‘Shy Bairns get Nowt’ by Chris McCrudden

This anthology has some wonderful essays and short stories, but McCrudden’s story resonated with me because I grew up in the north-east and instantly recognised his grandmothers, both of whom sit firmly on either side of the hierarchal fence that runs directly through the centre of a north-east council estate. McCrudden’s incredibly wry, yet often poignant memoir exposes the aspirations and complexities of working-class families, almost as if he had held up a mirror of my own experiences. Littered with humour, ‘Shy Bairns get Nowt’ is a brilliant introduction to his writing.  

First published in Common People: An Anthology of Working-Class Writers, ed. Kit de Waal, Unbound, 2019