Mount Allison researcher co-ordinating international conference supporting UK’s Brontë family’s literary legacy
Fanning, a Brontë scholar, is co-organizing a virtual conference on Friday, Sept. 4 for literary enthusiasts but also in support of the Brontë Parsonage Museum. The Museum, located in Yorkshire, UK, is the homestead of the 19th century Brontë sisters, known for classics such as Jane Eyre (Charlotte), Wuthering Heights (Emily), and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (Anne).
“Our event, Brontë2020, seeks to bring together Brontë scholars and fans from around the globe on September 4,” says Fanning. “We are really excited to have so many wonderful scholars, authors, filmmakers, screenwriters among others come together, virtually of course, to celebrate all things Brontë and show their support for this important landmark in literary history.”
The one-day online event will see over 40 presenters, roundtable events with authors, poetry readings, and a screening of a short documentary film on the Brontë sisters. The day also includes ‘in conversation’ discussions with three special guests: the award-winning writer and director, Sally Wainwright (To Walk Invisible, Gentleman Jack), the critically acclaimed actor Adam Nagaitis (To Walk Invisible, Chernobyl), and the award-winning screenwriter, Sandy Welch (Jane Eyre, North and South).
Fanning’s research program includes many areas and topics around the Brontë family, including mental health care in the 19th century. She is currently completing a book on how the Brontë sisters writing has been adapted to the screen and has published in several academic journals. Fanning, in collaboration with conference co-organizer, Claire O’Callaghan will also be working as co-editor and author with academic publisher Palgrave MacMillan for an edited collection called Serial Killing on Screen: Adaptation, True Crime and Popular Culture in an upcoming book project.
Fanning teaches in Mount Allison’s department of English and is also the director of Drama. This year she, along with fellow Drama faculty members, have organized the fall line-up of productions completely online – a first for Mount Allison.
She says bringing an international group of Brontë scholars and artists together virtually has been a wonderful learning experience.
“While many academic conferences like this would be limited to those being able to attend in person, one of the silver linings in the COVID world is that we’ve been able to open this event up to more people and explore new ways of networking,” she says.
The Museum had to close its doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic in early March. It is currently working on a reopening plan and will see the final year of Brontë200 — a five-year program celebrating the bicentenaries of the births of four of the Brontës: Charlotte in 2016, Branwell in 2017, Emily in 2018 and Anne in 2020 — moved to 2021.
The virtual event has been initiated independently of the Brontë Parsonage Museum but is run with their support. All proceeds will go directly to the Brontë Parsonage Museum’s COVID-19 Appeal.
Brontë2020 will take place Friday, September 4. Interested individuals can find the full conference line-up as well as registration information at: https://bronte2020.wordpress.com/
Hear Fanning talk with CBC's Jonna Brewer about this week’s conference on Information Morning (Moncton, Sept. 2):