Working-class artists continue to be hugely underrepresented in the arts industries, though they make up a third of the British population. These professions are already notoriously hard to get into, but working class artists face extra challenges, from unpaid work reinforcing social disparity, to prejudice. How do we break this cycle of inequality in the arts? In Smashing It, leading musicians, playwrights, visual artists, filmmakers and writers share how they overcame obstacles, from the financial to the philosophical, to make it in the arts.

Edited by acclaimed poet and playwright Sabrina Mahfouz, it celebrates the achievements of working class artists in Britain, from the … More

Working-class stories are not always tales of the underprivileged & dispossessed. Common People is a collection of essays, poems & memoir written in celebration, not apology: these are narratives rich in barbed humour, reflecting the depth & texture of working-class life, the joy & sorrow, the solidarity & the differences, the everyday wisdom & poetry of the woman at the bus stop, the waiter, the hairdresser. Here, Kit de Waal brings together 33 established & emerging writers who invite you to experience the world through their eyes, their voices loud & clear as they reclaim & redefine what it means to be working class.

Features original pieces from Damian Barr, Malorie Blackman, Lisa Blower, Jill Dawson, Louise Doughty, Stuart Maconie, Chris McCrudden, Lisa McInerney, … More

“In ‘Why I Write’, Orwell entertainingly declared: “All writers are vain, selfish & lazy, & at the very bottom of their motives there lies a mystery. Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness.” He divided reasons for soldiering on into “sheer egoism”, “aesthetic enthusiasm”, “historical impulse” & “political purpose”. Like Orwell, Levy is entertaining & makes his categories her chapter headings. But, unlike Orwell, she is not steadily organised. She is a maker not a clearer up of mysteries. And she is fugitive. It is this that gives the book its subtle, unpredictable, surprising atmosphere.”

The opening line hooks one instantly: “That spring when life was hard and I was at war with my lot … More