The 2020 winners of The Polari Prize, the UK’s only award for books exploring the LGBTQ+ experience, have been announced.
The Polari First Book Prize was awarded to Attitude columnist Amrou Al-Kadhi for their book Life As A Unicorn (Fourth Estate).
The overall Polari Prize for non-debuts was awarded to Kate Davies for In At the Deep End (Borough Press).
This year's recipients were announced in a digital ceremony on Twitter on Thursday (15 October).
Founder and author Paul Burston described this year’s winning titles as “exceptionally good reads - original, genre-defying, unapologetically queer."
The 2020 judges furthermore called Al-Kadhi’s memoir a “unique perspective at the intersection of gender, race and sexuality whilst being highly emotive and deeply moving" and "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."
Davies' novel was meanwhile described as "a frank and funny novel exploring sex, love and self-understanding", while judge Andrew McMillan called it an “open, generous, bold and unashamedly commercial novel that deals quite rarely with lesbian love, lesbian sex and lesbian eroticism.”
Burston also chaired both prize panels.
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.