Common People

Date: October 10, 2019
Time: 12:00 am - 12:00 am
Location: Elgar Concert Hall, Bramall Music Building, University of Birmingham, Birmingham

Common People is a collection of essays, poems and memoir written by working-class writers.

These are narratives rich in barbed humour, reflecting the depth and texture of working class life. The anthology brings together 33 established and emerging writers who invite you to experience the world through their eyes.

Join anthology contributors Stuart Maconie, Lynne Voyce, Emma Purshouse and Lisa Blower for a discussion about their stories and what it means to be a working class writer.

Written in celebration, not apology, this anthology gives voice to perspectives that are increasingly absent from our books and newspapers. Common People ensures they are heard loud and clear.

Chaired by Jonathan Davidson.

About the speakers:

Lisa Blower is the author of the short story collection It’s Gone Dark Over Bill’s Mother’s (Myriad 2019) and a contributor to Common People edited by Kit de Waal. Her fiction has appeared in The Guardian, Comma Press anthologies, The New Welsh Review, The Luminary, Short Story Sunday, and on Radio 4. Her debut novel Sitting Ducks was shortlisted for the inaugural Arnold Bennett Prize 2017 and longlisted for The Guardian Not the Booker 2016.

Stuart Maconie is a writer, broadcaster and journalist specialising in British social history, landscape, politics and pop culture. He currently hosts shows across the BBC radio networks and is president of the Ramblers, hoping to encourage that august organisation to stay true to its roots in working-class dissent.

Lynne Voyce grew up on a council estate in Ellesmere Port; a place full of larger-than-life characters, tall tales, and the odd dodgy deal. Inspired by her dad buying The Literary Classics Collection with some of his redundancy money, she studied English at the University of Leeds, and went on to take a teaching qualification and then a postgraduate degree in educational psychology. Lynne now works in an inner-city comprehensive school in Birmingham. She has published more than fifty individual short stories, won a number of literary competitions, and, in December 2015, published her first story collection, Kirigami, with Ink Tears Press. She is currently working on her first novel.

Emma Purshouse left school in the early 1980s at the age of fifteen, initially working on various government schemes interspersed with bouts of extreme unemployment. She gave education another go as a mature student, attaining a BA from Wolverhampton University and an MA in creative writing from Manchester Met.
For the last twelve years Emma has been making a living as a writer and performance poet. Her passion is writing about the working-class communities that she has lived in, often making use of Black Country dialect within her work. In 2017 she won the international Making Waves spoken-word poetry competition judged by Luke Wright. Emma co-runs a successful spoken-word night in the Black Country.

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