I’VE been thinking about class a lot recently. Especially because it’s a debate which seems to be cropping up again and again on Twitter.

Someone wrote online recently that they were “fed up” of seeing the same themes in books set in Glasgow and from Glaswegian writers. Themes like poverty, alcohol and substance abuse, gang fighting etc are exclusively what working class write about, according to the person that wrote that on Twitter. “Misery porn” is the term I see used a lot to describe literature which ventures into the darker side of the city.

These are the kinds of things written about by the few working class writers who manage to break through into the Scottish literary scene, that’s true. But, quite frankly, there aren’t enough of them. I’d definitely rather read something set in a scheme than some sprawling country estate populated with landed gentry.

Getting your book published isn’t easy and it can be even harder for working class writers.

I was really lucky in getting mine published. I was putting short stories online and getting my pals to read and share them.

After a few months of doing this, a new independent publisher took notice and took a punt on me. I felt like everyone I met in the industry was really welcoming to me. But after a while I soon noticed I was getting treated a bit differently to other, more middle class, people.

The way people spoke to me at events was condescending to say the least. They spoke to me, at best, like I was a child and at worst, like I was a caveman. It was all very, “Aw, you’ve written a wee book? Good for you, pal!”

Journalists I was interviewed by were only interested in my background. They made out as if it was some miracle that a guy who worked in a sports shop had written a book. “What’s it like being a working class writer?” “How do your working class pals treat you now?” “What was your upbringing like?” “Just how poor were you?” “Did you know what a book was before you wrote one?” “Do you get electricity in your little council hovel?”

They might as well have sat me down and ruffled my hair. No-one in the run up to my first book coming out, and for a while after, ever asked me anything to do with book itself.

During the process of editing and checking my last book, my use of commas was called into question. “Given his education,” someone wrote in the notes, “he wouldn’t know any better.”

I felt like giving up then and there, feeling like nothing I did was ever going to be taken seriously.

That’s why I got so annoyed about what that person on

Twitter said about books set in Glasgow. It felt to me like they, and a lot of other people, see working class writing as somehow beneath “normal writing”.

It felt like they were saying that our stories, our lived experiences, don’t make for great literature. Perhaps because their lives feel so different and detached from the Glasgow depicted in these books. But what message does that send to aspiring working class writers out there?

Imagine putting the finishing touches to your gritty coming-of-age novel set in Glasgow, something you’ve been working on for years, only to be told that people are fed up of reading books set in schemes featuring the issues you’ve written about?

If this is you in this position then let me be clear; there’s plenty of people who’d love to read that.

Write about things you’ve experienced, things you don’t see enough of in the books you read, and don’t let anyone tell you it’s too dark or too gritty or that it’s not high brow enough or some other nonsense.

There also seems to be a trend of people expecting Scottish writers to “sanitise” their work.

To remove the more “unpleasant” aspects of their writing, remove the gritty and the dark, leaving only the palatable and shallow behind. You see it with the Scots language as well. English people will rarely give a book written in Scots a chance, claiming it’s too difficult to read. Turning their noses up at it as if it’s written exclusively to exclude them.

If we can’t write about things that have happened to us in our lives, if we can’t even write the way we talk, then where does that leave Scottish working class writers?

There may well be more to us than writing about schemes and alcoholism but those stories deserve to be told.

I predict there will be a big pushback from us and there’ll be a glorious new era of Scottish writing just around the corner. We’re here, there’s loads of us with stories to tell, and we’re not going to let people tell us to shut up and be quiet.