For International Day for the Eradication of Poverty 2020(this will open in a new window) we’re giving away five book group sets of Kerry Hudson’s Lowborn: Growing Up, Getting Away and Returning to Britain’s Poorest Towns(this will open in a new window). Simply enter the question below for the chance to win a set of ten copies of Lowborn for your group.
Kerry Hudson is proudly working class but she was never proudly poor. The poverty she grew up in was all-encompassing, grinding and often dehumanising. Always on the move with her single mother, Kerry attended nine primary schools and five secondaries, living in B&Bs and council flats. She scores eight out of ten on the Adverse Childhood Experiences measure of childhood trauma.
Twenty years later, Kerry’s life is unrecognisable. She’s a prizewinning novelist who has travelled the world. She has a secure home, a loving partner and access to art, music, film and books. But she often finds herself looking over her shoulder, caught somehow between two worlds.
Lowborn is Kerry’s exploration of where she came from. She revisits the towns she grew up in to try to discover what being poor really means in Britain today and whether anything has changed. Lowborn was shortlisted for the Saltire Non-Fiction Book of the Year Award in 2019.
An extract from Lowborn
Shall we start with a happy ending? I made it. I rose. I escaped poverty. I escaped bad food because that’s all you can afford. I escaped threadbare clothes and too-tight shoes. I escaped drinking or drugging myself into oblivion because... because. I probably escaped the early mortality rates and preventable diseases – we’ll see. I escaped obesity. I escaped the higher rate of domestic abuse. I escaped sink estates, burnt-out houses and ice-cream vans selling drugs at the school gates. I escaped Jeremy Kyle in a shiny suit telling me my sort was scum. I escaped casual, grim violence fuelled by frustration and Special Brew. I escaped benefits queues and means assessments and shitty zero-hour contracts. I escaped hopelessness. I lived more of that life, my first twenty years, than I’ve lived of this infinitely cushier one since. And the names still ring in my head every day: chav, scav, lowlife, NED, underclass, lowborn.