In a recent documentary, 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 has come together with Unbound and the regional writing development organisations, including New Writing North and Writing West Midlands, to do something about it.
Common People will be a collection of essays, poems and pieces of personal memoir, bringing together sixteen well-known writers from working class backgrounds with an equal number of brand new as-yet-unpublished writers from all over the UK.
These new writers will be selected by the regional writing development agencies, who will support and mentor them in the run-up to publication.
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. Common People 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 Common People and join these writers to help to make a difference.
Malorie Blackman OBE
Dr Dave O’Brien
I'm so pleased that we can finally announce the names of the seventeen emerging writers who will join the well-known authors in COMMON PEOPLE. They've been chosen by the regional writing agencies, who will support and mentor them in the run-up to publication, alongside support from Unbound and from me as editor of the collection. They are: Paul Allen, Ruth Behan, Astra Bloom, Jenny Knight, Katy Massey…
Thanks to your generosity and support we are almost fully funded. COMMON PEOPLE is only one step towards improving equality for working class writers but it will be a big one for sixteen new writers, and for the established authors, an opportunity to give back and celebrate their working class roots. Exciting times! Nearly at 100%. Let's get there together.
Thank you to all the lovely generous people who have pledged so far! We've had a massive response on Twitter with lots of people tweeting their support and getting on board. We still need to push on and build on the momentum so I'm staying active on social media, emailing people I think might be intereted who haven't heard and asking favours of local radio stations. Lots of people who don…
These people are helping to fund Common People: An Anthology of Working Class Writers.