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!).

Provisional Programme 2020-21

NB. Because of COVID-19, events and dates may be cancelled or changed.

Talks will be by Zoom.

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


Wednesday 7 October 2020

19.00 Talk by Karen Hewitt: Charlotte Bronte’s quarrel with the English Gentleman in Villette

Charlotte Bronte, the daughter of an Anglican parson, was very aware of her status as the daughter of a ‘gentleman‘. Who exactly was a gentleman in the early nineteenth century, and why did his role matter so much to Bronte? We can see her confidence in handling this theme in Jane Eyre, and examining it without much controversy in Shirley. In the more mature and complex Villette suddenly the whole concept of an English gentleman and the values attached to him are called into question for Lucy Snowe and for her creator. Where exactly does Lucy stand, and how do all the assaults on her consciousness affect her beliefs about what matters?

Karen Hewitt is a long-serving Tutor in Literature at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education. She also teaches English Literature and British affairs in various Russian universities, and is an Honorary Professor of Perm State University. She was awarded an MBE for her academic and cultural work in developing relationships between Russia and the UK.  She enjoys discussing the work of many writers across different historical periods in order to explore puzzling questions about human nature through the medium of literature.

Member Presentations

18 February 2021

Talk by Brian Holland: Angel in the House…or Angel in Heaven? How the patriarchy operated in Victorian England – with illustrations from the visual and verbal culture of the period

Brian recently completed a Master’s course with the Oxford University Department for Continuing Education. The subject of his talk relates to his Master’s dissertation: Fallen women and fearful men in English visual and verbal culture – 1850-70.

23 March 2021

Paulina Carlin will speak on the Swedish novelist Fredrika Bremer and her possible links with the Brontës’ novels.

Spring talks

Instead of the usual weekend of events in April to celebrate Charlotte Brontë’s birthday, we will be offering the following talks by Zoom:

Tuesday 20 April at 20.00

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).

Thursday 6 May at 19.00

Presentation by Isabel Greenberg of her book ‘Glass Town’

The graphic artist Isabel Greenberg will present her book ‘Glass Town’ (2020), an exploration of the young Brontës’ fantasy world in a graphic novel that blurs fiction and memoir. ‘An ingenious intertwining of real life and make believe, Glass Town explores the Brontës’ creative impulse and its effect on their lives. It is the perfect combination of clever, crazy, and just a tiny bit creepy, and will appeal to anyone who has wondered about how imagination shapes us, as well as to card-carrying Brontë fans’ (Tracy Chevalier).

Isabel Greenberg is an award-winning graphic designer and illustrator.

Guided walk

Sunday 25 April 2021 at 10.00 (to be confirmed)

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

Summer Lunch

Saturday 19 June 2021 (to be confirmed)

Brontë Society conference in Scarborough to celebrate Anne Brontë’s bicentenary

3-5 September 2021 (to be confirmed)

Covid situation allowing, the UK Brontë Society will hold a conference in Scarborough on Anne Brontë. It was scheduled to take place in 2020 but had to be cancelled because of the pandemic. For details, contact the UK Brontë Society.

Other events of interest

Past events