THE LAST few weeks at the Parsonage have been action-packed, what with the 197th anniversary of Emily Brontë’s birth, which we marked with a joint celebration event with Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, and the start of the summer holidays, which always herald our busiest time of the year.

I’ve been working hard preparing the programme for our fifth Brontë Festival Of Women’s Writing, details of which were released at the end of July.

The festival was designed to celebrate the work of contemporary female authors, and to honour the lasting creative legacy of the Brontë sisters, who were pioneering women writers in their day, and I’m hugely excited to share this year’s programme.

The festival will run from Friday to Sunday, September 4 to 6, and features readings, workshops and family events.

This year’s festival will be headlined by Helen Lederer, who will be speaking about her laugh-out-loud debut novel, Losing It, on the evening of September 5 at West Lane Baptist Centre in Haworth.

Known to millions as the dippy Catriona in Absolutely Fabulous, Helen Lederer has now turned her experienced comedic hand to writing fiction, with predictably hilarious results.

Helen will also talk her about her efforts to set up the Comedy Women In Print literary award, which will shine a much-needed spotlight on the remarkable but often underrated comedy writing produced by women.

We’re also very much looking forward to welcoming novelist Alison Case to the festival – her first book, Nelly Dean, will be published this month, and has been described as a heart-breaking and original accompaniment to Wuthering Heights.

Alison will be reading from Nelly Dean and discussing the process behind re-telling such an adored work on the evening of September 4.

Alison Case will also lead one of our three writing workshops over the festival weekend, in the library at atmospheric Ponden Hall, believed by many to be the inspiration for Thrushcross Grange in Wuthering Heights.

Poet and writer Anne Caldwell is returning to Haworth to host a creative writing workshop which will give participants the unique opportunity to see items from the Brontë collection up close, before writing prose or poetry inspired by these Brontë relics.

Finally, Glynis Charlton will lead a workshop which will examine ways to enrich non-fiction compositions – like memoirs, or travel writing – using techniques more usually associated with fiction.

To find out more, view the full programme, or to buy tickets, go to, call 01535 640188, or e-mail

Our summer holiday family activities are now well underway at the museum. Each Tuesday will feature a talk or a walk at 11am and 2pm, and on Thursday afternoons between 1pm and 3pm you can get involved in Hands on History sessions.

You might be able to handle 19th century artefacts, or have a chat with Tabitha Aykroyd, the Brontës’ housekeeper (and incurable gossip!). We’re also running artist-led craft activities for all the family on selected days – try your hand at monoprinting, or make your own wuthering wallet!

Full details of activities can be found on our website, and all are free with admission to the museum.