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’.


Headshot of Ann Dinsdale

Ann Dinsdale

Ann Dinsdale is Principal Curator at the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth, where she works on organising exhibitions and caring for the collections. She is a contributor to The Brontës in Context and A Companion to the Brontës, and author of At Home with the Brontes: The History of Haworth Parsonage and its Occupants.

Isabel Greenberg

Isabel Greenberg is an illustrator, writer and comic artist and the author of three graphic novels; The Encyclopedia of Early Earth, The One Hundred Nights of Hero, and Glass Town. She has also illustrated a number of children’s books, and is a lecturer at Camberwell College of Arts.