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 occasional Guided walks around Brontë places in Brussels. Our Reading group specialises in 19th century literature (not just the Brontës!).

Provisional Programme 2021-22

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

Talks are likely to be by Zoom but this depends on how the situation develops.

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

Talk (Zoom)

Thursday 14 October 2021

19.00 Talk by Dinah Birch: Education and the Brontë family: Principles and Practice

Dinah Birch is Professor of English Literature at the University of Liverpool. She has published a book on Victorian education (2007) and has written on the subject of ‘The Brontës and Nineteenth-century Educational Ideals’ and ‘Education in Victorian Literature: Charlotte Brontë and Matthew Arnold’. She is a regular broadcaster and recently discussed Jane Eyre in BBC Radio 4’s ‘In Our Time’.

Guided walk

Sunday 17 October 2021

10.00. Guided walk around Brontë places in Brussels in the Place Royale area. The walk takes about 2 hours.

Christmas lunch and entertainment

Saturday 11 December 2021

Member Presentation (Zoom)

Wednesday 9 February 2022 at 20.00

Robynn Colwell will talk about how secondary characters can be used in novels as literary devices. She will discuss how secondary or minor characters can help to convey and develop essential themes to the reader or support the character arc of the protagonist. As well as looking at examples in Brontë novels, she will talk about E.M. Forster’s Room with a View and Henry James’ Portrait of a Lady.

Talk (Zoom)

Wednesday 16 March 2022 at 20.00

Simon Marsden:In the dead of night I suddenly awoke’: The Gothic Mode of Charlotte Bronte’s Villette

Dr Simon Marsden of Liverpool University will talk about the Gothic aspects of Villette and its relationship to early-nineteenth-century Gothic literature more generally.

Simon Marsden is a senior lecturer at the University of Liverpool. He has a particular interest in the Gothic in literature from the Romantic era to the present. He has written extensively on the work of the Bronte sisters, including a monograph, ‘Emily Bronte and the Religious Imagination’, published by Bloomsbury in 2014.

Talks

Registration is essential for this event. To register, contact Helen MacEwan.

Saturday 30 April 2022 (10.00-14.00)

Université Saint-Louis, Rue du Marais 119, Brussels

Monica Kendall: Do you like the truth? The Brontës and my Family.

Monica Kendall has degrees from Oxford University and University College London and has worked as an academic book editor for years. She edited the secret diary of a teenage great-aunt of hers trapped in occupied Brussels during World War 1, Miss Cavell Was Shot: the Diaries of Amy Hodson, 1914-1920 (2015).

Monica Kendall’s book Lies and the Brontës: The Quest for the Jenkins Family was published in April 2021. She will talk about her research discoveries concerning her great-great-grandparents Rev. Evan and Eliza Jenkins, who took care of the Brontë sisters in Brussels, and whom no one researched before. Eliza found the school which the Brontë sisters attended, and she was interviewed by Mrs Gaskell after Charlotte’s death. The sisters attended Evan’s services at the Chapel Royal on many occasions. Monica will debunk many of the stories about Charlotte’s time in Brussels, and give insights into the family that Charlotte knew well over two years, including the Jenkins son who features in Charlotte’s Villette. Her website contains much about her quest and about Brussels: Monica Kendall

A Brussels Brontë ramble with Derek Blyth

For more than 30 years, Derek Blyth has lived and worked as a journalist in Brussels. During this time, he has written more than a dozen guidebooks including The 500 Hidden Secrets of Brussels and Hidden Belgium, as well as a guide to the people, places and weird traditions that make Belgium unique (100 Belgian Icons). He is currently working on a 15-episode Tour of Flanders: a Tale of Many Cities (the first four episodes can be read online at www.the-low-countries.com).

While working in the 1990s on his guide Brussels for Pleasure, Blyth read Charlotte Brontë’s Villette and realised that many of the places described in the novel still existed. He went on to develop a walking tour of Brontë’s Brussels and later became one of the founding members of the Brussels Brontë Group. He presented a talk at the group’s first meeting on Charlotte Brontë’s four letters to Heger, based on a research visit to the British Library in London.

His latest talk will take you on a rambling tour around some of the places in Brussels that inspired Charlotte’s fiction. It will also briefly touch on other famous writers who found their voice in Brussels, including Kark Marx, Multatuli and Joseph Conrad. He will conclude that without Brussels, we wouldn’t have some of the great works of literature including Villette, Max Havelaar, Heart of Darkness and the Communist Manifesto.

Guided walk

Sunday 1 May 2022 at 10.00.

10.00. Guided walk around Brontë places in Brussels in the Place Royale area. The walk takes about 2 hours.

Summer Lunch

Saturday 18 June 2021 (to be confirmed)

 

Other events of interest

Past events