ACTRESS Lily Cole, poet Patience Agbabi and artist Kate Whiteford will all help mark the bicentenary of the birth of Emily Brontë, the Brontë Society has revealed.
Born on July 30, 1818 in Thorton, near Bradford, Emily Brontë was the third-eldest of the famous Yorkshire literary siblings, and is best known for her only novel, Wuthering Heights.
The Brontë Society and the Brontë Parsonage Museum In Haworth have announced a series of appointments and celebrations to mark the bicentenary, including the role of creative partner at the museum for the actress and social entrepreneur Ms Cole, who will explore the connections between the origins of Emily’s anti-hero Heathcliff and the real foundlings of 1840s London in a new partnership with the Foundling Museum. She will also consider gender politics and women’s rights, in the year which marks 100 years since women got the vote.
She said: “Wuthering Heights is one of my favourite books and I have long been fascinated by its enigmatic writer, Emily Bronte. 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.”
She will be joined by poet and performer Patience Agbabi, who will be the Museum’s Writer in Residence; land artist Kate Whiteford, who will explore Emily’s connection to the Yorkshire landscape through her pet hawk Nero and award-winning band The Unthanks, who will compose and perform a song cycle based on Emily’s poems.
Jenna Holmes, who leads the contemporary arts programme at the Museum said: “We know very little about Emily, but from the work she left behind, we know that she was a talented writer, artist and musician. We wanted to celebrate her immense creativity by commissioning exciting new work from artists who we knew would do her legacy justice.”