Unbound Anthology of Irish Working Class Voices Invites Submissions

Unbound Anthology of Irish Working Class Voices Invites Submissions

Following on from the hugely successful Common People anthology, edited by Kit de Waal and published to great acclaim last year by Unbound, an Irish version, edited by Belfast novelist Paul McVeigh, is now fully funded, hitting its target via pledges from the Unbound crowdfunding platform, with support from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, and will be published in 2021.

Paul was a contributor to Common People and The Observer recently described both his novel, The Good Son and Kit de Waal’s My Name Is Leon as the 'exceptional working-class novels from the last few years' so it seems apt that Kit passes the baton to Paul to edit The 32: An Anthology of Irish Working Class Voices

Like Common People, The 32 will be a collection of essays and memoir, bringing together sixteen well-known writers from working class backgrounds with an equal number of new and emerging writers from all over the island of Ireland. These new writers are to be selected via an open call for submissions, details of which are below. 

The Irish Writers Centre in Dublin will help to secure a platform for writers from diverse backgrounds through links to industry networking, mentorships, workshops and professional training for working class writers. 

Too often, working class writers find that the hurdles they have to leap are higher and harder to cross than for writers from more affluent backgrounds. The 32 will see writers who have made that leap reach back to give a helping hand to those coming up behind.

Contributors so far include: Claire Allan, Kevin Barry, Dermot Bolger, June Caldwell, Martin Doyle, Roddy Doyle, Rosaleen McDonagh, Lyra McKee, Lisa McInerney, Dave Lordan, Danielle McLaughlin, Eoin McNamee, Melatu Uche Okorie, Senator Lynn Ruane, Rick O’Shea and Dr Michael Pierse

Paul says: “I’m honoured to be editing this important anthology. As a working-class boy from Belfast, I didn’t think I could be a writer. I didn’t see my world portrayed in books and I didn’t see examples of people like me writing books. I hope this book will change that for future generations.”

Kit says: “Like Common People, The 32 will celebrate our lives and experiences and offer new and emerging writers an opportunity to be published. It’s important, it’s timely, and it’s going to be great. I can hardly wait to read it.”


Writers resident in the island of Ireland are invited to submit now.  

  • Writers are invited to submit a piece of memoir of up to a maximum of 2,500 words. 
  • This should be supported by a 500-word personal statement about you, your writing, your background. Please also include your full address and confirmation that you do not have an agent, have not published a book, nor have a publishing contract for a book.  (You may have been published in a journal or newspaper).
  • You must be resident in the island of Ireland to be eligible to submit.  Writers of Irish origin resident in other countries are not eligible. 
  • Deadline for submissions is 6pm on Friday 1st May.  Any submissions received after that time cannot be considered.
  • Submissions should be in the form of a Word document (.doc or .docx) and emailed to the32@unbound.co.uk
  • We regret we are unable to accept postal submissions.
  • All submissions must be typed in black, any font, 12 pt, and double-spaced. Pages should be numbered.
  • All submissions will be read by the editor and Unbound, and sixteen pieces will be chosen to be included in the book.
  • Writers will be informed of the final decision by Friday 29th May. 

All further enquiries should be emailed to the32@unbound.co.uk