With Alison Light, Kit de Waal, Durre Shahwar and Nathan Connolly.
The history and experiences of working class people are coming into focus more sharply than ever. Alison Light’s acclaimed Common People told her own family’s story in terms of a public history that has no records, diaries, letters or even gravestones. Kit de Waal has crowd-funded for a new collection of writings by and about working class people – also called Common People. Nathan Connolly’s much-discussed Know Your Place is a collection of essays by working class writers, including Durre Shahwar. They will discuss with Sam Solnick what the notion of ‘common people’ means today.
Alison Light's last book, Common People: The History of an English Family, tracking her family over two centuries,was shortlisted for the 2014 Samuel Johnson prize in nonfiction. It was Book of the Year in the Times, Telegraph, Scottish Herald, Spectator, History Today and Financial Times. She holds a number of honorary academic positions, including a Professorial Fellowship at Edinburgh University, and is a regular contributor to the London Review of Books.
Kit de Waal, born to an Irish mother and Caribbean father, was brought up among the Irish community of Birmingham in the 1960s and 70s. Her debut novel My Name Is Leon was an international bestseller, shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award, long-listed for the Desmond Elliott Prize, and it won the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award for 2017.
Durre Shahwar is a writer, an Associate Editor for Wales Arts Review, and a Word Factory Apprentice 2017. She studied MA in Creative Writing at Cardiff Metropolitan University and is the co-founder of ‘Where I’m Coming From’, an open mic that promotes BAME writing in Wales. She writes fiction and creative non-fiction about a broad range of topics, including race, identity, gender and mental health. Durre's work has been published in various magazines and anthologies including Know Your Place.
Nathan Connolly is the director of Dead Ink Books, an independent press based in Liverpool and supported by Arts Council England. He is the editor of Know Your Place: Essays on the Working Class, by the Working Class, 2017.