Polari Prize: Address Book by Neil Bartlett

What is the Polari Prize?

The Polari Prize is the UK’s only LGBTQ+ book prize. This year, I was delighted to be contacted to be offered books from the shortlist to review. There is a childrens and YA category as well as a first book prize along with the main prize. Founded in 2011, this year is the award’s eleventh year. Founded by author and activist Paul Burston, the awards celebrate LGBTQ+ books, fiction and non-fiction. This year, the awards will take place at the British Library on the 15th November.

Address Book

Neil Bartlett’s Address Book featured in my Pride Parade of Books. Address Book is a collection of stories Beginning with number 14 Yeomans Mews. what a wonderful opening to a collection. A doctor reflects, before going to work at the height of the covid pandemic comma on his first sexual Encounter at age 15.

I haven’t read the rest but I’m assured Neil’s book contains some equally poignant and and Powerful stories and they all have a message of hope.

We all have to leave our childhood selves behind. To abandon ourselves, in a way—and I sometimes wonder if that’s why we’re also obsessed with TV shows and stories that take us back into somebody’s past and then at some crucial point snap right around to reveal the terrible wound or abuse that is then supposed to explain everything that ever happened to that person afterwards.

Cover of Address Book by Neil Bartlett

Short stories and real places

Neil doesn’t waste a single word on the page. Short story writing demands a use of language that gets straight to the point but you don’t feel cheated by a story’s brevity. 

All the addresses in the book are, I discovered after watching an interview with the author, real places known Neil. This must have brought something to the writing as it really does stand out. We travel through time and place but the grounding is obvious.

Photo by Lina Kivaka on Pexels.com

Would I read more?

Because of timings and editing work, I simply don’t have time to review, in depth, all of the books on the shortlist. Maybe, in time, I will but by reading a short section, I thought I would be able to ask myself if I would want to read more of this book.

There is no other word: absolutely! I read the first story with such ease that I cannot wait to visit all the other addresses and discover all of the other stories behind those doors.

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Published by Nick Taylor | Editor & Proofreader

Editor and proofreader specialising in LGBTQ+ writing, both fiction and non-fiction.

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