Natasha Carthew on class, poverty and refusing to stay in her lane

This week's guest is the rural poverty campaigner Natasha Carthew. Natasha was born and brought up in Cornwall, in the 19th century fishing and farming village of Downderry where the Carthews had been resident from the very start.

Natasha has spent her life noisily campaigning to give working class writers a voice. Where some might tire of banging their heads against the closed door of the affluent middle classes in general and the London media scene in particular, Natasha has been relentless. And now, finally FINALLY her efforts are being heard. Loud and clear.

She founded the acclaimed Working Class Writers Festival in Bristol in 2021 and has written nine books, but the one that’s destined to make her truly impossible to ignore is her furious new memoir, Undercurrent, A Cornish memoir of Poverty Nature and Resilience.

Natasha joined me from Cornwall to talk about her lifelong refusal to stay in her lane, growing up gay in the 80s, learning to harness her uncontrollable rage in her 30s and how it felt to return to the hometown she left at 19 to write her memoir. We also discussed her passion for wild writing, the calming power of nature and Why sometimes getting fuckity is the only way.

* You can buy all the books mentioned in this podcast at The Shift bookshop on, including Undercurrent by Natasha Carthew and the book that inspired this podcast, The Shift: how I lost and found myself after 40 - and you can too, by me.

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The Shift (on life after 40) with Sam Baker is created and hosted by Sam Baker and edited by Emily Sandford. If you enjoyed this podcast, please rate/review/follow as it really does help other people find us. And let me know what you think on twitter @sambaker or instagram @theothersambaker

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