Polari Prize 2023 longlist announced.

Polari Prize 2023 longlist announced.

The longlist for the Polari Prize 2023 has been announced in London, UK today, Monday, July 24, 2023. Here are the writers of African descent in the running.

The Polari First Book Prize was established to celebrate new writing coming with a focus on LGBTIQ issues by writers born or based in the UK and Ireland by Paul Burston in 2011. It borrows from the term “Polari” a term in the gay subculture in that part of the world. Previous winners of the prize include Angela Chadwick, Fiona Mozley, Saleem Haddad, Paul McVeigh, Kirsty Logan, Diriye Osman, John McCullough, Mari Hannah, and James Maker. In 2019, the prize expanded to the Polaris Book Prize open to writers at any stage of their career (except debuts). They are sponsored by literary PR consultancy FMcM, and the D H H Literary Agency

The Polari Prize this year is judged by VG Lee, literary critic Suzi Feay, Chris Gribble of the National Centre for Writing, and 2022 Polari Book Prize winner Joelle Taylor. For the Polari First Book Prize, Paul will be joined by author Rachel Holmes, poet Sophia Blackwell, author Karen McLeod and Adam Zmith, winner of the 2022 Polari First Book Prize. Both prize panels are chaired by founder, journalist, and author Paul Burston.

The longlists for the award have been announced by the prize founder Paul Burston.

“This year’s Polari Prize longlists demonstrate a diverse range of LGBTQ literary talent, writing across many different genres and from a wide variety of perspectives. The volume and quality of submissions was extremely high this year, and the judges really had their work cut out. But these are longlists we can all be proud of. At a time when LGBTQ people are under attack, our stories matter more than ever. These are our stories. Read them. Learn from them. Celebrate them,” he said.

These are the writers of African descent in the running;

Polari Prize

  • Here Again Now, Okechukwu Nzelu (Dialogue Books)

Polari First Book Prize

  • A Visible Man, Edward Enninful (Bloomsbury)
  • Raising of the Black Sheep, Livia Kojo Alour (Polari Press)
  • None of the Above, Travis Alabanza (Canongate Books)


I’m extremely proud to announce my debut poetry collection ‘Rising of the Black Sheep’ has been selected for the Polari First Book Prize’s long list this year!

For well over a decade the Polari / First Book Prizes are awarded annually to a book, debut book & Children’s book that explores the LGBTQ+ experience, and has previously been won by writers like Joelle Taylor & Andrew McMillan.

To share the sometimes rather painful stories of my younger self and to let them become shared experience with the world has been the most liberating and mind blowing experience of my life so far. Receiving this kind of acknowledgment for my writing is a true honour. I feel seen! And this is something many black queer womxn don’t get to experience often and if we usually have to fight for it. ❤️

Livia Kojo Alour

I’m absolutely delighted that HERE AGAIN NOW has been longlisted for the Polari Book Prize in the midst of so many writers I admire. Congratulations to all the longlistees for this very important prize!

Okechukwu Nzelu

So lovely to see None of the Above on the @PolariPrize first book long list.  Thank u ❤️⭐️

Travis Alabanza

The shortlist announcement will be made on Wednesday, September 27 before the winner is made public at a ceremony at the British Library on Friday, November 24.


One response to “Polari Prize 2023 longlist announced.”

  1. […] longlists for the award were announced on July 24 before the shortlist was made public on September 27 by prize founder Paul […]

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