This year the Literary Lunch was held at Midlands Hotel in Bradford, a short journey from where I live in Leeds. It is a very elegant and opulent three star hotel built at the end of 19th century.
The beautiful French Ballroom where the event took place. I loved the green and gold decor and glittering chandeliers. The sunlight streamed in through large French windows making the room feel warm and inviting.
Kitty Wright (apologies if I didn't catch or spell the name correctly), a Bronte Society associate, gave us all the introductory information regarding the hotel and the agenda of the day.
Each year there is a featured talk on a Bronte theme, and this year our speaker was Juliet Barker, one of the highest authorities on the Brontes and a renowned Bronte scholar and writer. As this is the year of the Bicentenary of the birth of Charlotte Bronte, Juliet's talk was mainly about Charlotte with the emphasis on the biography by the novelist Elizabeth Gaskell, who was Charlotte's friend. Juliet was excellent, and I thoroughly enjoyed her animated and very knowledgeable talk.
The beautiful hotel foyer outside our function room........
..........where you could buy two of Juliet's books and some other items from the Bronte Parsonage Museum shop. Juliet's books were "The Brontes", her seminal biography of the Bronte family, and "The Brontes A Life in Letters", a recently revised and republished collection of letters written by the Brontes to various people, mainly friends and family.
After her talk, Juliet took the time to sign her books, both bought on the day and brought along.
My friend was having her book signed too.
Two lovely Bronte Society ladies: Linda, the Membership Officer and Alison, the Management Support Officer.
Each of the tables boasted a bottle of Bronte Liqueur, as well as a bicentenary, limited edition gift box which looks like a book, with a bottle of the liqueur inside. The liqueur is made of blackberry and sloe, and it really is delicious. I hear it is available from the "Cobbles and Clay" cafe on Haworth's Main Street. It was nice to see Juliet receive one of the boxes as a thank-you gesture for her talk and contributions to the day.
Our lunch was very good; it consisted of mozzarella and tomato starter, chicken wrapped in bacon with confit potatoes and ratatouille for main course and a lemon tart for dessert.
The meal was followed by tea and coffee, and some pleasant socialising and chatting to newly met people with common interest.
Juliet Barker at her table towards the end of the event.
It was such a lovely and inspiring day. I came away more in love with the Brontes than I have ever been. I am very much looking forward to next year's Bronte Society literary lunch.