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The Brontë sisters were a literary tour de force in the 19th Century, with novels such as Charlotte’s Jane Eyre and Emily’s Wuthering Heights continuing to have an impact on the written work of both male and female authors into the present day.
And to pay homage to this, the Bronte Festival of Women’s Writing is taking place from September 20th – September 22nd at the Bronte Parsonage Museum in Haworth, West Yorkshire with the event featuring a packed programme of talks, including some themes which have dominated headlines in 2019.
#MeToo, Time’s Up & Violence Against Women will see Bridget Lawless and Rachel Marsh discuss issues raised by the recently launched Staunch Prize – of which Lawless is the founder – which aims to draw attention to ‘the excessive amount of violence towards women in fiction’.
Common People with Kit de Waal – who has guest curated the festival and compiled Common People – Katy Massey, Julie Noble and Cathy Rentzenbrink will talk about the pioneering, crowd-funded anthology of the same name which features thirty-two essays, poems and pieces of personal memoir from well-known and as-yet-published writers from working-class backgrounds from the length and breadth of the UK.
De Waal said, “It’s never been more important to hear the voices of working class women who manage to write, despite the barriers of time and money and society’s attitude towards literary spaces and the right to be heard.
“But we also write because of the barriers, because we push against them and find in that struggle a unique voice, our take on the world.
“We have tried to include as many diverse interests as possible in our programme, and we hope everyone will find something that speaks to them.”
Festival organiser Lauren Livesey, the museum’s Audience Development Officer, added, “The Brontes were geographically remote from the publishing centre of 19th century London and they lacked the social and familial connections that often opened doors in the worlds of literature and publishing.
“Those barriers still exist 170 years later, and in the hope of breaking through some of these, we invited Kit de Waal to programme a range of events that are both relevant to, and supportive of, different voices.”
Festival highlights include appearances by Amy Liptrot (The Outrun), poet Clare Shaw (Flood), Sara Collins (The Confessions of Frannie Langton) amongst others.
Events are individually ticketed – some are free – while a Festival Pass, (£25, or £40 after 30 August) gives entry to the following events:
- #MeToo, Time’s Up & Violence Against Women
- From Page to Publication – The Life of a Book & Ask the Experts
- Sara Collins
- Common People
- Words and Stories
- Amy Liptrot
- Clare Shaw closing reading