Averil Edith Thomas: Researching Writing Lives

I have always been fascinated by the working-class and I find learning about their way of life very interesting. My own family tree has revealed that part of my blood-line was very poor, and as a result I often ponder over what conditions my own relatives had to endure and what life was like for them living with little opportunities. Being involved in the Writing Lives Collaboration Project has been a remarkable experience, as I can think of nothing more rewarding than providing a platform for those have been forgotten and silenced throughout history. I take great pride in bringing Averil Edith Thomas’ memoir to life, as she was a remarkable woman whose story has a right to be known.

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Analysing Averil’s memoir

When choosing Averil’s autobiography, I was apprehensive over how I would be able to present her story or how I would link it to the many themes on the Writing Lives website. As it is a short memoir (less than 30 pages long) I began to wonder whether I had chosen the right piece to analyse. However, upon reading her work I became so familiar with Averil herself that I realised I had made the right decision. Reading such intensely descriptive language about her home through her cursive handwriting made the experience very personable, and left me feeling as though I had an obligation to share her life. Although she refrains from commenting about social and personal issues that many other autobiographies do, it does not make her memoir any less interesting. I hope to have proved this through my blog posts.

Gathering research online and presenting it in the form of blog posts is something that I became familiar with last year on my Level 5 module, Prison Voices. Prison Voices taught me how to search and gather information from database websites such as Ancestery.co.uk and other archives. It also familiarised me with WordPress, and how to link different images and websites together whilst making it look presentable. Prison Voices allowed me to share my work via social media, on a platform I had never before been familiar with. I continued using the same account for Writing Lives as I had many followers of a suitable audience already at my finger tips. This has proved to be very helpful in getting my work out into the public and to gain popularity for the overall collaboration project. I have utilised and further enhanced many skills on the Writing Lives project , which I am grateful to have gained whilst working with Helen Rogers.

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My twitter page @_prisonvoices

Working with my fellow students on this collaboration project has been very beneficial. I have learnt how to take positive criticism from writers of different styles and techniques which has helped improve my standard of work. Receiving positive feedback has also given me confidence and pride in my writing. Furthermore, I believe that by interacting with different authors on the website my blog posts have more to offer to readers.

I hope that my work this year on the Writing Lives project is only the beginning for me as an online writer. I am very interested in the field of blogging, and can use this as a starting point for a possible career. As I have grown so connected with Averil Edith Thomas, I have begun thinking about a possible career in researching family blood lines, and reconnecting family members who have lost touch or never before met each other. No matter what my future holds, I know for certain that working on this website has been a massive achievement of mine, and I thank you for reading my work.

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