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‘I write as I like’: Dorothy Whipple: A Talk by Dr Cynthia Johnston

Wednesday 19th October

4:30 – 6pm

Further Information

Tickets – £5

‘I write as I like’: Dorothy Whipple; Blackburn’s Unsung Literary Heroine

A talk by Dr Cynthia Johnston

Dorothy Whipple (1893-1966) was perhaps Blackburn’s greatest writer. Immensely popular, from the publication of her first novel in 1927 to her last in 1953, Whipple was the author of eight best-selling novels (two of which were made into Hollywood films), short stories and two memoirs as well as children’s books. She wrote of ordinary people and their families, the challenges of love and marriage but most consistently about the lives of women. Her novels focused on the choices available to women of her time; she avoided the sentimental and infused her leading women with a quiet feminism that seemed to escape most of her critics. Many of her novels were set in Blackburn, and the characters so like her real-life models that her family worried about defamation suits.

Contemporary writers admired her style and craft. J.B. Priestley described Whipple as ‘the Jane Austen of the twentieth century’. Winifred Holtby wrote ‘I love your patient human truthful observing eye and your wise refusal to come between your characters and your reader’. E.M. Delafield praised Whipple’s ‘exactly right mixture of realism and romanticism’ and Vera Britain queried why the coyly romantic cover illustration of Whipple’s first novel contradicted the realist, anti-romantic content.

In this talk, we’ll discuss Whipple’s rise to fame and its eclipse in the 1950s, as well as her revival from 1999 via the republication of all of her novels by Persephone books.

Tickets are £5 – please book using the link below – limited availability

Performances – I Write as I Like: Dorothy Whipple – BwD Venues (patronbase.com)