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.

Autobiography
110% funded
268 supporters
Edits in progress

Publication date: TBC

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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 Irish Writers Centre 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

Lyra McKee

Lisa McInerney

Dave Lordan

Danielle McLaughlin

Eoin McNamee

Michael Nolan

Senator Lynn Ruane

Rick O’Shea

Dr Michael Pierse

We are now open for submissions from working-class writers from all over Ireland.

Submission criteria:

  • Writers are invited to submit a piece of memoir of up to a maximum of 2,500 words.
  • This should be supported by a 500-word personal statement about you, your writing, your background. Please also include your full address and confirmation that you do not have an agent, have not published a book, nor have a publishing contract for a book. (You may have been published in a journal or newspaper).
  • You must be resident in the island of Ireland to be eligible to submit. Writers of Irish origin resident in other countries are not eligible.
  • Deadline for submissions is 6pm on Friday 15thMay, 2020. Any submissions received after that time cannot be considered.
  • Submissions should be in the form of a Word document (.doc or .docx) and emailed to the32@unbound.co.uk
  • We regret we are unable to accept postal submissions.
  • All submissions must be typed in black, any font, 12 pt, and double-spaced. Pages should be numbered.
  • All submissions will be read by the editor and Unbound, and sixteen pieces will be chosen to be included in the book.
  • Writers will be informed of the final decision by Friday 29thMay, 2020.
  • All further enquiries should be emailed to the32@unbound.co.uk
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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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  • These people are helping to fund The 32: An Anthology of Irish Working-Class Voices.

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    maria farrell

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  • Jo Hatfield
    Jo Hatfield asked:

    Hi. I am not sure if I should post this here or email unbound. I am in my 40s and I have lived in Ireland for 20 years. I actually just recently became an Irish citizen. However, I grew up in an English working-class background with no input from Irish influences. I am writing my memoirs at the moment and my friend knows this and suggested this competition to me. I am just wondering if I would be eligible to participate. Kind regards Jo

    Unbound
    Unbound replied:

    Hi Jo, Thank you for your interest. I'm sure you will understand that since writers of Irish origin resident in other countries are not eligible, it would not be fair to accept submissions from writers from other countries who are resident in Ireland, so no, I'm afraid you are not eligible. If you have any further questions, please contact us by email on the32@unbound.co.uk. Good luck with your memoirs.

    Sarah Ronan
    Sarah Ronan asked:

    Ah nooo, so disappointed that you're not accepting submissions from Irish people abroad. I've been waiting for submissions to open. Working-class people are more likely to emigrate due to economic conditions too, so offer another perspective on it. Maybe, there's scope for an anthology of diaspora voices, at some point. Good luck to everyone that's submitting!

    Unbound
    Unbound replied:

    We are sorry, Sarah, but the point of this anthology is specifically to give a platform to working class writers in Ireland itself. An anthology of diaspora voices is a good idea though! If you have any further queries please contact us by email: the32@unbound.co.uk.

    Setanta Grannell
    Setanta Grannell asked:

    I self published a book through Amazon does this exclude me? Just to add this is great to see, working class Ireland especially poor working class areas get completely over looked for writing talent.

    Unbound
    Unbound replied:

    Hi Setanta, thank you for your interest. I'm afraid that self-publishing does count as being published, so you aren't eligible. You seem to be doing a good job on your own though. 100% five star reviews for your novel THE SHOWDOWN is no mean feat. Good luck with your future work.

    Marie Breen-Smyth
    Marie Breen-Smyth asked:

    Hiya, wondering if I am eligible, I have published a book or two for work, nothing creative, I am now working on a memoir - can I submit? I am otherwise eligible, I think.

    Unbound
    Unbound replied:

    Hi Marie, thank you for your interest. I'm afraid that having published a book, or indeed two, does render you ineligible to submit for this project. If you have any further questions, do please get in touch via email: the32@unbound.co.uk