Singer’s memoir wins Polari First Book Prize

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The winner of the Polari First Book Prize was revealed last night to be Autofellatio by James Maker.

Maker was awarded the Polari First Book Prize on Monday at the Polari 4th Birthday celebration, held at London’s Southbank Centre.

The memoir charts his life as a “singer, lyricist, writer and occasional actor”, his friendship with musician Morrissey and his relocation to Spain.

Paul Burston, Chair of the judges, said: “The judges felt that Autofellatio stood out with its humour, honesty and heartfelt exploration of British queer life over the last 30 years.

“It deals with the hardships of growing up gay in a way that is witty, endlessly quotable and, above all, brave.

“The hard-won wisdom and tenacity of this story is also reflected in the way in which the book evolved. Self-published as an ebook, it has now been picked up by an independent publisher.

“The judges also agreed that the winning book best exemplified the spirit of the prize and the ethos of Polari.”

Winning author James Maker said: “I’m thrilled that Autofellatio is the winner of the Polari First Book Prize, especially given that the other books in the shortlist are so very, very strong.

“Autofellatio began life as a self-published ebook, and I believe that winning this award sends a positive message to other first-time authors: do-it-yourself, go out there and promote your work through Spoken Word. Anything might happen.”

The Polari Prize is awarded to a first book exploring gay experience, and was open to any work of poetry, prose, fiction or non-fiction in the preceding year.

The shortlisted books were:

    Love, Hope & High Heels by Clare Campbell
    Autofellatio by James Maker
    Homo Jihad by Timothy Graves
    Julian Corkle is a Filthy Liar by DJ Connell
    London Triptych by Jonathan Kemp

Self-published works were eligible for submission.