A powerful, personal agenda-changing exploration of poverty in today’s Britain.
'When every day of your life you have been told you have nothing of value to offer, that you are worth nothing to society, can you ever escape that sense of being ‘lowborn’ no matter how far you’ve come?’
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.
‘One of the most important books of the year’ Guardian
Elegant, compassionate and powerful… tells the hidden story of what it means to be poor in Britain today
Compelling, fascinating and well-written, undeniably grim but peppered with humour and tenderness...Hudson demonstrates that only by lifting whole communities out of poverty...can we hope to avoid consigning children and young people like her – vulnerable and blameless – to the worst of lives
Lowborn is an insider’s view of the complexities of modern-day poverty, written with humour and compassion, but without judgement. It should be required reading for anyone who unknowingly believes poverty is a personal choice and that if you work hard enough you’ll avoid its fate… a fearless writer, an inspiring woman
Lowborn is in part an indictment of a country that claims to still have a functioning welfare state… Most of all, it is a moving portrait of the survival and eventual flourishing of a remarkable spirit
Where there are few working-class stories, there are fewer still from working-class women. Lowborn stands out as rare, as well as compassionately and skilfully told… Some books help us understand the world around us. Others do that, and make us feel less alone in it, too. Lowborn is one such book, holding out a hand of friendship to anyone who might pick it up and find something forgotten or familiar among its pages
Lowborn author Kerry Hudson is proudly working class, but she was never proudly poor. The poverty she grew up in was grinding and often dehumanising. She shares the vital role that libraries and books played in her life, and why we must do everything in our power to protect them.