John Harris

Journalist & Author

Lowborn by Kerry Hudson review – growing up and returning to Britain’s poorest towns

A novelist bears the scars of her turbulent upbringing and indicts a nation that leaves so many in poverty

When Kerry Hudson was seven and living in the Scottish town of Airdrie, her mother took her and her baby sister to a neighbour’s flat, where the adults all got drunk. The three of them then returned home, and began playfully throwing broken biscuits at each other – a laugh at first, until her mother suddenly snapped.

“She told me I was a selfish little cow, that I was a nasty little bitch,” Hudson writes. Her mother then dragged her to another nearby flat, and told the family who lived there that they were to take care of her eldest daughter until social services came and took her away. Hudson remembers the response of the children she then had to spend the night with: “The kids asked me, full of the horror of the idea of a child simply given away, ‘What will happen?’ And I replied, ‘I don’t know, she doesn’t want me.’”

Related: I was taken into care at two years old – what really happened?

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