Eleanor Hutchinson (B 1915): Researching Writing Lives

Contributing to the writing lives collaborative research project has been an exceptionally insightful experience. Prior to the module, I had little to no experience dealing with working class writers, especially those concerned with autobiography and life writing. After reading and researching about the life of Eleanor Hutchinson, my chosen working class author, it has been made apparent to me that such works of literature have not, and still do not receive the recognition they deserve.

Image of the front cover of Eleanor Hutchinson's memoir
Image of the front cover of Eleanor Hutchinson’s memoir

Delving into the troubled childhood of Eleanor Hutchinson has been a truly humbling experience, one that has provoked in me a new sense of appreciation for my own childhood experiences. I have been introduced to the many hardships experienced by many working class families, both through my own research and the author blogs of me peers. Additionally, through the insights of Eleanor Hutchinson’s memoir, I have learnt of the particular troublesome treatment of a working class orphan in the early 1900s.

The genre of life writing has been surrounded by increasing interest and is a rapidly growing window into the lives of the past generations. Through my contributions to the writing lives website, myself and my peers have aided the accessibility of our chosen memoirs by promoting their memoirs both through our individual author blogs and our use of social media. It is my hope that through our collaborative work on the module that working class writers such as Eleanor Hutchinson, will be taken seriously as an accredited representation of working class life.

Screenshot from my Writing Lives twitter account @Catrionap1994
Screenshot from my Writing Lives twitter account @Catrionap1994

It has been made abundantly clear throughout the process of this project that the use of social media is essential to the success of any blog. It is the author of the blogs responsibility to promote their blog through social media to drum up the attention it deserves. Additionally, due to the collaborative nature of this project, it has not only been essential that we promote our own individual blogs but also to promote the project as whole.

Prior to the writing lives project I had encountered the process of blogging once before. Throughout my second year at Liverpool John Moores University I took part in the Prison Voices module which required weekly blog updates on a particular text. Therefore upon entering the project I was familiar with the expectations required of an interactive blog. However this particular project required a higher emphasis on independent research.  It is through the nature of the Writing Lives research project, and the guidance given to me, that I believe I have enhanced my research capabilities in obtaining relevant secondary sources. This is an essential skill for not only this project, it is also a highly transferable skill across a range of disciplines. The process of this project has not only been beneficial for my own personal development, but also for the development of the recognition of working class writers.

Images Cited – as they appear on the page

Hutchinson, Eleanor, ‘The Bells of St Mary’, Burnett Archive of Working Class Autobiography. University of Brunel Library, Special Collection, 2:429

@Catrionap1994 – screenshot from my writing lives twitter account

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