The Brussels Brontë Group organises meetings and events in Brussels throughout the year, including an annual weekend of events around the date of Charlotte Brontë’s birthday (21 April). We organise regular Guided walks around Brontë places in Brussels. Our Reading group specialises in 19th century literature (not just the Brontës!).

Programme 2019-20

Registration essential for all events. To register, contact Helen MacEwan.

Venue for talks: Gemeenschapscentrum Op-Weule, rue Saint Lambert 91, 1200 Woluwe Saint Lambert (next to Woluwe Shopping Centre).  Registration essential for all events.

Saturday 12 October 2019

10.30 (doors open at 10.00): Talk by Dr Patsy Stoneman: A little romance’? Taking liberties with Brontë biography

We are delighted to welcome back Patsy Stoneman, Vice-President of the Brontë Society, who spoke to our Group in 2012 on feminist readings of Jane Eyre (‘Jane Eyre’ from then till now) and in 2008 on film adaptations of Wuthering Heights.

The enduring fascination in the Brontës spawns a huge amount of biography and biographical fiction about the world’s most famous literary family. Dr Patsy Stoneman will take a look at this phenomenon. The name of her talk is a quotation from Patrick Bronte, father of the four siblings; when a friend commiserated with him about the liberties Elizabeth Gaskell had taken in her Life of Charlotte Brontë, his reply was ‘Mrs Gaskell is a novelist, you know, and must be allowed a little romance’.

Patsy Stoneman, Emeritus Reader in English at the University of Hull, is a distinguished Brontë scholar. She has published many critical studies on the Brontës and has taken a particular interest in their cultural ‘afterlife’, for example the stage and film adaptations of their novels. Her publications include Bronte Transformations: The Cultural Dissemination of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights.

14.30 (doors open at 14.00): Interview with Nathalie Stalmans, author of Si j’avais des ailes.

Following on from Patsy Stoneman’s talk in the morning, we will take a look at a recent work of biographical fiction. We’ll be talking to the Belgian historical novelist Nathalie Stalmans, whose novel Si j’avais des ailes, about Charlotte Brontë’s time at the Pensionnat Heger in 1842-43, was published earlier this year.

The novel opens in 1856, a year after Charlotte’s death. Elizabeth Gaskell is about to visit the Pensionnat to gather information for her Life of Charlotte Brontë. The visitor is awaited with mixed feelings at the school and Charlotte’s stay is told in flashback by various narrators, some sympathetic to her, some hostile. The Brussels background is vividly depicted and this is an engaging look at Charlotte Brontë by a writer who is a native of ‘Villette’.

Nathalie Stalmans is a historian and history teacher. Her previous novels include Finis Terrae and Le vent du boulet, set in the 17th and 18th centuries respectively, which blend real and imaginary elements to create stories around the inhabitants of a real house in Rue Neuve in Brussels.

Guided walk

Sunday 13 October 2019 at 10.00

This two-hour walk features Brontë places in the Place Royale area. To register, contact Helen MacEwan

Christmas Lunch & Entertainment

Saturday 7 December 2019

AGM and Member Presentations

Saturday 15 February 2020

10.00: AGM of the Brussels Brontë Group

11.00: Member presentation. Ana Gauthier will give a presentation on the phenomenon of fan fiction, with special reference to fiction inspired by the Brontës.

14.00. Member presentations (cont.).

In Anne Brontë’s bicentenary year, Emelie Sannen will give a presentation on ‘Anne’s poetry and prose: an inseparable pair’, exploring issues such as feminism, individualism, identity, and love.

Mark Cropper will give an interactive presentation on mind mapping and how he applies it to note-taking during our talks.

Brussels Brontë Weekend

25-26 April 2020

Saturday 25 April 2020

10.30 (doors open at 10.00): Talk by Charlotte Jones: An entire mistake’: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and Anne Brontë’s radical legacy

Wildfell Hall it hardly appears desirable to preserve. The choice of subject in that work is a mistake.’ Anne Brontë’s second and last novel was contentiously reviewed upon publication, in part because its subject matter – domestic violence, alcoholism, women’s rights – was so controversial, and Charlotte’s verdict proved a lasting one. But not everyone agreed. Modernist writer May Sinclair, for example, suggested that ‘Anne Brontë attacks her problem with a freedom and audacity before which her sisters’ boldest enterprises seem cowardly and restrained. Her behaviour is revolutionary.’ This talk will re-examine The Tenant of Wildfell Hall’s revolutionary qualities in relation to the febrile literary and political contexts from which it emerged in 1848.

Charlotte Jones is Teaching Fellow in nineteenth and twentieth-century literature at King’s College London. Her first book, Realism, Form and Representation in the Edwardian Novel, will be published by Oxford University Press.

14.30 (doors open at 14.00): Talk by Samantha Ellis: Why Anne Brontë didn’t go to Brussels and why it matters 

Anne Brontë has always been overshadowed by her two elder sisters. To celebrate her bicentenary we have invited Samantha Ellis, the writer who had done so much to bring Anne into the limelight and highlight her strengths both as a person and writer.

Samantha Ellis’ Take Courage: Anne Bronte and the Art of Life (2017) takes a personal, poignant and surprising journey into the life and work of ‘the other Brontë sister’, viewing her as a brave, strongly feminist writer well ahead of her time – and her more celebrated siblings – with much to teach us today about how to find our way in the world.

Samantha, a British writer, playwright and journalist, is also the author of How to be a Heroine (2014).

Guided walk

Sunday 26 April 2020 at 10.00

This two-hour walk features Brontë places in the Place Royale area. To register, contact Helen MacEwan

Brontë Society weekend, Haworth

13-14 June 2020

Join Brussels Group members for the annual weekend of events in Haworth, Yorkshire, organised by the Brontë Society, UK. Talks, walks on the moors and excursions

Summer Lunch

Saturday 20 June 2020

Other events of interest

Past events