Event at the Blackburn Museum to remember the work of Dorothy Whipple

A Blackburn writer who was once described as ‘the Jane Austen of the 20th century’ is celebrated at an event.

Dorothy Whipple was perhaps Blackburn’s greatest writer, with JB Priestley once describing her as “the Jane Austen of the 20th century”.

Yet despite her immense popularity, she is also an “unsung literary heroine”.

Now his success is set to be celebrated at a new conference hosted by the Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery on October 19.

Dr Cynthia Johnston, lecturer in the history of books and communication at the University of London, will document Whipple’s writing career, from the publication of her first novel in 1927 to her last in 1953.

Born in Blackburn in 1893, she wrote eight best-selling novels, short stories and two memoirs as well as children’s books.

Two of his works – They Were Sisters and They Knew Mr Knight – were made into Hollywood films in the 1940s.

Whipple wrote about ordinary people and their families, the challenges of love and marriage, but especially about the lives of women.

Many of his novels were set in Blackburn, and the characters so closely resembled his real-life models that his family worried about libel suits.

“I write as I like”: Dorothy Whipple; Blackburn’s unsung literary heroine will start at 4.30pm and is free to attend.

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