Brontë Festival of Women's Writing

There are no future dates

A weekend of talks and workshops

A weekend of talks and workshops

Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë were pioneering women writers and continue to inspire contemporary literature in limitless ways. This is the Museum's ninth festival dedicated to showcasing women's writing and we're excited to present a weekend packed with events to inspire readers and writers alike.

The Brontës lived far from the centre of literary London, and they lacked the social and family connections that often opened doors in the worlds of literature and publishing. These geographical and social barriers still exist 170 years later and, with the hope of breaking through some of these, we invited novelist Kit de Waal to programme a range of refreshing and stimulating events that are both relevant to, and supportive of, different voices.

We're thrilled with the resulting programme and hope you will join us in Haworth in September.

For the best value way to enjoy the weekend, check out our Festival Pass, (£25, or £40 after 30 August) which will allow 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

Friday 20 September

Workshop: Writing Women in Crime Fiction
2pm-4pm, Old School Room, Church St, Haworth
£20 (£15 for tickets booked before 30 August)
From the sexy femme fatale to the nameless girl victim, and from the amateur sleuth to the disillusioned DI, the way women are portrayed in crime fiction can often be reduced to stereotypes. This workshop, led by Staunch Prize founder Bridget Lawless and crime writer Rachel Marsh, will facilitate discussion and writing tasks that help to develop well-rounded and original female characters.

#MeToo, Time's Up & Violence Against Women
7pm, West Lane Baptist Centre, Haworth
£8 (£5 for tickets booked before 30 August)

Bridget Lawless and Rachel Marsh lead a discussion around the issues raised by the recently-launched Staunch Prize, which aims to draw attention to the excessive amount of violence towards women in fiction, and to make space for exciting alternative narratives.

Saturday 21 September

Free writing
9am-10am, Cobbles and Clay, Main St, Haworth

Sharpen your pencil and come down to Cobbles and Clay for an informal writing session. Bring along a work in progress, respond to a variety of prompts provided on the day or try your hand at free writing, disregarding all rules of spelling and grammar and allowing your mind to vent ideas in a stream-of-consciousness manner. No previous experience necessary.

From Page to Publication - The Life of a Book/Ask the Experts
10am-12.45pm/1.30pm-2.30pm, West Lane Baptist Centre, Haworth
Pay What You Feel: £8/£10/£12 (£5/£7/£10 before 30 August)

In this special event, we will look at the life of a book, tracing the process from author to agent, from publisher to bookseller to reader. These myth-busting sessions will provide honest and accurate answers to questions about the world of publishing and will feature real experiences and tips from authors negotiating this world and from the professionals with all the answers.
10am: Who Writes Me and How? Author Liz Flanagan, debut YA author Lucy Powrie, poet Clare Shaw and Claire Malcolm of New Writing North discuss the journey from first draft to finished book, and talk about the support available to help develop and nurture emerging writers.
11am: Who Buys Me and Why? Literary agent Rachel Mann, publisher Kevin Duffy (Bluemoose Books) and Penguin editorial director Katy Loftus talk about their roles in the publishing industry, sharing what they love about their work and - the biggest question of all - what they look for in a writer or manuscript.
12pm: Who Sells Me and How? Jane Skudder of Waterstones, Kate Claughan of The Book Case, Sam Missingham of Lounge Books and vlogger and BookTuber Lucy Powrie talk about their experiences in selling, reviewing and marketing books, and what makes them truly passionate about a title.

1.30pm: Ask the Experts If you're intrigued by bomething you heard during the morning discussions, or have a burning question you think one of our panellists might be able to answer, come along and Ask the Experts who will be on hand for a number of brief one-to-one exchanges.

Draw Along with Nadia Shireen
2pm-3pm, Old School Room, Haworth
£4 per child (free for accompanying adults)

Calling all 3-7 year olds! Join children's author and illustrator Nadia Shireen for a storytime draw-along workshop. Nadia will read from her bestselling picture books and then lead an interactive draw-along session as you invent and illustrate your own character.

