on Depicting Social Class
“All of the money that changes hands in the book industry is actually just people paying to belong to a class of people who read books. That is something I’m worried about and feel implicated in.”
Meet five writers with different backgrounds exploring social structures and class through their writing.
Natasha Brown’s novel, Assembly, raises questions on social class through a story set in the financial world in London. Sally Rooney reflects on the business of books: “All of the money that changes hands in the book industry is actually just people paying to belong to a class of people who read books. That is something I’m worried about and feel implicated in.” Renowned writer Irvine Welsh has created a whole genre within his literature, which he calls “post-industrial adjustment”. Irish writer Douglas Stuart says: “I’m always thinking about queerness from a working-class point of view. I think that’s a very underserved place in literature.” Lastly, Imbolo Mbue shares her thoughts on investigating the differences and similarities between a “Wall Street”-family and an immigrant family in her book Behold the Dreamers (2016).
Natasha Brown (b. 1990) is a British writer. She grew up in London and studied Maths at Cambridge University, where she spent a decade working in financial services. Her debut novel Assembly was shortlisted for the Folio Prize, the Goldsmiths Prize, and The Books are my bag Fiction Award.
Sally Rooney (b. 1991) is an Irish writer. Rooney is the author of Conversations with Friends (2017), Normal People (2018) and Beautiful World Where Are You (2021). Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Granta, and The London Review of Books. Moreover, she is the editor of the Irish literary journal The Stinging Fly.
Irvine Welsh (b. 1958) is a Scottish novelist, short story writer and screen- and playwright dubbed ‘the poet laureate of the chemical generation’. Welsh, whose work is characterised by a raw Scots dialect and brutal depictions of Edinburgh life, shot to fame with the publication of ‘Trainspotting’ in 1993. Several of his novels have been adapted into plays and films. Welsh, who also occasionally works as a DJ, currently lives in Dublin and Miami.
Douglas Stuart (b. 1976) is an Irish writer who published his debut novel ‘Shuggie Bain’ in 2020. It won the Booker Prize 2020 and the Fiction Debut of the Year 2021 – British Book Awards. In 2022 Douglas Stuart is to publish his second novel, ‘Young Mungo’, described as a vivid portrayal of working-class life and the story of the dangerous first love of two young men.
Imbolo Mbue (b. 1982) is a Cameroonian-American author based in New York City. She holds a B.S. from Rutgers University and an M.A. from Columbia University. Her debut novel ‘Behold the Dreamers’ was released to great reviews in 2016.
Interviews by Marc-Christoph Wagner, Kathrine Tschemerinsky, Christian Lund and Jesper Stein.
Filmed by Jarl Therkelsen Kaldan, Jakob Solbakken, Miguel de Zuviría, Nicanor Montes and Rasmus Quistgaard.
Produced and edited by Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
Louisiana Channel is supported by Den A.P. Møllerske Støttefond, Ny Carlsbergfondet, C.L. Davids Fond og Samling and Fritz Hansen
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