Acclaimed poet Patience Agbabi, activist and actor Lily Cole, bestselling author Kate Mosse, and award-winning musicians The Unthanks will animate the small town and Brontë Parsonage Museum through a series of performances, film, walks and new commissions from Friday 27 July to Emily’s actual birthday, Monday 30 July.
Kitty Wright, Brontë Society Executive Director said: “It’s impossible to say exactly what it is about Emily Brontë that captures the imagination and heart of so many people so long after she lived and died. Emily is perhaps the Brontë sibling most associated with the dramatic, bleak and beautiful moorland surrounding their home, and as such her birthday will be marked by guided walks and outdoor sketching workshops as well as poetry performances, literary discussions and free activities for all the family. We look forward to sharing Emily’s legacy with international audiences old and new.”
The line-up includes:
- ‘I am Heathcliff’, Friday 27 July
The antihero of Wuthering Heights is the subject of ‘I am Heathcliff’, a new commission of 16 short stories, curated by international bestselling author Kate Mosse OBE (‘Labyrinth’) that re-examine this unforgettable and polarising character.
- This, That and ‘The Other’, Saturday 28 July
Poet and performer Patience Agbabi will present new work created during her time as 2018 Writer in Residence at the Brontë Parsonage Museum this September. On 28 July she will be joined by other wordsmiths and musicians to respond to themes of the outsider and identity raised in Emily’s writing through readings and performance poetry.
- ‘Making your mark online’, Saturday 28 & Sunday 29 July
Brontë Society Young Ambassador, book blogger, booktuber and Brontë aficionado Lucy Powrie will host two workshops for burgeoning writers. Blogging since the age of 12, Lucy will discuss how and why she started writing and why she considers Emily Brontë to be a relevant inspiration for young people today.
- Lily Cole: ‘Balls’, Sunday 29 July – Monday 3 December
‘Balls’, a new film from Lily Cole, the Brontë Society’s creative partner for 2018, will receive its world premiere at the Brontë Parsonage Museum. The short film will examine the true stories of young, unmarried mothers and the babies they gave up to the Foundling Hospital in the nineteenth century, the inspiration for Emily’s foundling anti-hero Heathcliff. Cole, with co-writer Stacey Gregg (‘Riviera’, ‘The Innocents’) has taken two personal accounts from the original hospital records and transposed them into the present day, filmed entirely in location in Liverpool, thus emphasising the dramatic changes seen in women’s rights over the last 200 years.
- ‘Emily Speaks’, ‘What Emily means to us’, Monday 30 July
Marking Emily’s actual birthday two events will pay tribute to the woman and her work, through her own words and those of her devotees. An afternoon of readings offers personal responses to Emily’s independence and self-determination in relation to the broader racial, cultural and social histories of the mid-nineteenth century. The day culminates in a celebration with live readings from Lily Cole, Patience Agbabi and a performance from The Unthanks, who themselves will be marking the bicentenary later in 2018 with new, specifically commissioned work.
Full details of all these events and many more, tickets and venues are available at www.bronte.org.uk/whats-on