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.
All The Things She Said
Cliches of lesbian and bi women are smashed wide-open instantly in Daisy Jones’s book. From “confused” and “sex-obsessed” bi women, to U-Hauling, scissoring and moon cupping (is that a verb?) lesbians.
Many of these stereotypes apply to me [the author] by the way, but only when I say so myself and only when they are celebrated.
This is a book that delves into the history and cultures of lesbian and bi women in an easy and accessible way. While I was reading the opening, I couldn’t help by think of United Queerdom, by Dan Glass. Both books are non-fiction but don’t read as academic studies despite their authors clearly knowing the subject matter well.
Part history, part self-help
All The Things She Said is a look at culture, history, style and all manner of things that make the modern lesbian or bi woman. But it’s much more than that. It is a way of queer women to understand their worlds.
Chapters on coming out, dating and mental health provide information and support for women so that they understand that they are not going through this alone. (TW: there is talk of some dark matters.)
While it might cover some dark materials, there is a hope and there is support available within the community.
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.
It is so easy to read that I forgot I was only reading the openings! I skipped happily through the book, picking up on all sorts of gems and will definitely be returning to read in more detail. Jones’s style is so easy to read that it is so easy to get lost in a world which, for me at least, I’m still exploring!
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