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Middlesex University provides inspiration for graduate’s first novel


Jenni Hutchinson

Middlesex University graduate Jenni Hutchinson achieved her life's ambition in April with the publication of her first novel, 'Just My Job'.

Written during a six-week volunteering trip to Malawi, Just My Job charts the turbulent and traumatic love life of student Lily and was inspired by Jenni's own experiences studying BA International Political Studies at Middlesex.

"Throughout the book there are references to university life so I was constantly drawing on my experiences at Middlesex," said Jenni.

"I was always very involved in the students' union and other political activities while at Middlesex, and the central character in the book is also a politically active student who's always fighting for other people."

Originally conceived as a US-style sitcom based on her experiences as a student working for a large supermarket chain, Jenni decided it would work better as a novel and used her spare time in Malawi as the opportunity to write it.

"I wanted to write something that was readable and accessible," she explained.

"Just My Job is a romance novel at its heart, but because the main character is an intelligent student you get quite a lot of political and religious ideas that she and her friends are discussing, so it becomes something bigger."

After writing the first draft in just six weeks, she returned to the UK and spent the next few months reworking it before sending her manuscript off to publishers.

Independent London-based publisher Austin Macauley liked it and after a period of paperwork and proofreading it hit the shelves on April 30 2014.

"I always wanted to be an author," said Jenni, whose primary job as a Citizenship Teacher at a south London technology academy also puts her Middlesex degree to good use.

"When I was in primary school we did a project where we wrote letters between two people and I wrote mine as letters to a publisher from a girl constantly trying to get material published.

"I was one of those children who always carried a notebook around to write little stories and things like that."

But despite fulfilling her childhood ambition, Jenni is not resting on her laurels and is already working on her second novel, a story that she first wrote as a 13-year-old.

"I went back to it recently and it wasn't actually as bad as I'd expected it to be," she admitted.

"Over the years I've toyed with the plot in my head, but now I've decided how I want it to go so it's just a matter of getting it all down on paper."

Jenni Hutchinson's debut novel Just My Job is priced at £6.99 and available now in paperbook and ebook from the Austin Macauley website.

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