Commonword was established in 1977 as a working class writing project, running writing workshops and publishing Write On (a regular magazine of work written by Commonword members). From its inception Commonword was an active member of the Federation of Worker Writers and Community Publishers and became, for many, the focal point of working class writing and literature in Manchester.
From the early eighties our work grew to include many of the most marginalised in society. We published extensively the prose, poetry and life writing of the black, disabled and LGBT+ communities, extending our reach across Greater Manchester and the North West.
The archive we have built up of our work, and of the writers we have worked with, is in many ways representative of the literary activist history across the country as a whole. In our 40 year history we have reflected and anticipated many of the radical politics and movements of the time, consistently championing voices and communities that faced prejudice and denial, working alongside them as they gained mainstream recognition, if not approval.
The Commonword Community Archive Project has been running since 2018 and will soon be launching, with much of our archived material available online.
Please check back for more information in June.
BELOW: early Commonword publications, audio of poems from the archive by Elaine Okoro, and an intro to the archive project (video).