Watchwords

EMILY BRONTË’S 200TH BIRTHDAY

EMILY BRONTË’S 200TH BIRTHDAY. In September 1821, when Emily was three-years-old, her mother died of cancer. Her older sisters Maria, Elizabeth and Charlotte were sent to the Clergy Daughters’ School at Cowan Bridge where they encountered the abuse later described by Charlotte in ‘Jayne Eyre’. At the age of six, Emily joined them for a short time until a typhoid epidemic swept the school. Her older sisters Maria and Elizabeth caught it and died. Emily remained particularly close to her sister, Charlotte Brontë, who remains the primary source of information about her. (Portrait of Charlotte Brontë. PD)

Watchwords

This page is devoted to events and activities of interest to writers, illustrators and readers! Go to entries below the quick list for more detailed information. 

  • It’s been 82 years since Margaret Mitchell’s GONE WITH THE WIND was first published. Join other enthusiasts at a LITERARY EVENT to celebrate, at the Carindale Library on Friday, 20 July 2018.
  • As part of BLACK HISTORY MONTH, join AUNTY THERESA CREED as she shares her poems and stories about overcoming adversity with courage and hope, at the Holland Park Library on Saturday, 21 July 2018.
  • As a singer, song writer, story teller and registered music therapist, UNCLE GETANO BANN will share Indigenous stories and songs that will delight you and tickle your funny bone, at the Bracken Ridge Library on Saturday, 21 July and the Fairfield Library on Saturday, 28 July 2018.
  • Meet one of Australia’s rising stars, LAURA ELVERY, to discuss short story writing and her publishing journey. This award-winning writer has been published in Review of Australian Fiction, Kill Your Darlings and the Griffith Review, and you can meet her at the Ashgrove Library on Saturday, 21 July 2018.
  • Join fellow enthusiasts for a celebratory hour of trivia and discussion about EMILY BRONTË and her most famous work WUTHERING HEIGHTS, at a LITERARY EVENT to mark EMILY BRONTË’S 200TH BIRTHDAY, at the Stones Corner Library on Saturday, 21 July 2018. 

 

The Event: LITERARY EVENT: MARGARET MITCHELL’S GONE WITH THE WIND

Date and time: Friday, 20 July 2018 from 10.00 a.m. to 11.00 a.m.

Venue: Carindale Library.

Ticket price: FREE to attend, but bookings are essential. Ring the Carindale Library on (07) 3407 1490 to reserve your place(s).

What’s happening: It’s been 82 years since Margaret Mitchell’s GONE WITH THE WIND was first published, and Carindale Library is hosting a literary event to celebrate! On writing the novel, Margaret said: ‘I had every detail clear in my mind before I sat down to the typewriter.’ Come along to revisit the novel and hear some fascinating details about the author and the book.

Journalist and author MARGARET MITCHELL was born in 1900 into a wealthy and politically prominent family and was a lifelong resident and native of Atlanta, Georgia.

Although Margaret’s relationship with her quarrelsome grandmother, Annie Stephens, became difficult, she realised that Annie was a great source of information about the Civil War and the reconstruction of Atlanta.

Mitchell said she heard Civil War stories from her relatives when she was growing up: ‘On Sunday afternoons when we went calling on the older generation of relatives, those who had been active in the Sixties, I sat on the bony knees of veterans and the fat slippery laps of great aunts and heard them talk.’

But she didn’t find out that the South had actually lost the war until she was ten-years-old. ‘I heard everything in the world except that the Confederates lost the war,’ she said later. ‘When I was ten years old, it was a violent shock to learn that General Lee had been defeated. I didn’t believe it when I first heard it and I was indignant. I still find it hard to believe, so strong are childhood impressions.’ 

Margaret began using the name ‘Peggy’ at Washington Seminary, and the abbreviated form ‘Peg’ at Smith College after she adopted the icon of the mythological winged horse, ‘Pegasus’, that inspires poets. In her own words she was an ‘unscrupulous flirt’. She found herself engaged to five men, but maintained that she neither lied to nor misled any of them. 

While still legally married to her violent first husband, Berrien ‘Red’ Upshaw, and needing to support herself, Margaret got a job writing feature articles for The Atlanta Journal Sunday Magazine. Society ladies in those days didn’t go in for jobs, and needless to say, she received little encouragement from her family to pursue a career in journalism.

During the time Mitchell worked for the Atlanta Journal, she wrote 129 feature articles, 85 news stories, and several book reviews. She often received criticism for depicting ‘strong women who did not fit the accepted standards of femininity.’

In May 1926, after having left her job at the Atlanta Journal, Margaret was recovering at home from an ankle injury and amused herself by writing a society column for the Sunday Magazine. She also read avidly during this period and her husband, John Marsh, was becoming fed up with lugging home piles of books from the library to keep his wife’s mind occupied. 

Eventually John snapped, ‘For God’s sake, Peggy, can’t you write a book instead of reading thousands of them?’ To encourage her, John brought home a Remington Portable No. 3 typewriter, and for the next three years Margaret worked exclusively on writing a Civil War-era novel, the heroine of which was named Pansy O’Hara (prior to publication Pansy was changed to Scarlett). She used parts of the manuscript to prop up a wobbly couch.

 

The Event: BLACK HISTORY MONTH: YARNING AND POETRY WITH AUNTY THERESA CREED

Date and time: Saturday, 21 July 2018 from 10.30 a.m. to 11.30 a.m.

Venue: Holland Park Library.

Ticket price: FREE to attend, but bookings are essential. Ring the Holland Park Library on (07) 3403 7755 to reserve your place(s).

