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The Polari Prizes, the UK’s only book prizes for emerging and established LGBTQ+ writers, announces a landmark partnership with easyJet holidays that aims to enhance their “shared commitment” to promoting queer voices and stories.

The partnership has been pledged over a three-year period, and sees the merging of two distinct brands in a mutual goal of amplifying literature exploring the LGBTQ+ experience. The collaboration sees a series of new creative initiatives, including a new podcast, a series of live events, and further funding for the annual prize ceremony, prize giveaways and audience outreach.

Founded in 2011 by author and activist Paul Burston, the Polari Prize has grown in size and scope year on year, with a second category for non-debut books added in 2019, and a third, bi-annual category for children’s and YA books announced in 2022. At the 2023 winners’ ceremony for the prize, held at the British Library, easyJet holidays CEO Garry Wilson attended and pledged his support to the awards for the next three years. Named by the Sunday Times as one of the best places to work in 2023 and 2024, easyJet holidays was launched in 2019, offering great value beach and city breaks in more than 100 European destinations, taking almost 2 million people away on holiday to date.

Garry Wilson, CEO, easyJet holidays, comments: “We are delighted to be partnering with the Polari Prizes to further our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. We’re incredibly proud to be championing this important initiative and we look forward to enhancing and celebrating LGBTQ+ literature in 2024 and beyond.”

Paul Burston, founder of the Polari Literary Salon and Polari Prizes, said: “We’re thrilled to be partnering with easyJet holidays, whose generous support couldn’t have come at a better time. Interest in The Polari Prize has grown enormously over the past few years. This new partnership enables us to build on this success, celebrating LGBTQ+ literature and creating even more opportunities for LGBTQ+ writers.”

The Polari First Book Prize is awarded annually to a debut book that explores the LGBTQ+ experience, and has previously been won by writers including Kirsty Logan, Amrou Al-Kadhi, Diriye Osman, Mohsin Zaidi, Adam Zmith, and last year’s winner Jon Ransom, for his mesmerising tale of grief and love The Whale Tattoo. The annual, overall Polari Book Prize, which excludes debuts, has previously been awarded to Andrew McMillan, Kate Davies, Diana Souhami, Joelle Taylor, and last year’s winner Julia Armfield for her hypnotic and haunting deep-sea romance Our Wives Under the Sea. The biennial Polari Children’s and YA Prize returns for its second year, after Nen and the Lonely Fisherman by Ian Eagleton and James Mayhew won the inaugural award in 2022.

The longlist announcement will take place on Friday 26th July at Propaganda in Hull, with Louise Beech, Barbara Brownskirt, William Hussey and VG Lee. The shortlist announcement will take place on Monday 30th September with a pre-announcement event on Sunday 29th September at The Ironworks in Brighton with Neil Bartlett, Karen McLeod, Joelle Taylor and more to be announced. The winners will be announced at a ceremony on Tuesday 29th November at the British Library.

Leading literary PR consultancy FMcM Associates will continue its sponsorship of the Polari First Book Prize, having supported since its inception in 2011 with a pro-bono PR and marketing campaign, as well as the winner’s cheque for £1,000. This year the prize continues its tradition of having the winner of the previous year on each judging panel with the remaining judges being made up of a distinguished group of authors and industry professionals. For the Polari First Book Prize the judges are author Rachel Holmes, author and writing coach Karen McLeod, author Jon Ransom (Polari First Book Prize winner 2023), Co-chair of Spread The Word Simon Richardson and author Paul Burston (Chair).

Now in its sixth year, the Polari Book Prize will continue to be sponsored by D H H Literary Agency, with the winner receiving a cheque for £2,000. The judging panel includes author Julia Armfield (Polari Book Prize winner 2023), literary critic Suzi Feay, cultural sector leader Chris Gribble, author and comedian VG Lee and author Paul Burston (Chair).

The Polari Children’s & YA Prize has a new sponsor, Ash Literary Agency, which specialises in Children’s and YA books (£1,000). The judging panel includes educator Rayyan Aboo, librarian Zoey Dixon, writer Erica Gillingham, author Sam Sedgeman and author Jodie Lancet-Grant (Chair).

Notes to Editors

About easyJet holidays | easyJet holidays, which launched in 2019, is one of the major players in the tour operator industry, having taken almost 2 million people away in 2023. It offers great-value beach, city and lakes holidays to over 7000 hotels, in more than 100 destinations across Europe, directly through its website and through over 5000 travel agent partners. The ATOL-protected holidays can be secured with a deposit of just £60 per person, including flights, hotel, 23kg luggage and transfers on beach holidays. easyJet holidays is a member of ABTA, and all packages are covered by its Ultimate Flexibility, offering freedom to change a booking, a refund guarantee, and best price guarantee. In 2024 the holiday provider also started operating from Switzerland, France and Germany.

Winners of the Sustainable Future Award at the Globe Travel Awards, easyJet holidays’ sustainability strategy, ‘Holiday Better’, focuses on three key pillars – create better holiday choices which is about making sustainable travel affordable and accessible to everyone; keep our holidays special which is maximising the benefits and minimising the negative impacts of travel and tourism, and transform travel for everyone which means embedding sustainability into business decisions and behaviours and driving meaningful change in the industry. The tour operator has partnered with UN Tourism to help develop the first environmental, social and governance (ESG) framework for tourism businesses, co-designing a measurement tool that is meaningful and feasible for better monitoring how tourism businesses impact, and depend on, people, planet and prosperity.

easyJet holidays has been named one of the Sunday Times Best Places to Work 2023 and 2024, as well as being named one of the Best Workplaces in Travel 2023.

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. 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, BookBrunch, the Guardian, the i, Irish Independent, Press Association, Gay Times, Winq, BBC Radio 4, The London Magazine, Wasafiri and elsewhere.

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 FMcM | An award-winning communications consultancy that specialises in literature and the arts, with an impressive client list and a big reputation. We are FMcM.

Whether working on book campaigns, on literary prizes and festivals, or on pioneering industry initiatives, we represent some of the most inspiring and exciting brands, authors and publishers in the literary landscape.

With over 20 years at the cutting edge of the industry, we are specialists in everything from poetry and literature in translation, to blockbuster history titles, crime fiction, to literary debuts

and commercial bestsellers.

About D H H Literary Agency | We are an editorially led agency run by passionate book lovers. With a range of experience from bookselling and collecting, in house editorial, and television, our agents are commercially aware, well-connected and skilled at helping authors develop their ideas.

Founded by David H Headley in 2008, our agency is dedicated to discovering and nurturing talented authors, whether debut or established, providing attentive, honest and personalised representation

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