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For many, the archetypal Georgian rectory beside an ancient church evokes a scene from Jane Austen. For others it conjures up something much darker and elemental, such as the parsonage on the Yorkshire Moors where the Brontë sisters led such confined yet creative lives. Editor of Emma, Bharat Tandon; Charmian Knight of the Brontë Parsonage Museum, and Deborah Alun-Jones author of The Wry Romance of the Literary Rectory will discuss how these environments nurtered creativity.
Deborah Alun-Jones returned to university after several years in government relations, graduating from University College London in 1998 with an MA in Anglo-American Literature. Her first book, Charming, The Magic of Charm Jewelry, was published by Thames & Hudson in 2005 and was a visual and anecdotal celebration of these whimsical and glamorous amulets. The Wry Romance of the Literary Rectory was published by Thames & Hudson in March 2013. This book explores the story behind the romantic myth of these scenic parish buildings through the lives and work of some of our greatest writers and poets - from Alfred, Lord Tennyson to John Betjeman and Edmund de Waal - who have inhabited these icons of serenity, restraint and a very British civility.
Charmian Knight is an Oxford graduate, English teacher, National Trust education officer, and Literary Studies tutor to adult and undergraduate groups, including accredited courses for Leeds University School of Continuing Education. He has designed and delivered literature courses for the Jane Austen Society (northern branch), the Brontë Parsonage Museum, and four local branches of the WEA as well as schools lectures for the British Library. Publications (by the Brontë Society) include Reading the Brontës, 2000, (co-author), The Brontë Influence, 2004, (editor and co-author) and occasional articles and reviews for Brontë Studies, of which he is on the Editorial Board.
Bharat Tandon was born in Dagenham and educated at Cambridge; after teaching at Cambridge from 1995 to 2006, and at Oxford from 2006 to 2011, he is now a Lecturer in the School of Literature, Drama, and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. He is an expert on nineteenth-century writing - especially Jane Austen, as witnessed by his book Jane Austen and the Morality of Conversation (Anthem Press, 2003), and his recent annotated edition of Emma (Harvard University Press, 2012). In addition, he has an abiding interest in twentieth-century and contemporary fiction, about which he has been writing for publications such as The Times Literary Supplement for nearly twenty years; he was one of the judges for the 2012 Man Booker Prize for Fiction.