The 32: An Anthology of Irish Working Class Voices

By Paul McVeigh

16 published writers and 16 new voices write on their experience of being working class in Ireland.

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In a recent documentary on BBC Radio 4, novelist Kit de Waal asked ‘where are the working class writers?’ The answer is ‘right here’.

Inspired by a shared concern that working class voices are increasingly absent from the pages of books and newspapers, Kit de Waal came together with publishers Unbound to create the hugely successful Common People anthology.

The Observer recently described Kit de Waal’s My Name Is Leon and Paul McVeigh’s The Good Son as the 'exceptional working-class novels from the last few years' so it seems apt that Kit passes the baton to Paul to edit The 32: An Anthology of Irish Working Class Writers.

Like Common People, The 32 will be a collection of essays and memoir, bringing together sixteen well-known writers from working class backgrounds with an equal number of new and emerging writers from all over the island of Ireland.

These new writers will be selected by an open call and we are working with the Cork World Book Festival, Irish Writers Centre, Munster Literature Centre, and Words Ireland to provide additional support.

Too often, working class writers find that the hurdles they have to leap are higher and harder to cross than for writers from more affluent backgrounds. The 32 will see writers who have made that leap reach back to give a helping hand to those coming up behind.

We read because we want to experience lives and emotions beyond our own, to learn, to see with others’ eyes – without new working class voices, without the vital reflection of real lives, or role models for working class readers and writers, literature will be poorer. We will all be poorer. Pledge for The 32 and join these writers to help to make a difference.

Contributors So Far Include:

Claire Allan

Kevin Barry

Dermot Bolger

June Caldwell

Martin Doyle

Roddy Doyle

Rosaleen McDonagh

Lisa McInerney

Dave Lordan

Danielle McLaughlin

Eoin McNamee

Melatu Uche Okorie

Senator Lynne Ruane

Rick O’Shea

Dr Michael Pierse

Thank you for your interest. When the anthology is fully funded, details of how to submit will be released through our social media, the Irish Writers Centre, Words Ireland, and to all those who pledge for The 32. Please consider pledging to make this important project happen.

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  • Paul McVeigh avatar

    Paul McVeigh

    Paul's debut novel, The Good Son, won The Polari First Novel Prize and he is twice winner of The McCrea Literary Award. He wrote plays and comedy, with his shows touring the UK and Ireland including the Edinburgh Festival and London's West End. His short stories have appeared in The Irish Times, Faber's Being Various and Kit de Waal's Common People anthologies, on BBC Radio 3, 4 & 5 and Sky Arts. Paul was fiction editor at the Southword Journal, co-edited the Belfast Stories anthology and co-founded the London Short Story Festival.


    Photo credit: John Minihan

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