Leading writers Stuart Maconie, Kit de Waal, Tony Walsh and Lisa McInerney consider what it means to be a working-class writer working in the publishing industry today
“It’s the last great unspoken prejudice in British life, and that runs through everywhere – particularly some of the areas of the media I work in, like publishing and broadcasting” Stuart Maconie
The Common People anthology brought together 16 leading working-class writers with 17 new unpublished working-class writers to create a picture of working-class life in Britain today.
As part of the opportunity, the 17 new writers were also offered a 12-month professional development programme to support their entry into the publishing industry, working alongside mentors and England’s seven regional literature development agencies, with Unbound and Arts Council England.
Now, to coincide with a new report by Professor Katy Shaw of Northumbria University, Common People: Breaking the Class Ceiling in UK Publishing, we are delighted to present this special episode of the New Writing North podcast.
This episode brings together several of the established authors who featured in the Common People anthology, including Stuart Maconie, Kit de Waal, Tony Walsh, Lisa McInerney, with writer and academic Dave O’Brien and new writers Jodie Russian-Red and Shaun Wilson. The episode also features Jonathan Paterson, a Finance Director at the Hachette UK Group, and Clara Farmer, Publishing Director of Chatto & Windus.
Together they consider the experience of working-class writers and publishers working in the UK, identify some of the pervasive barriers which mean that the publishing industry fails to represent a huge proportion of the British public, and consider what change could look like.
Produced by Philippa Geering for New Writing North
The Common People Writing Development Programme was produced by literature development agencies New Writing North, Writing West Midlands, New Writing South, National Centre for Writing, Writing East Midlands and Literature Works and Spread the Word with support from Arts Council England.