Blitz Writing emerges out of the 1940-1941 London Blitz. The drama of these two short works-a novella and a memoir-comes from the courage and endurance of ordinary people met in the factories, streets and lodging houses of a city under bombardment.
Night Shift follows a largely working-class cast of characters for five night shifts in a factory that produces camera parts for war planes. It Was Different At The Time is Holden’s account of wartime life from April 1938 to August 1941, drawn from her own diary. The latter was intended to be a joint project written with her friend George Orwell and includes disguised appearances of Orwell, Stevie Smith and other notable literary figures of the period. The experiences recorded in It Was Different At The Time overlap in period and subject with Night Shift, setting up a vibrant dialogue between the two texts.
The introduction and notes are by Kristin Bluemel, Professor of English at Monmouth University NJ, exploring how these short prose texts work as multiple stories: of Inez Holden herself, the history of the Blitz, of middlebrow women’s writing, of Second World War fiction, and of the world of work.