Of all the Brontë siblings, it was perhaps Charlotte whose life offers biographers and enthusiasts the richest variety of avenues to explore, and the greatest variety of backdrops against which to set the author’s literary works. 

Whilst, like her sisters, the vast portion of Charlotte’s life was spent at home in Haworth, she also travelled to Belgium for extended stays at the Heger School in Brussels, first as a student and then as a teacher. Charlotte was also the only sister to marry and travel on a honeymoon, taking in Wales and Ireland – a little known, but illuminating, time in Charlotte’s life.

Join Pauline Clooney, author of Charlotte and Arthur, Monica Kendall, author of Lies and the Brontës: The Quest for the Jenkins Family, and Michael O’Dowd, author of Charlotte Brontë: An Irish Odyssey in this wide-ranging discussion, examining Charlotte’s attitudes to and experiences of travel abroad, drawing on her letters, historical records, the accounts of her friends and biographer, Elizabeth Gaskell, and the previously unappreciated perspective of the Jenkins family.

About The Speakers

Pauline Clooney

Charlotte & Arthur by Pauline Clooney (2021) is a richly imagined novel about the wedding and subsequent Irish honeymoon of Charlotte Brontë and Arthur Bell Nichols, the curate who worked with her father at Haworth parsonage.
This illuminating narrative is based on meticulous research by Ms. Clooney, an award-winning short story writer and the founding director of Kildare Writing Centre in Ireland. This is her first full-length novel.
The novel focuses on a little-known time in Charlotte’s life. Though she’s a celebrated author at home and abroad, the siblings she grew up with (Emily, Anne, and Branwell Brontë) all died several years earlier, leaving only Charlotte and her father, the Reverend Patrick Brontë, from a family that once numbered eight members.

Pauline Clooney is an award-winning author, an experienced creative writing workshop facilitator. Pauline’s writing achievements include: In October 2021, her novel, Charlotte and Arthur, was published by Merdog Books.

Headshot of Monica Kendall

Monica Kendall

Monica Kendall is the great-great-granddaughter of Rev. Evan and Eliza Jenkins, who looked after the Brontë sisters in Brussels in the 1840s, while her three times great-uncle was the incumbent at Pudsey church for many years, having been given his first job as a clergyman by Patrick Brontë. She was born in London and was a book editor for many years, including spells as a Hansard reporter at the House of Lords. She has a Master’s degree from Oxford University, and another from University College London. Having moved to North Wales, she is currently doing a PhD in the Department of History and Welsh History at Aberystwyth University. Lies and the Brontës: The Quest for the Jenkins Family (2021) is her third book. She previously edited John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi (2004) and the secret diary of a teenage great-aunt trapped in occupied Brussels during World War I, Miss Cavell Was Shot: The Diaries of Amy Hodson, 1914–1920 (2015). https://monicakendall.com

About The Author

Michael O’Dowd

Doctor Michael O’Dowd is a retired specialist in obstetrics and gynaecology who holds a Doctorate in Medicine, a PhD in History, is a Fellow of the RCPI Dublin, Fellow of the RCOG London, Fellow RSM London, and Honorary Fellow ICOG. His books The History of Medications for Women and The History of Obstetrics and Gynaecology are academic texts.