And this is something else that’s, part of the purpose, part of the purpose, there was a lot of, there was a lot of practice, vernacular practice, tacit knowledge, stuff which is lost because it’s the unvalued, ordinary life of ordinary people. And in all these books and these stories and poems and autobiographical accounts, you’ve got all this knowledge of how to run a fish and chip shop, or how certain engineering processes take place, or how somebody as a cleaner operates. All the tricks of their trade, you know. Points where the penny has dropped for them about the meaning of life. That’s fascinating.
Nick Pollard grew up in Kent and Swindon, and later moved to Sheffield to study. It was here that he picked up strong left wing political views and developed an interest in working class writing. After spending time working in a betting shop and a pub, he moved to Falmouth to study radio journalism, and after that came to London intending to become a journalist. He lived in London for ten months in 1982-1983, and found an unsatisfying job as a transcriber. Nick was living in Stoke Newington and started to attend the Hackney Writers’ Workshop at Centerprise. He contributed to their publication Where There’s Smoke. Nick moved back to Sheffield, where he continued his interest in community publishing, becoming a significant member of the Federation of Worker Writers and Community Publishers (FWWCP), with which he was involved for many years. He later trained as an occupational therapist, and in this interview, Nick reflects at length on the links between creative writing and occupation and how it can act as an agent for social transformation. He describes his involvement in ‘worker writing’ as ‘a kind of vernacular university for me’.
Interviewed by Sean Mullervy