Published
Publication date: May 2019
115% funded
874 backers

Want to help unpublished working class writers get into print? Join Kit de Waal and her contributors to give new writers a platform…

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bringing together sixteen well-known writers from working class backgrounds with an equal number of brand new as-yet-unpublished writers from all over the UK.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.

Contributors Include:
Damian Barr
Malorie Blackman OBE
Lisa Blower
Jill Dawson
Louise Doughty
Stuart Maconie
Chris McCrudden
Lisa McInerney
Paul McVeigh
Daljit Nagra
Dr Dave O’Brien
Cathy Rentzenbrink
Anita Sethi
Adelle Stripe
Tony Walsh
Alex Wheatle

Kit de Waal was born in Birmingham to an Irish mother, who was a foster carer and a Caribbean father. She worked for fifteen years in criminal and family law, was a magistrate for several years and sits on adoption panels. She used to advise Social Services on the care of foster children, and has written training manuals on adoption and foster care. Her writing has received numerous awards including the Bridport Flash Fiction Prize 2014 and 2015 and the SI Leeds Literary Reader's Choice Prize 2014. My Name is Leon, her first novel, is a Times and International bestseller and the winner of the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year 2016. She has also written 'Six Foot Six' for Quick Reads which will be available in February. Her second novel The Trick to Time will be out in April 2018. She has two children.

GOOD NEWS! Seventeen new working class writers chosen to join COMMON PEOPLE

Monday, 14 May 2018

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…

Tantalisingly close! We are at 90%!

Sunday, 18 February 2018

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.  

25% and counting!

Friday, 5 January 2018

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.

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Ludo Cinelli
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Sharon McCann
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Kelly Green
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Terry Conway
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Angela Bridge
Angela Bridge asked:

Happy to donate, but £5 is my affordable donation - though I can't see a way of donating less than £10. Am I able to donate £5? Thanks, Angie.B

Kit de Waal
Kit de Waal replied:

Hello Angela, first of all, thank you very much. I don't know if you can pledge that amount - I'm new here but what you could do is see if there is another friend that is willing to donate with you and if you both pledge £5 then I will send you the hardback book instead of the digital - one each. So your £10 will get you £40 worth of book. If you'd rather not, then if you could do a bit of spreading the word via email, Facebook, Twitter or word of mouth then that would more than count for a pledge and I will send you a book anyway. Your donation and the spirit in which you make it whether it's time, energy, support or hard cash is very much appreciated and welcome. Wishing you all the best, Kit x

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