Leeds & West Yorkshire

Emily Bronte celebrations to feature Lily Cole and Maxine Peake

Emily Bronte Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption An oil painting of Wuthering Heights author Emily Bronte published in 1847

A series of events celebrating the bicentenary of Emily Bronte's birth have been announced.

The renowned Wuthering Heights author, born 30 July 1818, was the third eldest of the family from West Yorkshire.

Model and actress Lily Cole has been given a role at the Brontë Parsonage Museum, while events include a new exhibition featuring Maxine Peake.

The programme is part of a five-year celebration of the Brontes.

It started in 2016 with Charlotte Bronte's bicentenary, while her brother Branwell was celebrated this year.

Commemorations for sister Anne will be in 2020, while 2019's events focus on father Patrick.

Image caption Model and actress Lily Cole is to take up the role of creative partner at the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth

Cole is being appointed as creative partner at the museum, which is based in the Bronte family's home in Haworth.

She said: "Wuthering Heights is one of my favourite books and I have long been fascinated by its enigmatic writer.

"The fact that Emily had to change her name - to Ellis Bell - in order to publish the novel intrigues and inspires me.

"I am excited and honoured to be given the opportunity to work on a project to commemorate the legacy of one of England's most important, and mysterious, writers."

Image caption The Unthanks' Mount The Air won album of the year at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in 2016

BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winners The Unthanks are to compose and perform a song based on Emily's poems, while poet Patience Agbabi is to be the museum's writer in residence.

A new exhibition titled Making Thunder Roar: Emily Brontë is to feature contributions from Peake among others and will include a selection of Emily's possessions, writing and artwork. It is due to open on 1 February.

Kitty Wright, executive director of The Brontë Society, said the events were "a particularly exciting chapter" in the celebrations.


The Bronte siblings

Charlotte - born on 21 April 1816, was the eldest of the siblings and last to die. She wrote Jane Eyre, Shirley and Villette, and died on 31 March 1855, aged 38.

Branwell - born in 1817, was the only Bronte brother. He was a writer and painter and died in 1848, aged 31.

Emily - born on 30 July 1818, wrote Wuthering Heights but died of tuberculosis aged 30 in December 1848, two months after the same illness killed her brother.

Anne - born on 17 January 1820, wrote Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. She died in May 1849, aged 29.

They had two older sisters, Maria and Elizabeth, who died during childhood.

Source: BBC History.


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