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Working-Class Writers Festival Receives Funding

Working-Class Writers Festival
Class Festival

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A new literature festival showcasing working-class writers has received funding from Arts Council England.

The Working-Class Writers Festival will provide much-needed exposure to working-class writers, inspire young people from similar backgrounds and showcase authentic stories reflective of and relatable to the experiences of working-class communities. Running from 22 – 24 October 2021 the festival will take place in a variety of Bristol venues and on digital platforms, and will include panel discussions, speaker events and workshops.

Artistic Director, and award-winning writer, Natasha Carthew said ‘It’s taken me three years to make The Working-Class Writers Festival a reality, but a lifetime to highlight the barriers we Working-Class Writers face every day; that’s why I’ve created a festival for future generations of writers, an accessible festival that will celebrate the work of working class writers for years to come. Commissioning and showcasing writers of all styles and disciplines is at the heart of this festival, providing a platform for both established and debut writers to get involved with both live and online events. The Working-Class Writers Festival will not only provide a platform for Working-Class Writers, but will set precedence among festivals that will make attendance more affordable and accessible to all’

Writers that are set to appear include Stella Duffy, Val McDermid, Paul Mendez, Mohsin Zaidi, Tracy King, Graham Caveney, Mahsuda Snaith, Kerry Hudson, Sam Friedman, Lorraine Brown, Mark Hodkinson, Juno Roche, Justin Myers, Patrice Lawrence, Tony Walsh, Cash Carraway, Courttia Newland, Dave O’Brian, Tanya Shadwick, Mona Arshi, Simon Kvosi, Mary O’Hara, Joelle Taylor, Amer Anwar, Jessica Andrews, James McDermott, Sharon Duggal and Cole Moreton.

As well as author events, the programme will also include writing workshops, a writer in residency and a new anthology of work by working-class writers.

The full programme will be announced in the summer. It will include: an event with Hat Trick TV Productions; panel discussions on tackling socio-economic inequality in the UK with Policy Press, folktales and feminism with Virago Press and demystifying publishing with Hachette UK; workshops and masterclasses with writers; and a chance for aspiring writers to speed-pitch to editors from Hachette UK and other top UK literacy agents. Events will be held in Bristol venues including Watershed and Knowle West Media Centre, as well as online.

The Working-Class Writers Festival has received a grant of £43,090 from Arts Council England, as well as sponsorship support from Hachette, Penguin and the University of Bristol.

Phil Gibby, Area Director, Arts Council England, South West, said: ‘We are thrilled to support this exciting new project, the Working-Class Writers Festival, through our National Lottery Project Grants funding programme. With a focus on accessibility, the literature festival will provide a crucial platform for working-class writers to showcase their work, whilst also encouraging aspiring writers from similar backgrounds to pursue a career in literature through workshops, masterclasses and speaker events. At the Arts Council, we believe in creating new opportunities for every person in England to get creative and enjoy brilliant culture, which is why we’re so pleased to support this important new festival, made possible thanks to National Lottery players.

You can follow the festival on Twitter at @classfestival.

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