Growing up in Birmingham, novelist Kit de Waal says the only writers she knew were, ‘dead men. And white. And posh…No one from my background – poor, black and Irish – wrote books. It just wasn’t an option.’ Years later, after witnessing many attempted social mobility initiatives, Kit still wonders ‘if any of these initiatives have made an impression on who gets to write, what they’re allowed to write, who gets published, and by whom. What’s life like, even today, if you’re a writer from the other side of the tracks?’
Some initiatives that are making a noise are Kit de Vaal’s crowdfunded collection of essays Common People: An Anthology of Working Class Writing, and Liverpool Publisher Dead Ink’s Know Your Place: Essays On the Working Class by the Working Class.
Join our talented panel of writers and publishers to explore why class seems to still impact on who’s voices can be heard.
Kit de Waal’s novel My Name Is Leon was an international bestseller, shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award, long-listed for the Desmond Elliott Prize and won the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award for 2017. Her latest novel The Trick of Time is published in March 2018.
Catherine O’Flynn is the author of three novels and the editor of a short story collection. Her debut, What Was Lost, won the 2008 Costa First Novel Award and she was named Waterstone’s Newcomer of the Year at the British Book Awards. Her novels have been published in over 20 countries.
James Rice is a novelist and short story writer from Liverpool. His debut novel Alice and the Fly was published by Hodder and Stoughton in 2015 after he won Writing on the Wall’s Pulp Idol novel-writing competition. He is currently in the process of writing his second novel. He has an MA in Creative Writing and is an Associate Tutor in Creative Writing at Liverpool John Moores University, Edge Hill University, and Falmouth University in Penryn.
Nathan Connolly, Publishing Director at Dead Ink, a small, ambitious and experimental literary publisher based in Liverpool. Dead Ink work mainly with debut authors and have already published an impressive list of new novels. In response to a tweet after the Brexit vote from Nikesh Shukla The Good Immigrant calling for someone to do a Good Immigrant-style state of the nation book of essays by writers from working class backgrounds, Dead Ink crowdfunded and published Know Your Place.