Polari Prizes Awarded to Julia Armfield and Jon Ransom for LGBTQ+ Novels Exploring the Sea

Armfield’s “Our Wives Under the Sea” and Ransom’s “The Whale Tattoo” Win Prestigious Polari Prizes

Julia Armfield and Jon Ransom have been announced as the winners of this year’s Polari prizes, which celebrate LGBTQ+ literature. Armfield’s novel, “Our Wives Under the Sea,” was awarded the overall prize, while Ransom’s book, “The Whale Tattoo,” won the Polari first book prize. Both novels delve into the theme of water and the sea, offering unique perspectives on LGBTQ+ experiences. The awards were presented at a ceremony held at the British Library, with judges praising the winners for expanding the boundaries of LGBTQ+ literature.

Jon Ransom’s “The Whale Tattoo” Explores Memories and Relationships in a Fishing Town

In “The Whale Tattoo,” protagonist Joe Gunner returns to his Norfolk fishing town, confronting difficult memories and reevaluating his relationships. Ransom’s novel beautifully captures the essence of salt air and gay longing, transporting readers to a world that is both familiar and foreign. The book was commended for its evocative imagery and its ability to find love and energy in seemingly hostile environments.

Julia Armfield’s “Our Wives Under the Sea” Challenges Conventional Queer Writing

“Our Wives Under the Sea” follows the story of Leah, who resurfaces from a disastrous deep-sea dive, and her wife, Miri, who grapples with the changes Leah undergoes underwater. Armfield’s novel pushes the boundaries of queer writing, offering a strange, speculative, poetic, and thrilling narrative. Judges lauded the book for its ability to captivate readers’ hearts and minds, presenting a unique and thought-provoking exploration of queer experiences.

The Polari Prizes Celebrate Diversity in LGBTQ+ Literature

The Polari prizes aim to recognize and celebrate the diversity of LGBTQ+ literature. This year’s shortlist included titles such as Travis Alabanza’s “None of the Above,” Livia Kojo Alour’s “Rising of the Black Sheep,” Tom Crewe’s “The New Life,” Edward Enninful’s “A Visible Man,” and Jill Nalder’s “Love from the Pink Palace.” Each of these books offers a distinct perspective on LGBTQ+ experiences, showcasing the richness and complexity of queer storytelling.


The Polari prizes awarded to Julia Armfield and Jon Ransom highlight the power of LGBTQ+ literature to challenge norms and expand our understanding of queer experiences. Armfield’s “Our Wives Under the Sea” and Ransom’s “The Whale Tattoo” both explore the theme of water and the sea, delving into memories, relationships, and the transformative power of queer identities. These novels not only entertain and provoke thought but also pave the way for future LGBTQ+ writers to continue pushing boundaries and crafting compelling narratives. As the winners of this year’s Polari prizes, Armfield and Ransom have proven their ability to captivate readers with their unique perspectives, leaving audiences eagerly anticipating their future works.






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