From Proletariat to Precariat: Representations of Class and Identity in Working-class writing from the 1930s to the present

deadline for submissions: 
April 30, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
The University of Birmingham

We invite submissions to an interdisciplinary conference on working -class fiction, to be held at the University of Birmingham in June.


In a recent Guardian article Tim Lott laments the death of the English working-class novel and likewise that of the English working-class literary novelist. He qualifies his pronouncement, by remarking the delineation ‘English’ is used advisedly, for ‘the same is not true of Scotland’. Nevertheless, he may have also appended the modifiers ‘White’ and ‘Male’ before ‘English’ so as to complete the chain of associations traditionally linked to working-class writing.

This one-day conference will probe beyond the traditional conventions and assumptions of a working-class writing, to clear a space for the exploration of intersections between class, race, gender and politics. We invite proposals for papers of 20 minutes on any aspect of working-class fiction from the 1930s to the present. Topics might include:

  • No more hard work, no more work? AI and The Universal wage;
  • Shame and Respectability;
  • Working-class women writers;
  • From Colliery to Call-Centre: The changing face of the workplace;
  • Identity politics (race,  gender, class);
  • Working-Class Cinema: Documentary Cinema and Film;
  • Austerity fiction;
  • The Domestic Scene;
  • We also welcome papers from creative writers and artists engaging with working-class issues.

Submissions from postgraduates and early-career researchers are particularly welcome. Please submit abstracts of no more than 300 words to: by 30th April 2020. Please also include a brief biography, and indicate whether you would consider chairing a panel.