Sara Collins in conversation with Cathy Rentzenbrink
3.30pm, West Lane Baptist Centre, Haworth
£8 (£5 for tickets booked before 30 August)

Sara Collins was selected by The Guardian as one of the most hotly-tipped debut novelists of 2019 when her 'lush, gritty, wry, gothic and compulsive' novel, The Confessions of Frannie Langton, was released to great acclaim in April. Collins draws on the passion and emotion of Jane Eyre to create a 'pitch-perfect' gothic novel inhabited by a wholly new and compelling creation in the character of Frannie Langton, a girl whose story begins as she learns to read as s slave on a plantation in Jamaica, travels to grand house in London and ends on trial for murder at the Old Bailey.
In this event, Collins will read from her book and talk about how she was inspired to write a novel where 'the heroine looked like me'.

Common People with Kit de Waal, Katy Massey, Julie Noble and Cathy Rentzenbrink
6pm, West Lane Baptist Centre, Haworth
£8 (£5 for tickets bought before 30 August)

In 2017, as part of a BBC Radio 4 documentary, author Kit de Waal asked where all the working-class writers were, and found that while their voices might be absent from the pages of books and newspapers, they were still out there, insistent, diverse and compelling. In 2019, after a crowdfunding campaign with the publisher Unbound, Kit edited Common People, an anthology featuring thirty-two essays, poems and pieces of personal memoir from well-known and as-yet-published writers from working-class backgrounds from all over the UK.
Join Kit and contributors Katy Massey, Julie Noble and Cathy Rentzenbrink for an evening dedicated to Common People, and the importance of hearing from these vital and illuminating voices.

Words and Stories
8pm, West Lane Baptist Centre, Haworth
£8 (£5 for tickets booked before 30 August)

Join us for a warm and funny evening of women's working-class stories and poetry presented by Zena Barrie and Jo Howard. The line-up includes some of their favourite voices from their time running the award-winning Verbose spoken word night in Manchester.
Zena and Jo have been friends for over twenty-five years and started writing together when they were still teenagers. Described as spoken word for people who don't usually enjoy spoken word, this promises to be a relaxed and entertaining night: book a taxi or a babysitter and come along!

Sunday 22 September

Free writing

9.30am-10.30am, Cobbles and Clay, Main St, Haworth

Another chance to try your hand at free writing or to simply get your word count up! All welcome.

Poetry workshop with Clare Shaw
10.30am-12.30pm, Haworth
£20 (£15 for tickets booked before 30 August)
Join festival writer-in-residence Clare Shaw for an outdoor poetry workshop in the historic graveyard of St Michael's and All Angels. Adjacent to the Brontë Parsonage Museum, Haworth churchyard has been in use for over 700 years and is the last resting place of over 40,000 souls - including Charlotte, Emily and Branwell, who are buried beneath the church. Like those famous siblings, we'll find inspiration amongst the gravestones, the old trees, birdsong and the wild moors beyond. Suitable for new and experienced writers alike.

Amy Liptrot in conversation with Cathy Rentzenbrink
2pm, West Lane Baptist Centre, Haworth
£8 (£5 for tickets booked before 30 August)

Released in 2016, Amy Liptrot's The Outrun is a searing, exhilarating and brave blend of personal memoir and nature writing. It documents the period she spent coming to terms with addiction as she returned to her home on Orkney at the age of thirty, and her immersion within the harsh beauties of the island's wildlife, coastline and landscape.
In this event, Amy will talk to Cathy Rentzenbrink about the process of writing a memoir, and how she blended autobiography with writing on nature, addiction and mental health to create something both personal and unique.

Clare Shaw: Festival round-up with our writer-in-residence
3.30pm, West Lane Baptist Centre, Haworth

We wrap up the weekend in the company of festival writer-in-residence Clare Shaw. Clare will share the poems she has produced in response to the events, themes and people she has encountered over the weekend and no doubt send us on our way inspired, moved and motivated.

‹‹ Back to What's On