WORKING-class writing is the theme of this year’s Bronte Festival of Women’s Writing.

Haworth will for the ninth year running become a magnet for female authors, agents, poets and publishers.

Guest curator Kit de Waal, author of the novel My Name is Leon, has worked closely with the Bronte Parsonage Museum to programme the long weekend running from September 20-22.

With festival organiser Lauren Livesey, the museum’s Audience Development Officer, Kit has put together inspirational workshops, talks, readings, panel discussions and practical ‘how to’ sessions for readers and writers of all ages.

Lauren said: “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.”

This year’s programme celebrates working-class writing, which inspired Kit de Waal's anthology Common People.

Kit 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.”

Highlights of the festival include appearances by Amy Liptrot (The Outrun), Sara Collins (The Confessions of Frannie Langton), Cathy Rentzenbrink (The Last Act Of Love), poet Clare Shaw (Flood), and the team behind the recently-launched Staunch Prize.

Children’s author Nadia Shireen (Billy and the Dragon) will host an interactive storytime and drawing workshop for aspiring writers and illustrators aged between three and seven, based around her current heroine, Billy.

Nadia has set out to instil the expectation of a strong female lead from a young age.

Blogger, YouTuber and debut author Lucy Powrie, Young Ambassador for the Bronte Society, will return to Haworth after playing a part in previous events celebrating the Bronte sisters’ writing.

Lauren said Lucy would share her infectious passion for literature, as well as introducing her first novel for young adults (The Paper & Hearts Society).

Lauren added: “Award-winning author and educator Liz Flanagan (Eden Summer) also writes for children and young adults with strong female protagonists; together with Lucy they will share their journeys from first draft to finished book.

“Workshops and free-writing sessions will offer visitors the chance to hone their craft including an illustration workshop for children and a spoken word night, hosted by the team behind Manchester’s ‘Verbose’.

“A specially-devised ‘Life of a Book’ event will feature writers, agents, publishers and booksellers all sharing their tips and expertise.

“Poet Clare Shaw will be festival writer-in-residence and as well as being involved in several events over the weekend. She will the festival by sharing her experiences and new poems created in response to the festival in a free final event.”

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