What’s happening: An elder of the Kalkadoon and Pitta Pitta tribe of North West Queensland, THERESA CREED is inspired by Indigenous poets Oodgeroo Noonuccal (formerly Kath Walker) and Maureen Watson. Join her as she shares her poems and stories about overcoming adversity with courage and hope.

 

The Event: BLACK HISTORY MONTH: INDIGENOUS SONGS AND YARNS WITH UNCLE GETANO BANN

Date, time and BCC library venues for ‘Meet Getano Bann’: Saturday, 21 July 2018 from 10.30 a.m. to 12.00 noon at Bracken Ridge Library (Phone: (07) 3667 6060); Saturday, 28 July 2018 from 10.30 a.m. to 12.00 noon at Fairfield Library (Phone: (07) 3403 8615).

Ticket price: FREE but bookings are required at the presenting library by contacting them on the phone numbers given above.

What’s happening: As a singer, song writer, story teller and registered music therapist, GETANO BANN will share stories and songs that delight and tickle your funny bone. Join a sing-along with Uncle Getano, his guitar, and his cheeky smile.

 

The Event: MEET SHORT STORY WRITER LAURA ELVERY

Date and time: Saturday, 21 July 2018 from 2.00 p.m. to 3.00 p.m.

Venue: Ashgrove Library.

Ticket price: FREE to attend, but bookings are essential. Ring the Ashgrove Library on (07) 3407 1940 to reserve your place(s).

What’s happening: Meet one of Australia’s rising stars, LAURA ELVERY, to discuss short story writing and her publishing journey. Laura’s debut short story collection, Trick of the Light, ranges from tender sadness to wry humour, with a keen eye for detail and rich emotional insight, as Laura reveals the fears and fantasies of everyday people searching for meaning in their lives.

An art teacher sends four of her students on a guerrilla mission; a young runner struggles to make sense of his best friend’s death; a health-food company adopts a farcical promotional strategy, and a factory worker spends her days applying radioactive paint to watches while dreaming of a future with her new suitor.

Laura’s work has been published in Review of Australian Fiction, Kill Your Darlings and the Griffith Review. She has won the Neilma Sidney Short Story Prize, the Josephine Ulrick Prize for Literature and the Margaret River Short Story Competition. Laura has also been shortlisted for numerous awards, including the Queensland Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript. Books will be available for purchase on the day or bring your copy from home for Laura to sign.

 

The Event: LITERARY EVENT: EMILY BRONTË’S 200TH BIRTHDAY

Date and time: Saturday, 21 July 2018 from 2.30 p.m. to 3.30 p.m.

Venue: Stones Corner Library.

Ticket price: FREE to attend, but bookings are essential. Ring the Stones Corner Library on (07) 3403 2170 to reserve your place(s).

What’s happening: EMILY BRONTË was a novelist and poet whose only novel, WUTHERING HEIGHTS, written under the name of Ellis Bell, has become a classic of English literature. Join fellow enthusiasts for a celebratory hour of trivia and discussion marking Emily’s 200th birthday.

Emily Brontë was born on 30 July 1818 in the village of Thornton Market Street on the outskirts of Bradford, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, in Northern England. She was the younger sister of Charlotte Brontë and the fifth of six children. In 1820, shortly after the birth of Emily's younger sister Anne, the family moved eight miles away to Haworth, where her father Patrick was employed as perpetual curate. It was here that the children developed their literary talents.

Emily’s mother died from cancer on 15 September 1821 when Emily was three-years-old. In 1824, at the age of six, she joined her older sisters at the Clergy Daughters’ School where they all encountered abuse. A typhoid epidemic swept through the school and Emily was removed in June 1825 along with Charlotte and Elizabeth, but her two sisters, Maria and Elizabeth died.

The three remaining sisters and their brother Patrick Branwell were then educated at home by their father and aunt Elizabeth Branwell, their mother's sister. Emily was a shy girl and was very close to her siblings, especially Charlotte. She was a great animal lover and was known for befriending the stray dogs she found wandering around the countryside.

Emily became a teacher at Law Hill School in Halifax in 1838, when she was twenty, but her health declined rapidly under the stress of the 17-hour work day and she returned home in April 1839 to become a stay-at-home daughter.

Emily Brontë remains a mysterious figure and a challenge to biographers because information about her is sparse due to her solitary and reclusive nature. Charlotte Brontë remains the primary source of information, although as an elder sister writing publicly about her shortly after her death, she is not exactly a neutral witness. 

Emily’s only novel, Wuthering Heights, was first published in London in 1847, appearing as the first two volumes of a three-volume set that included Anne Brontë's Agnes Grey. The authors were printed as being Ellis and Acton Bell; Emily's real name did not appear until 1850, when it was printed on the title page of an edited commercial edition.

 

WHAT'S ON AUTHORS P3

WHAT'S ON AUTHORS P4

WHAT'S ON AUTHORS?

WATCHWORDS HOME

EMILY BRONTË’S 200TH BIRTHDAY. Emily Brontë was an extremely shy woman and was very close to her siblings, especially Charlotte, but tended to be unsociable around other people. According to Norma Crandall, her ‘warm, human aspect’ was usually only revealed in her love of nature and animals. The ‘Literary News’ in 1833 stated that she ‘loved the solemn moors, she loved all wild, free creatures and things’ and Emily’s critics say that her love of the moors is made manifest in ‘Wuthering Heights’. A newspaper dated 31 December 1899 remarks that ‘with bird and beast she had the most intimate relations, and from her walks she often came with fledgling or young rabbit in hand, talking softly to it, quite sure, too, that it understood.’ Emily Brontë has often been characterised as a devout if somewhat unorthodox Christian, a heretic and a visionary ‘mystic of the moors’. (Photo of the Yorkshire moors that Emily loved by L.J. May).