Is It Luck or Hard Work?
I am lucky. I work hard. There, I said it. I write what I want to write. I get stories and a novel published, and I’m a working class writer. Why do I mention class? Well, I live in the UK and Kit De Waal’s new book: Common People: An Anthology of Working Class Writers has been crowdfunded at unbound.com and her article Shut Out: Where are all the working class writers? was published in the Guardian recently, so I’m thinking about class and the author at the moment, and it seems ok to be able to talk about both.
So, Where Are All the Working Class Writers?
The answer to that question is definitely not aspiring to be something someone else wants you to be. Gaining writing credits in the US and overseas generally is where I am Anywhere that favours subjects that are considered taboo in the UK is where I want to be.
I’m as huge fan of writing credits having gained loads of them. People who like to denounce the writing credit and the MA as “worthless”, generally don’t have either. I have both, which is why I consider myself to be very lucky. Credits are empowering. They fuel confidence and optimism and they help you maintain the path of most resistance which is basically what you’re up against in terms of class.
So, it was no surprise to me that my story, The North is So Much Better For Youngsters Today, first published in Transmission 4, was cherry-picked at the excellent ABC Tales.
So, Is the North So Much Better Today?
This story deals with the false positivism that’s being rolled out across the whole of Britain now in preparation for you-know-what. I’m very pleased I wrote it when I did, in 2006, because I couldn’t write it now. At the time, I was very conscious of Britain divided. I was seeing property programmes aimed at southern landlords buying properties in the impoverished north, where the jubilant TV hosts were trotting out these glib phrases. The BBC was moving to Salford, too, and I found Phil and Kirsty’s brave new world very hard to believe. But it was more than that. Could 13 million jobs go and urban areas replaced by gentrification and buy-to-let landlords? No, of course not. There’s an undercurrent in Britain that’s seething, and I’m pleased to say my ironic story title now looks even better. I love it. The post-industrial landscape of the north-west of England, where I’m from, looks even greater. No-one could say I didn’t write it in the way it felt at the time.
No Gender Politics Though?
That’s not true. My novel The Punished (Crooked Cat Books, 2017) is a coming of age novel about two women who take on the establishment that seeks to silence them.