Common People: Breaking the Glass Ceiling in UK Publishing

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The under-representation of British working-class writers in the twenty-first century UK publishing industry has been identified by major presses including Penguin and Hachette and the British government as a significant social and economic challenge to the vitality of publishing and its contribution to the British creative economy today and in the future. In 2018 Arts Council England funded the first ever writing development programme - Common People - aimed at redressing this balance and enhancing the visibility of British working-class writers. The resultant Common People writing development programme was aimed at British working-class writers wanting to enter the UK literary industry ran for twelve months from August 2018 to August 2019.
This article evaluates the impact of this unique initiative on both creatives and the creative industries in the UK, as well as on wider industry awareness of the presence and impact of the class ceiling in UK publishing today. It draws on evaluation evidence from the writers, mentors, writing agencies, literary agents, publishers and academics who took part in the programme and assesses for the first time the impact of a targeted class-based writing development programme on creatives and the creative industries in the UK, as well as on professional awareness of the challenge posed by the class ceiling in the wider UK creative industries today.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to Working-Class Literature
EditorsBen Clarke
ISBN (Print)9781032127866
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 14 Mar 2023

Publication series

NameRoutledge Literature Companions

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