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Call for Submissions from Working Class Writers

In a recent documentary on BBC Radio 4, 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 came together with publishers Unbound to create the hugely successful Common People anthology.

The Observer recently described Kit de Waal’s My Name Is Leon and Paul McVeigh’s The Good Son as the ‘exceptional working-class novels from the last few years’ so it seems apt that Kit passes the baton to Paul to edit The 32: An Anthology of Irish Working Class Writers.

Like Common PeopleThe 32 will be a collection of essays and memoir, bringing together sixteen well-known writers from working class backgrounds with an equal number of new and emerging writers from all over the island of Ireland.

These new writers will be selected by an open call and we are working with the Irish Writers Centre to provide additional support.

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. The 32 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 The 32 and join these writers to help to make a difference.

Contributors So Far Include:

Claire Allan, Kevin Barry, Dermot Bolger , June Caldwell , Martin Doyle , Roddy Doyle , Rosaleen McDonagh , Lyra McKee  , Lisa McInerney , Dave Lordan , Danielle McLaughlin , Eoin McNamee , Melatu Uche Okorie , Senator Lynn Ruane , Rick O’Shea , Dr Michael Pierse

We are now open for submissions from working-class writers from all over Ireland.

Submission criteria:

  • Writers are invited to submit a piece of memoir of up to a maximum of 2,500 words.
  • This should be supported by a 500-word personal statement about you, your writing, your background. Please also include your full address and confirmation that you do not have an agent, have not published a book, nor have a publishing contract for a book. (You may have been published in a journal or newspaper).
  • You must be resident in the island of Ireland to be eligible to submit. Writers of Irish origin resident in other countries are not eligible.
  • Deadline for submissions is 6pm on Friday 1st May Any submissions received after that time cannot be considered.
  • Submissions should be in the form of a Word document (.doc or .docx) and emailed to the32@unbound.co.uk
  • We regret we are unable to accept postal submissions.
  • All submissions must be typed in black, any font, 12 pt, and double-spaced. Pages should be numbered.
  • All submissions will be read by the editor and Unbound, and sixteen pieces will be chosen to be included in the book.
  • Writers will be informed of the final decision by Friday 29th May
  • All further enquiries should be emailed to the32@unbound.co.uk
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