Common People
Call to unpublished working-class prose writers for Kit de Waal’s anthology

Are you an unpublished prose writer who self-identifies as working class? Do you live in the East of England?

Inspired by a shared concern that working-class voices are increasingly absent from the pages of books and newspapers, novelist Kit de Waal has teamed up with the National Centre for Norwich and other regional writing development agencies to publish Common People: An Anthology of Working Class Writing.

Common People will bring together 16 well-known, established writers from working-class backgrounds alongside an equal number of exciting new voices.

The National Centre for Writing is seeking submissions of prose (adult fiction or memoir) from writers in the East of England (Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk) who are largely unpublished, for inclusion in the anthology.

This is your chance to be published alongside Damian Barr, Malorie Blackman OBE, Lisa Blower, Jill Dawson, Louise Doughty, Stuart Maconie, Chris McCrudden, Lisa McInerney, Paul McVeigh, Daljit Nagra, Dr Dave O’Brien, Cathy Rentzenbrink, Anita Sethi, Adelle Stripe, Tony Walsh, and Alex Wheatle.

The two writers selected from this region will be published in Common People, paid a £150 fee for their contribution, and will receive writer development support from Writers’ Centre Norwich.*

To apply for the project, please submit:

  • A piece of prose (adult fiction or memoir) of between 2,000 – 3,000 words
  • A description of up to 200 words, outlining your writing background and how you self-identify as a working-class writer

To be eligible for this project you must:

  • Identify as working class
  • Be over 18 and living in the East of England – Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk or Suffolk (for information on eligibility in other counties, see the bottom of this page)
  • Be an ‘emerging writer’ (with only modest previous publications)
  • Not have a current publishing contract or agent

The deadline for applications has now passed.

For further information on the fundraising campaign, visit the Unbound website. 

Terms & Conditions

The Common People Writer Development Programme, which is currently seeking funding, will run for approximately one year from spring/summer 2018 (dates TBC). This development programme will provide support through mentoring and training and a bursary to cover some costs that may be incurred through this work. We will contact the selected writers to ensure that any particular needs they have are considered when planning the development programme.

The Writer Development Programme is not a creative writing course. It is a development programme during which writers will be offered advice and guidance. The programme will not offer direct commentary on writing and will not publish or represent writers.

Copyright, as in all cases with programmes of this nature, remains with the writer.

Please be patient during the judging process. We expect a large volume of applications and may not be able to write directly to everyone who applies. Please be assured that if you are shortlisted or successful, we will get in touch with you.

The judges’ decision is final and we will not enter into discussions about the outcome of your submission.

We regret that we cannot return anything submitted with this application.

*subject to funding through Unbound Crowdfunding


Not from the East of England?

Our fellow regional writing development agencies are also seeking submissions for Common People:

New Writing South (South East)

New Writing North – to be announced shortly

Literature Works (South West)

Writing East Midlands

Writing West Midlands

Spread The Word (London)

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