The eerie moors and industrial towns of Yorkshire have inspired generations of writers. Popularised in the writings of the Brontës, the landscapes of the Yorkshire moors have come to embody both the austere beauty and destructive capabilities of nature and have long been harnessed as the perfect setting for the stark chill and menacing darkness of a truly gothic novel.

Equally, the brooding architecture of its industrial towns provide just the right amount of shadow, suggesting things unseen and unspoken that hide within the smoke.

Join event chair, Michael Stewart and authors, Ben Myers, Sarah Dunnakey and Sophia Tobin as they discuss their latest works and explain why they chose the rural north as the setting for their contemporary gothic fiction.

This event will analyse what it is about Yorkshire that has led to it becoming the quintessential setting of the gothic genre.


About The Speakers

Sarah Dunnakey

After brief stints as a college librarian, an education officer and an NHS researcher, Sarah landed her dream job as a Question Researcher on Mastermind.  She now writes and verifies the questions for a plethora of TV shows including University Challenge and Pointless, which has been a rich source of ideas for her writing. Her short story, The Marzipan Husband was broadcast on BBC Radio 4. The Companion won the Northern Writers’ Award, and is Sarah’s first novel.

Ben Myers

Benjamin Myers is an award-winning author and journalist. His recent (and forthcoming) novels form a series of works, each of which is set in a different county of northern England, and are heavily inspired by rural landscapes, mythology, marginalised characters, morality, class, nature, dialect and post-industrialisation.

Photo by Julian Germain Dunelm

Sophia Tobin

Sophia Tobin is the Library Secretary for the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths.  Inspired by research she made into a real life eighteenth-century silversmith, Tobin began to write her first novel, The Silversmith’s Wife which went on to be a Sunday Times bestseller.  The Vanishing is her third novel.

Photo by Julia Skupny.

About The Chair

Michael Stewart

Michael Stewart’s debut novel, King Crow, was the winner of the Guardian’s Not-the-Booker Award. Other books: Couples; Café Assassin; Mr Jolly and Ill Will: The Untold Story of Heathcliff. Walking the Invisible, a hybrid memoir about the Brontës’ lives and landscapes, will be published by HarperCollins in June 2021. He is also the creator of the Brontë Stones project.