The Rental Heart)

Diriye Osman (Fairytales for Lost Children)

Mari Hannah (The Murder Wall)

John McCullough (The Frost Fairs)

James Maker (Autofellatio)

About the Polari Prize

• The Polari Prize was established in 2019 and awards an overall Book of the Year. It is open to writers at any stage of their career (except debuts). The 2019 prize was won by Andrew McMillan (Playtime).

• The Polari Prize is sponsored by D H H Literary Agency, with the winner receiving a cheque for £2,000.

For all media enquiries please contact Ashton Bainbridge at FMcM Associates - 0207 405 7422 / ashtonb@fmcm.co.uk

PAST SHORTLISTS

2019 

 

POLARI FIRST BOOK PRIZE 

 

 

XX - Angela Chadwick 

 

The House on Half Moon Street - Alex Reeve 

The Unexpected Love Objects of Dunya Noor - Rana Haddad  

 

Soho - Richard Scott  

 

Attend - West Camel

 

 

 

POLARI PRIZE

 

 

Playtime - Andrew McMillan

 

Take Nothing With You - Patrick Gale 

 

A Simple Scale - David Llewellyn

 

Prodigal - Charles Lambert

 

Ghost Wall - Sarah Moss

 

 

 

POLARI FIRST BOOK PRIZE 

 

 

2018

 

 

Elmet - Fiona Mozley 

 

Mussolini’s Island - Sarah Day 

 

Little Gold - Allie Rogers 

 

Trans Mission - Alex Bertie 

 

Pansy Boy - Paul Harfleet

 

Carnivore - Jonathan Lyon 

 

2017

 

Guapa - Saleem Haddad 

 

We Go Around In The Night And Are Consumed By Fire - Jules Grant 

 

Straight Jacket - Matthew Todd

 

Jerusalem Ablaze - Orlando Ortega-Medina 

Expecting - Chitra Ramaswamy

 

Vegetarian Tigers of Paradise - Crystal Jeans

 

2016 

 

The Good Son - Paul McVeigh 

 

Physical - Andrew McMillan

 

Blood Relatives - Stevan Alcock

Trans - Juliet Jacques

 

Different for Girls -  Jacquie Lawrence

 

Sugar and Snails - Anne Goodwin 

 

2015

The Rental Heart - Kirsty Logan 

 

Self Portrait with The Happiness - David Tait

 

Straight Expectations - Julie Bindel 

 

Everything Must Go - LaJohn Joseph 

 

The Informant - Susan Wilkins

 

The Gift of Looking Closely - Al Brooks  

 

2014 

 

Fairytales for Lost Children -  Diriye Osman 

 

The Rubbish Lesbian - Sarah Westwood 

 

Petite Mort - Beatrice Hitchman 

God's Other Children - Vernal W. Scott

 

I Am Nobody's Nigger - Dean Atta

 

2013

 

The Murder Wall - Mari Hannah 

 

The Tale of Raw Head & Bloody Bones - Jack Wolf 

 

Catching Bullets - Memoirs of a Bond Fan - Mark O’Connell

 

Tony Hogan Bought Me An Icecream Float Before He Stole My Ma -  Kerry Hudson 

 

The Sitar - Rebecca Idris 

 

2012

 

 

The Frost Fairs - John McCullogh 

 

Becoming Nancy - Terry Ronald 

 

Exit Through The Wound - North Morgan  

 

Modern Love - Max Wallis 

 

Grrl Alex - Alex Drummond

 

2011 

 

 

Autofellatio - James Maker 

 

Love, Hope & High Heels - Clare Campbell 

 

Homo Jihad - Timothy Graves 

 

Julian Corkle is a Filthy Liar - DJ Connell 

 

London Triptych - Jonathan Kemp

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