Trade invited to join 2021's Working Class Writers' Festival

Trade invited to join 2021's Working Class Writers' Festival

The artistic director for The Working Class Writers' Festival is issuing a call-out to publishers, agents and booksellers to get involved in next year's event.

The festival, the brainchild of writer Natasha Carthew (pictured), and already boasting author talent including Mahsuda Snaith, Kerry Hudson and Juno Roche, is due to take place in October 2021 as part of the Bristol Festival of Ideas.

The festival will take place in several locations around Bristol including the Watershed Arts Venue and Cinema. Sam Missingham and Juliet Pickering are advisory committee members.

Carthew said: "I’m looking for people who understand how working-class writers are very often marginalised in the book industry and who are eager to commit to the festival; this could mean being a part of a speed-dating event, guest-speaking on the barriers to getting published/working in the industry as well as putting forward names of writers on their lists who might like to appear at the festival."

Carthew decided to embark on the project two years ago when, on the tour with her own book, she felt a lot of festivals were too similar and she realised not everybody was getting paid equally, impeding inclusion including for working-class writers. She kickstartinged the initiative on Twitter by posing: “Wouldn’t it be great if we had a festival that was a little more inclusive?”

Diverging from “the usual fiction panels”, the plan is for the line-up to include open mic sessions, comedy, storytelling, and even beatbox, while hosting writers from as many walks of life and genres as possible. Particularly important to Carthew is the fact that every guest speaker will be paid the same. The hope is that there will also be speed pitching events with editors and agents.

Those interested can email at workingclasswritersfestival@gmail.com and follow @ClassFestival for more news.