BONUS: Class as a barrier in the publishing industry podcast


Class is still a barrier to entry and progression in many sectors, and the publishing industry is no stranger to issues of diversity & inclusion. We speak to Professor Katy Shaw, author of The Common People Report, to talk about the barriers that working-class writers experience and the changes needed in the publishing industry to survive and thrive.

We're joined by Professor Katy Shaw from the University of Northumbria. Katy's research focusses on 21st century writings exploring working class literature and cultural representations of post-industrial regeneration. Katy is the author of The Common People Report, which identifies pervasive barriers in the way of working-class writers and makes a rallying call for change in the publishing industry and strongly recommends more effective and better funding for collaborative working. This episode explores how the Common People Report identified the ways class plays out as a barrier within the publishing industry.

Speaker profile(s)

Professor Katy Shaw leads research into twenty-first century writings at Northumbria University. Her research interests include contemporary literature, especially working-class literature, cultural representations of post-industrial regeneration and the languages of comedy. Katy is an expert in twenty-first century literature. She has produced two books on crime author David Peace, a monograph on representations of the Credit Crunch in contemporary culture, and a collection on the teaching of twenty-first century genre fiction. She is a public intellectual, literary festival host, media presenter and Twitterer. @ProfKatyShaw

In this episode

We discuss the following topics:

  • The importance of diversity of voice in publishing
  • The barriers of class and what that means in today’s working environment
  • The Common People project and subsequent report, which highlights the need for mentoring and peer networks to diversify the voices within the publishing industry.
  • How does class intersect with broader areas of inclusivity, such as race, gender, religion, disability?
  • The need for regional diversity in publishing and other sectors.
  • The implications of COVID-19 on accelerating these conversations and disrupting the status-quo when it comes to decentralising the publishing industry.

Read transcript

Find out more about New Writing North.

Visit the New Writing North website to discover more about the Common People project and read the report.

Learn more about Emerald’s global inclusivity report. Katy mentions the top barriers to inclusivity, which can be found in 'Through the barricades: establishing barriers to inclusivity'.

Visit the Unbound website, to learn more about this publisher.

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