literature & poetry

Polari: Featuring Paul Bailey

Welcome the new year with an edition of the LGBTQ+ literary salon headlined by the novelist and critic and Polari institution Paul Bailey.

Bailey is a biographer of queer legends such as Quentin Crisp. His many books include Peter Smart's Confessions, Gabriel's Lament and The Prince's Boy.

Tonight, Bailey headlines the first billing of 2020 for London’s beloved literary salon, reading from his first poetry collection Inheritance, which coincides with a reissue of his debut novel At the Jerusalem.

Reading alongside Paul this evening are Nathan Evans, author of Cnut; Jill Gardiner, author of With Some Wild Woman; John O’Connell, author of Bowie’s Books and SJI Holliday, author of Violet.

Polari strides into its 13th year of residency at Southbank Centre as acclaimed storybook and commentry on LGBTQ+ life, showcasing some of the most celebrated writings and voices speaking to contemporary queer identities while celebrating past queer lives.

Each month, with his line-up of new and established LGBTQ+ voices, Paul Burston places often still marginalised, queer narratives centre stage. Polari provides a home for such voices during these troubled times when some would prefer to silence us.
Alexis Gregory, playwright and performer
Polari is a unique mix of voices that provokes the strongest responses from its audience - love, laughter, tears, but most of all, thought
Val McDermid

Dates & times

29 Jan 2020
Approximate run time: 135 mins
Run times may vary, find out more


Royal Festival Hall
Level 5 Function Room, Green Side


Booking fee: £3.50 (Members £0.00)


25% off (limited availability)
Find out more about our Concessions policy

need to know

Age recommendation
For ages 16+

Content warning
Please note that Polari contains adult themes.

Southbank Centre takes a strong view on secondary ticketing. We require the lead booker to attend (photo ID may be requested). Tickets can only be resold by Southbank Centre or one of its authorised agents.