Independent publisher Dead Ink Books is to publish a book of essays written by working class authors in a bid to "challenge preconceptions" following the "messy" EU referendum vote.
Inspired by author Nikesh Shukla, who in response to the political, social and cultural uncertainty triggered by Brexit, tweeted: “Someone should do a [...] state of the nation book of essays by writers from working class backgrounds. I’d read the crap out of that”.
The anthology, titled Know Your Place, will be a book of essays on the working class written by the working class. Dead Ink intends to crowdfund the book and will put a campaign together in due course, but first "needs a book".
The publisher is looking for any writers who "self-identify, or partially identify, as working class". The press is also actively encouraging BAME writers from working class backgrounds to contribtue to the anthology, with a spokesperson saying: "The working class is not just the white working class. In fact, we believe that this book will be all the better the more varied and diverse the perspectives it can apply to the issue of class are".
Dead Ink editor and director Nathan Connelly told The Bookseller: “I'm hoping that it will shape up to be a book that disproves myths and allows writers to challenge preconceptions about what it is like to be thought of as working class in 21st Century Britain. I hope that it also allows those trying to make a living as a writer, or in publishing, who are working class to see their voices recognised and acknowledged. It is important to see similar voices to your own reflected in the media that you consume.”
He added: “Seeing this book appear from something like a Twitter conversation, and seeing the immediate response that it has had, is more than just inspiring. The working class is complex, it is not monolithic, and its very notion continues to have a direct effect upon people's lives. For all the progress that we have made, class is still in an issue in this country – one that continues to have myriad positive and negative consequences. The book came from a conversation that has, in a small way, led to something happening. I hope the book itself can do the same.”
Shukla, who was named one of The Bookseller's rising stars for the Class of 2016, told The Bookseller: “The horrific messy campaigns for the referendum, on both sides, showed how easy politicians find it to speak for and about marginalised communities that they have no knowledge, experience or empathy for. It's great to see these different communities embracing the #ownvoices campaign and gaining a huge momentum online to bring books like this out. Well done Dead Ink for taking up the fight. I'm glad the work we put into The Good Immigrant (Unbound) is inspiring other marginalised communities to feel empowered to tell their own stories. I look forward to the book.”
Last December, Shukla launched an anthology about race and immigration titled The Good Immigrant on crowd-funding site Unbound, with JK Rowling pledging £5,000 to support it. The book will be available to buy from 22nd September.
Shukla also inspired author and freelance editor KJ Charles to offer free development edits to aspiring romance writers to “make for a more inclusive publishing landscape” following Brexit.
Submissions for Know Your Place will close on Thursday 8th September. More information about the anthology and how to submit can be found here.