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Northern Irish author Paul McVeigh has won the Polari first book prize for his novel The Good Son.

The LGBT writing prize, which began in 2011, is awarded annually to writers whose first books explore lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender experiences through poetry, prose, fiction or nonfiction.

Born in Belfast, McVeigh began his career as a playwright and director. He founded a theatre company, which won a Fringe First at the Edinburgh Festival and has also written comedy shows.

The Good Son is a funny and frightening story of a young boy navigating the troubles of 1980s Northern Ireland.

Paul McVeigh The Good Son
In a first for the Polari prize, journalist Juliet Jacques was named runner up for her poignant memoir Trans, which the judges described  as “an exceptional book in so many ways.”

Prize judges included chair Paul Burston, who was joined by literary critic Suzi Feay, author and comedian VG Lee, writer Alex Hopkins and former head of literature and spoken word at the Southbank Centre, Rachel Holmes.

Burston, said: “This year, each shortlisted titled successfully showcased the exceptional skill and scope of work within the LGBT literary community. However, the judges were particularly drawn to the fresh and unique narrative voice of McVeigh’s Mickey Donnelly – we really felt as if we knew him. The author’s handling of the young narrator is expertly done and strikes the perfect balance between comedy and pathos. Paul is an incredibly accomplished storyteller and we’re delighted to present him with the Prize for 2016.”

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