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Class prejudice holds back working-class talent

Radical changes are required in the publishing industry for working-class writers to overcome the multiple challenges they face in a sector from which they are largely excluded, posits GAVIN O’TOOLE

NOVELIST Kit de Waal told an audience in Listowel, Ireland, last Thursday that an important shift in attitudes and practices is needed in order to break the class ceiling in literature.

“Change needs to come not just by supporting working-class people to write but from the industry itself — who it employs, so that when people are reading stories from working-class writers they are understanding them — but secondly the publishing industry has to value the stories that working-class people want to write about,” she said.

De Waal was speaking during the panel A Working Class Writer is Something to Be at Listowel Writers’ Week in Kerry, Ireland’s oldest literary and arts festival, first held in 1971.


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