The Polari Literary Salon, back in Hull

London’s award-winning celebration of emerging and established LGBT writers, Polari is returning to Hull in July for Pride in Hull as part of our LGBT 50 celebrations, presented in partnership with Sewell Group.

Following a hugely popular event in November 2016, the literary salon, hosted and curated by critically acclaimed author Paul Burston, will be held at Kardomah94 on Thursday 27 July.

Based on the gatherings of writers, artists, philosophers and intellectuals in the 17th and 18th centuries, salons were opportunities for people to meet and share ideas, refine their tastes and increase their knowledge through stimulating conversation. The tradition continued into the early 20th century, most famously and infamously with the Bloomsbury Group.

Polari picks up where these groups left off, creating a setting where people can be exposed to works that may not receive the same exposure as mainstream literature and engage in discussion, sharing thoughts and observations. Established in November 2007 in response to a lack of celebration of LGBT writers, the monthly events began in the upstairs room of a pub in Soho and are now based at Southbank Centre. The nights have gone from strength to strength with headliners including Jake Arnott, Patrick Gale, Val McDermid, Will Self, Ali Smith and Sarah Waters.

Literary events can be very dry and worthy, that isn’t what Polari is about. We have a good mix of writers attending and the atmosphere is fun, raucous and, most importantly, supportive of the writers.

– Paul Burston, Polari

On the line-up for this event are actor, playwright and producer Alexis Gregory and comedian and author VG Lee. Alexis will be reading from his new verbatim theatre piece The Riot That Felt Safer Than Home, created entirely out of his interviews with, among others, a prominent London based 1980s gay activist and one of the only remaining Stonewall survivors – exploring this turbulent period in queer history to commemorate the passing of the bill.

We are thrilled to be welcoming Polari back to the city as part of LGBT 50. This year is extra special for the LGBT community in Hull, not only is the city enjoying its reign as UK City of Culture, but our Pride event has been named ‘UK Pride’ and, as a country, we are marking the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalization of homosexuality.

– Colin Wilson, Pride in Hull Trustee 

Tickets for Polari are on sale now, priced £6-£8.