Book Events: summer/autumn 2024

This is a hybrid programme. Although there won't be Gentleman Jack series 3, Anne Lister certainly isn't going away! Screen Australia has a new Anne Lister film in development. And in July, As Good As A Marriage, the sequel to Female Fortune which inspired Gentleman Jack, is out in paperback.

Meanwhile, the centenary is looming of women winning equal political rights with men - in 1928, at long last! And given our intrepid local suffragettes, it's never too early to think about celebrating this heroically-fought victory. All part of Calderdale's Year of Culture 2024!

June 2024

Saturday 22: Suffragettes and Slaves: Votes for Women in Halifax. 11.30-3.30.

A 4-hour Calderdale Heritage walk from Skircoat Green across Savile Park, visiting the homes of Halifax's own 'nest of suffragettes'. Our route goes along Queens Road and down Pellon Lane to the Mechanics' Institute where in 1911 Emmeline Pankhurst urged women to boycott the census.

Meet Jill Liddington and David Glover (President, Halifax Antiquarians) at the Standard of Freedom, New Lane, HX3 0TE. Please bring packed lunch and drink. After a cup of tea and Q&A in Halifax, we return to Skircoat Green by bus about 3.30 pm.

Tickets here (£6): Pre-booking essential.

Thursday 27: Lavena Saltonstall: local tailoress turned suffragette. 7-8.30 pm.

Lavena Saltonstall was born in 1881 in the valley below Heptonstall; and around her tenth birthday she became a half-time tailoress in a Hebden Bridge clothing factory. Then in 1906 Lavena got caught up in the dramatic swirl of labour and suffrage politics. She moved to Halifax and here, along with other local suffragettes, she went down to Westminster, was arrested and sentenced to 14 days.

She also wrote about the stultifying expectations of Edwardian women: 'As I am a tailoress many people think it is my bounded duty to make trousers and vests…and thank God for my station in life… The exceptions are considered unwomanly and eccentric people'. Yet, despite her compelling writings, Lavena remained virtually forgotten - till Rebel Girls (2006 Virago).

Heptonstall Museum, organized by Friends of Heptonstall Museum, Church Yard Bottom, Heptonstall HX7 7PL. Book stall and book-signing; proceeds to the Museum.

Tickets and more info here - £5 for non-members.

July 2024

Tuesday 9: As Good As A Marriage - paperback edition, Manchester University Press £18.99. Pre-order here

Thursday 11: As Good As A Marriage.
Lunchtime book-signing session, 12.30 – 1.30, the Book Corner, Halifax Piece Hall, HX1 1RE. Come along to meet the author and have your book signed. Hope to see you there!

Saturday 13: Anne Lister: what she inherited and what she bequeathed.
10.30. A short Calderdale Heritage walk round the Shibden estate nearest to the Hall. Judge for yourself how Anne Lister transformed her inheritance – and how her legacy subsequently benefitted Calderdale.

Meet Jill Liddington at the Shibden Hall front entrance (by the blue plaque) at 10.30. This circular walk ends at noon. Then you have a choice: either to browse the Shibden bookshop, enjoy a cup of tea and Q&A; or explore inside the magnificent Hall (for which you should pre-book your ticket).

Tickets here (£6) Pre-booking essential.

October 2024

Friday 4: How suffrage campaigners took their message across Yorkshire – to Whitby.
Doors 6pm, talk 7pm.

Author Storm Jameson, born 1891, grew up in Whitby and her Journey from the North vividly conjures up the remoteness of the fishing port then. Yet suffragists in the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies (NUWSS, led by Mrs Fawcett) were determined. From August 1908, their horse-drawn caravan wended its way across rural North Riding and down to Whitby. Poignant postcards record the rigours of 'vanning it' - including speaking by the water's edge to a crowd in Whitby.

Whitby Museum, Pannett Park, Whitby YO21 1RE. Bookstall and book signing, proceeds to the Museum. Pre-booking essential. Tickets here, £15 (£12 for members) includes glass of wine.

Wednesday 9: Anne Lister: what did she ever do for Calderdale?
7.30 – 9 pm.
My suggestion is: she did lots! First, she wrote a 5½ million-word diary, much of it written in her own secret code, detailing her romantic and sexual relationships with other women. Decades later, the diaries fell to the possession of Halifax Borough. It became Calderdale only in 1974 with local government reorganization.

Second, in 2011, Anne's magnificent diaries were included in UNESCO's UK Memory of the World register, alongside diarist Samuel Pepys. International recognition indeed! Finally, in 2019 & 2022 Sally Wainwright's drama 'Gentleman Jack' aired on BBC1 and in the US via HBO. A global audience, many of whom headed for Halifax to celebrate her birthday in April. So, yes, surely, Anne's done a lot for Calderdale!

Stone Roses Women's Group, Ryburn WI. Function Room, The Malthouse, Rishworth. Bookstall and book-signing; proceeds to Stone Roses. Booking via Eventbrite [weblink to follow]

Sunday 13: Rebel Girls: their Fight for the Vote. 4.30 – 6 pm.

Drawing on brand new evidence, Rebel Girls (Virago 2006). tracked the thrilling tale of campaigners who took their Votes for Women message right across across Yorkshire. In Halifax, suffragette heroines included Poor Law Guardian Mary Taylor of Skircoat Green; Dr Helena Jones from Wales; and Lavena Saltonstall, tailoress from Hebden Bridge, who moved up to Halifax to join the local 'nest of suffragettes' So why was their story neglected for so long?

Industrial Museum. Square Road, Halifax HX1 1QG. Weblink for booking [coming soon].
This is part of the Town Festival of Music and Words, a grassroots festival organized jointly by the Book Corner and Grayston Unity. It runs 10th - 20th October, and is, of course, part of Calderdale's Year of Culture. Don't miss it!

Recent Talks