Founded by journalist and author Paul Burston, the Polari First Book Prize is awarded annually to a writer whose first book explores the LGBT experience, whether in poetry, prose, fiction or non-fiction. This year the prize was awarded to the novel, Elmet by Fiona Mozley.
Burston, said “Strange, extraordinary and unique, Fiona Mozley’s story has a lyrical, ethereal quality and the feel of an old folk tale. Sometimes brutal but often beautiful, the novel expertly weaves together themes of ownership, greed and masculinity, pitching the gentle narrator Daniel against the brutality of his father. It’s a remarkable achievement and the judges were united in their admiration for it.”
Elmet by Fiona Mozley
The family thought the little house they had made themselves in Elmet, a corner of Yorkshire, was theirs, that their peaceful, self-sufficient life was safe. Cathy and Daniel roamed the woods freely, occasionally visiting a local woman for some schooling, living outside all conventions. Their father built things and hunted, working with his hands; sometimes he would disappear, forced to do secret, brutal work for money, but to them he was a gentle protector.
When a local landowner shows up on their doorstep, their precarious existence is threatened, their innocence lost. Daddy and Cathy, both of them fierce, strong, and unyielding, set out to protect themselves and their neighbors, putting into motion a chain of events that can only end in violence.