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