Okechukwu Nzelu is on the Polari First Book Prize 2020 shortlist announced on July 31, 2020.
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” once used as part of the 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). That prize was won by Andrew McMillan.
Judges for the Polari First Book Prize 2020 are author and 2019 Prize winner Angela Chadwick; writer and performer Cerys Evans; author and former Head of Literature & Spoken Word at Southbank Centre Rachel Holmes; and poet and performer Keith Jarrett. The Polari First Book Prize 2020 shortlisted titles are:
- Queer Intentions: A Personal Journey through LGBTQ+ Culture by Amelia Abraham (Picador)
- Life As A Unicorn – A Journey From Shame to Pride and Everything In Between by Amrou Al-Kadhi (Fourth Estate)
- Sensible Footwear: A Girl’s Guide- a graphic guide to lesbian and queer history 1950-2020 by Kate Charlesworth (Myriad Editions)
- Tell Me I’m Forgiven: The Story of Forgotten Stars Gwen Farrar and Norah Blaney by Alison Child (Tollington)
- The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins (Penguin)
- The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney by Okechukwu Nzelu (Dialogue Books).
The winner of the Polari First Book Prize gets a £1,000 cash prize while the Polari Prize winner goes home with £2,000. The winning books from both shortlists will be announced in October in association with the Southbank Centre.