Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Writing Working-Class Fiction

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Think Human Event

Who this event is for

  • Everyone


Lecture Theatre, John Henry Brookes Building, Headington Campus, Gipsy Lane site


Kerry Hudson, Kit de Waal and Alex Wheatle are celebrated contemporary British novelists who have all written working-class experience into their fiction. At this event, the novelists are hosted by writer and critic Boyd Tonkin.

They will read from their work, and then discuss the problems they have encountered in being working-class writers, the creative responses they have formulated in their writing of working-class experience, and the wider issues of publishing and literary culture in relation to working-class writing and authorship. The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Oxford Brookes has a rich tradition of research into working-class life and culture, across literature, history and the social sciences.

Kerry Hudson

Born in Aberdeen, Kerry Hudson’s first novel, TONY HOGAN BOUGHT ME AN ICE-CREAM FLOAT BEFORE HE STOLE MY MA won the Scottish First Book Award and was shortlisted for the Southbank Sky Arts Literature Award, Guardian First Book Award, Green Carnation Prize, Author’s Club First Novel Prize and the Polari First Book Award. Kerry’s second novel, THIRST won France’s Prix Femina Étranger.

Kit de Waal

Kit de Waal was born in Birmingham to an Irish mother and Caribbean father, and worked for fifteen years in criminal and family law, for Social Services and the Crown Prosecution Service. A graduate of the MA Creative Writing at Oxford Brookes, her debut novel MY NAME IS LEON won the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year 2017 and was shortlisted for other awards including the Costa First Book Award and the Desmond Elliott Prize. Her second novel THE TRICK TO TIME is published in March 2018.

Alex Wheatle

Born in London of Jamaican parents, Alex Wheatle published his first book, BRIXTON ROCK, in 1999. He has since written many award-winning novels including EAST OF ACRE LANE, ISLAND SONGS, LICCLE BIT and, most recently, STRAIGHT OUTTA CRONGTON. In 2008 he was awarded an MBE for services to literature. In 2016 CRONGTON KNIGHTS won the 50th Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize.

The panel’s host, Boyd Tonkin, is a writer and critic for The Financial Times, the Economist, and The Spectator (among many other publications), a BBC broadcaster, and Special Adviser to the Man Booker International Prize.