Andreena Leeanne and Paul Mendez are on the longlist for the Polari First Book Prize 2021 announced on June 24, 2021.
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 Burton in 2011. It borrowed from the term “Polari” which was a part of gay subculture in the past. 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).
The longlist for the 2021 edition of the prize was announced at a digital event this past week in the categories of Polari First Prize and the Polari Prize. In the First Book Prize, the judges are Amrou Al-Kadhi, Angela Chadwick, Rachel Holmes and Keith Jarrett.
Polari First Book Prize longlist, judge and former Polari Prize winner, Angela Chadwick said, “This list features an eclectic mix of exciting new voices that deserve a wide audience. While the books are very different from each other, they all share a raw emotional power that makes for the very best reading experience.”
From the longlist announced, two writers of African descent featured and they are;
First Book Prize
- Paul Mendez, Rainbow Milk (Dialogue Books)
- Andreena Leeanne, Charred (Team Angelica)
Andreena Leeanne shared on her Facebook,
“My debut collection of poems published by Team Angelica during a pandemic has made the Polari first book prize longlist🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉
I am so proud of CHARRED. In this book i write my truth about my personal experiences with sexual abuse, homelessness, mental health, LGBTQ, identity, relationships & love.
I also share what i do for self-care and have left lined pages for the reader to write if they feel inspired.
There is so much power in speaking our truth about difficult things that have happened because it sets us free and allows others to know that they are not alone in their struggles.”