Common People: where are the working class writers?


Are you an unpublished working class prose writer trying to get in to print?

Submit to Common People – An Anthology of Working Class Writers by 12 noon on Friday 2 March for a chance to be published in this ground-breaking anthology celebrating working class writing, edited by novelist Kit de Waal.

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 Spread the Word, alongside the other regional writing organisations, to publisher new writers with established writers and to provide a writing development programme.

Common People will bring together sixteen well-known writers from working class backgrounds with an equal number of new writers.

This is your chance to be published alongside 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, and Alex Wheatle.

Spread the Word is seeking submissions of personal memoir from London writers who are largely unpublished for inclusion in the anthology. The three writers selected will be published in Common People and will be offered writer development support from Spread the Word.

To be eligible you must:

  • Live in London (check that you have a Greater London post code here)

  • Consider yourself from a working class background

  • Be an ‘emerging writer’ (with only modest previous publications)

  • Not have an agent or publishing contract

To enter, you must submit:

  • A piece of prose memoir between 2,000 and 3,000 words in length

  • A short (max. 200 works) Two Year Writing History (short biography indicating your writing history, publication history and writing ambitions)

  • A brief description of why you consider yourself to be working class (max. 200 words)

If selected you will be paid a publication fee of £75 for your piece and you must be happy to take part in our Regional Working Class Writers Development Programme, which is currently seeking funding, and will run for approximately 1 year from April 2018. This Development Programme will provide support through mentoring and training and a bursary to cover some costs that may be incurred through this work. We will contact the selected writers to ensure that any particular needs they have are considered when planning the development programme.

The deadline for submission is 12 noon on Friday 2 March 2018.

Your application will take approximately 20 minutes. Please note that you are not able to save the application mid-way through, so will need to complete it in one sitting.

Terms & Conditions

The Common People Writer Development Programme is not a creative writing course. It is a development programme during which writers will be offered advice and guidance. The programme will not offer direct commentary on writing and will not publish or represent writers.

Copyright, as in all cases with programmes of this nature, remains with the writer.

Please be patient during the judging process. We expect a large volume of applications and may not be able to write directly to everyone who applies. Please be assured that if you are shortlisted or successful, we will get in touch with you. The judges’ decision is final and we will not enter into discussions about the outcome of your submission. We regret that we cannot return anything submitted with this application.

Published 22 January 2018