In 2018, we were delighted to announce the launch of the Brontë Stones Project, a unique celebration of the legacy of the famous sisters.
Curated and delivered by Bradford Literature Festival and originated by writer Michael Stewart, the Brontë Stones project features four new, original works of writing, engraved onto stones in different locations connecting the Brontë sisters’ birthplace in Thornton and the Brontë family parsonage at Haworth. The captivating journey along the four points, of approximately eight miles, form what is believed to have been the route the sisters themselves often took between the two locations.
In this landmark project, BLF commissioned new works by four of Britain’s best-loved literary and cultural figures, Kate Bush, Carol Ann Duffy, Jackie Kay and Jeanette Winterson, to celebrate the literary legacy of the Brontë sisters. The project, which launched at the festival in July 2018, features a new, permanent multi-site public art installation set in the rugged landscape of Yorkshire, that the Brontës themselves immortalised with novels such as Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights.
Of the four commissioned pieces, three of the works (by Kate Bush, Carol Ann Duffy and Jackie Kay) respond to one of the Brontë Sisters (Emily, Charlotte and Anne, respectively), while the fourth (by Jeanette Winterson) responds to the Brontë legacy as a whole.
Accompanied by beautiful, hand-drawn maps, created by Yorkshire cartographer Christopher Goddard, the stones take visitors on a journey in the footsteps of these extraordinary Yorkshire sisters, whose novels are recognised worldwide as some of the greatest works of literature to emerge from the 19th century. The project will leave a permanent memorial in the landscape that homed and fuelled the imagination of these groundbreaking writers.
The Brontë Stones were inaugurated at Bradford Literature Festival 2018, in a special launch event titled The Brontë Stones: Meet the Writers. Taking place on Saturday 7 July 2018, at Bradford’s historic Midland Hotel, writers Carol Ann Duffy, Jackie Kay and Jeanette Winterson presented the first official readings of their new work. On Sunday 8 July 2018, Michael Stewart lead visitors on a guided walking tour In the Footsteps of the Brontës taking in each of the four stones for the first time.
Following its inauguration at the 2018 festival, the walk remains for members of the public to undertake for generations to come. As a legacy project, future plans include the development of a mobile app providing a personal, guided experience of the Brontë Stones walk.