There is a new and long overdue strand of literature emerging from the rise of the working-class author.
From Darren McGarvey’s Orwell Book Prize-winning and best-selling debut Poverty Safari to Kerry Hudson’s recently-released Lowborn, the new crop are putting pen to paper on their painful experiences of poverty.
The newest recruit is Cash Carraway, whose debut Skint Estate is due for release on Thursday.
Skint Estate is a story of survival through one of the largest projects of gentrification that Cash describes as the social cleansing of the native-born and low-income Londoner.
Although she now has a council tenancy in an area that bears the highest rate of UK knife crime, Cash started writing her book in a homeless hostel and still receives Universal Credit.
She spoke to me about the surreal moment when she told her Job Centre work coach she had a book deal with Penguin.
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It is ironic that an advance Cash received for a recent play she wrote, called ‘Refuge Woman’, led to a benefit sanction which made her homeless.
Cash, 38, has an unusual CV having, at one point, held down six jobs in an effort to ensure the survival of both her and her eight-year-old daughter Biddy.
But the role she describes in most detail is the years she spent naked on a peep show stage in London’s Soho.
Customers quickly became infatuated with Cash’s changing physique while pregnant and she describes undignified moments when men made graphic demands.
Reflecting on her pregnancy, Cash fought back against peer pressure from her daughter’s father and friends to have an abortion and says the notion never even crossed her mind.
She said: “My daughter saved me during that dark time.
“I spent many times sitting on Hampstead Heath overlooking a panoramic view of London talking to my bump.”
And despite the political threads woven through the tapestry of Skint Estate, Cash is very matter of fact about her reasons for writing.
“There is no time for socialism when you are surviving,” she said.
“I write mainly so I can feed my daughter.”
As Cash and I drew our conversation to a close last week, there was a knock at the door with a delivery from her publisher.
As she ripped open the package containing 14 copies of her new book, she told me that each of her working class friends intend to buy several copies to give away, while her middle class friends keep asking if she can get them a free copy.
I asked how she felt holding so many copies of her book.
“It is a lovely feeling, kind of exciting,” she said.
“I feel quite strange right now – I think I feel hopeful.”