Some children create imaginary friends or host tea parties for their stuffed animals. But the Brontë children? Their fanciful imaginations cast a much wider net. Charlotte, Emily, Anne, and Branwell created entire fictional lands called Glass Town, Angria, and Gondal, complete with specific geographies, elaborate mythologies, and characters and events based on the news headlines of the day.

In this fascinating event, historian and Brontë expert Emma Butcher, author, illustrator and lecturer, Isabel Greenberg, and principal curator at the Brontë Parsonage Museum, Ann Dinsdale, take a closer look into the juvenilia, exploring the ways these early manuscripts, though oftentimes difficult to read, provide a glimpse into the literary genius of the Brontës’ later works and remain an important artefact in understanding their family dynamics.

About The Host

Yvette Huddleston

Yvette Huddleston is an author and journalist specialising in the arts. She has written extensively on film, theatre, literature and visual art for a wide range of national and regional publications.

About The Speakers

Emma Butcher

Emma’s interests lie in Romantic and Victorian literature and culture. She was awarded a PhD for The Brontës and the Military at the University of Hull. In 2017 Emma was named as one of the BBC/AHRC’s New Generation Thinkers and is regularly involved with the media having worked on programmes for the BBC as well as writing for The Guardian, BBC History Magazine, PN Review, and History Today. Emma has also worked closely with the Brontë Parsonage Museum, where she curated their 2015 exhibition, ‘The Brontës, War and Waterloo’.


Ann Dinsdale

Ann Dinsdale is the Principal Curator at the Brontë Parsonage Museum at Haworth, where she is involved in organising exhibitions and caring for the collections. She is the author of articles and books about the Brontës, including At Home with the Brontës: The History of Haworth Parsonage and its Occupants.

Isabel Greenberg

Isabel Greenberg is a London based writer, illustrator and lecturer. She is author of three graphic novels; ‘The Encyclopedia of Early Earth’ and ‘The One Hundred Nights of Hero’ were both published to critical acclaim. Her new book ‘Glass Town’ will be published by Jonathan Cape in early 2020, and explores the Brontë’s childhood world of Angria.