Book Fringe
Edinburgh's alternative book festival of ideas

What's On

2019 Programme

All our events are free + unticketed


Lighthouse events start at 1.00pm and last for 30 minutes

Golden Hare events start at 6.30pm and last for one hour

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Fabulosa! The Story of Polari

  • LIGHTHOUSE - Edinburgh's Radical Bookshop 43-45 West Nicolson Street Edinburgh, Scotland, EH8 9DB United Kingdom (map)

with author Paul Baker

“Oh Mr. Horne, how bona to vada your dolly old eke!”

Paul Baker recounts the story of Polari: the language used chiefly in the early twentieth century by gay men to avoid criminal prosecution or worse. Its roots are colorful and varied—from thieves’ Cant to Lingua Franca and prostitutes’ slang.

With a cast of drag queens and sailors, Dilly boys and macho clones, Fabulosa! is an essential document of recent history and a fascinating and fantastically readable account of this funny, filthy, and ingenious language. 


Featured Book

Fabulosa! The Story of Polari, Britain’s Secret Gay Language by Paul Baker (Reaktion, 2019)