The ten-strong Green Carnation Prize longlist, announced today, 24 March 2017, features a record three poets – a reflection of the astonishing growth in the poetry market, which ‘last year enjoyed its highest sales ever…selling over a million books’. Will Eaves and John McCullough claim their place on the list and are joined by fellow poet and winner of the 2014 Forward Prize, Kei Miller, who is longlisted for his novel, Augustown.
Two non-fiction titles also feature on the longlist: Academy Award nominee, David France’s story of the AIDS epidemic, How to Survive a Plague; and playwright and former editor of Attitude, Matthew Todd’s Straight Jacket, which explores why a disproportionate number of gay people suffer from mental health problems.
With both established and debut novelists making the longlist, the majority feature contemporary settings, including: Bulgaria in Garth Greenwell’s What Belongs To You; the north coast of Scotland in A Portable Shelter by Kirsty Logan; and Australian farmland in Inga Simpson’s Where The Trees Were. Stella Duffy and Edmund White’s novels are set in Edwardian London and eighties New York respectively.
Chair of judges and internationally acclaimed author John Boyne said: ‘By chance rather than design we chose ten books that reflect the diversity of today’s literary world: fiction, non-fiction and poetry, male and female writers, experienced and debut authors. Proving that whilst the Green Carnation rewards LGBTQ authors, this is a list for any reader, regardless of their sexuality, because they’re all important and brilliant books.’
The Green Carnation Prize 2016 longlist in full (in alphabetical order by author):
- London Lies Beneath, Stella Duffy (Virago)
- The Inevitable Gift Shop, Will Eaves (CB Editions)
- How to Survive a Plague, David France (Picador)
- What Belongs to You, Garth Greenwell (Picador)
- A Portable Shelter, Kirsty Logan (Random House)
- Spacecraft, John McCullough (Penned in the Margins)
- Augustown, Kei Miller (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
- Where The Trees Were, Inga Simpson (Blackfriars)
- Straight Jacket, Matthew Todd (Transworld)
- Our Young Man, Edmund White (Bloomsbury)
Simon Savidge, Director of the Prize, said: “I am so proud that the Green Carnation continues to recognise the wealth of LGBTQ writing talent published in the UK. Tackling difficult and important subjects from mental health to AIDS, these brave writers push boundaries and need to be championed.’
The prize, now in its seventh year, and, with the support of Foyles, is a vital recognition for books as diverse as the community it represents and unified by a common thread: sheer quality of writing.
Simon Heafield, Head of Marketing at Foyles, said: “I think this is the strongest Green Carnation longlist we’ve seen in some years, and it’s a testament to the remarkable wealth of great writing by LGBTQ authors published in the last twelve months. I’m very happy to have another reason to put these fabulous, original and important books in front of customers – and even happier not to have the unenviable task of whittling this longlist down to a shortlist (let alone a winner).”
Following 2015’s highest number of submissions to date, the Prize was awarded to Marlon James’ A Brief History of Seven Killings. Upon winning the prize, James said: “Six years ago I wouldn’t have been able to voice that I was LGBT, so to be recognised for that and for work the judges felt was great is fantastic.”
The shortlist will be announced 28th April. The winner will be revealed at a ceremony at Foyles’ flagship bookshop 22nd May 2017.