Bonnie Greer, president of the Brontë Society, responding to a comment in the Yorkshire Post from a member that she might in some way be stand-offish or even 'snooty' - ironically a word often employed by Americans when describing a certain kind of English person, made the following statement to the newspaper:
“One of the reasons that I accepted the Presidency is not only because I love the work of the Brontës, but because both the members and the Council have been welcoming and supportive. And because of Yorkshire - the people and the region. I’ve been London-centered for all of my almost thirty years in this country. So to get away from the south east bubble to somewhere “real” - to me that’s great!
One of the reasons I love Yorkshire is because I, too, don’t do “snooty” and “snobby”. I never have, don’t now, and never will. And believe me, if I felt that there was an atmosphere like that around me, I’d be out of there.
I’m not the executive. I don’t manage the day to day running of the museum, but I am the President. I chair the AGM and in between spread the good news of these great literary sisters...especially to young people and diverse communities who may feel that the Brontës hold nothing for them. My first Brontë encounter at an event at the Museum was with a Bradford official, a Muslim man with daughters. We talked about Patrick Brontë and how he allowed his daughters to write. And the man I was talking to was also a father of daughters and was very moved by Patrick’s story - as I am. Next to Emily, he’s the Bronte I connect with the most. He promised to bring his daughters to the Museum.
It is these kind of synergies and interfaces which are crucial for all literary societies going forward in the twenty-first century, not just ours.
Almost all literary societies must become younger, more global, more outward-looking, more diverse, more in touch with the digital world, more able to find interesting “off-piste” connections with classic work. And this looking towards the future is just one of the things I find exciting and full of possibility as the Brontë Society heads toward the bicentenaries.
This going forward is the kind of thing – along with other initiatives , too - that most of us are doing, or trying to do. I love our present membership and curators and staff at the Museum are excellent. And my London-born husband has fallen in love with Haworth and the moors. We both have!”