Tuesday 20 November, 7:30pm, St Mary's Church

The Tortured Mind: Creativity, Mental Health and the Brontës


In partnership with the Brontë Parsonage Museum


Tuesday 20 November 7.30pm | St Mary’s Church

A panel discussion with Michael Stewart, Clare Shaw and Bidisha chaired by Rob Webster, chief executive at South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.


The panel discussion focuses on creativity and mental health, and how the family’s experience of mental health issues may have influenced their creativity, with a wider discussion about creativity and mental health.


Michael Stewart is a multi-award winning writer. He has written two acclaimed novels, King Crow and Café Assassin. His latest novel Ill Will: The Untold Story of Heathcliff was published in March 2018. Michael Stewart is the creator of the Brontë Stones project, which features four new, original works of writing, engraved on stones in locations that connect the Brontë sisters’ birthplace in Thornton and the Brontë family parsonage at Haworth. Michael works as a senior lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Huddersfield.



Clare Shaw’s third poetry collection Flood, which was published in June 2018, offers an eyewitness account of the floods in West Yorkshire in 2012 and 2015. Acting as a powerful metaphor for wider experiences, ‘flood’ runs through the book in different forms – bereavement and trauma, the Savile scandal and life in an asylum. Often addressing political and personal conflict, her poetry is fuelled by a strong conviction in the transformative and redemptive power of language. Clare is a Royal Literary Fellow, and a regular tutor for the Poetry School, the Wordsworth Trust and the Arvon Foundation. She is also a mental health trainer and activist and lives in Hebden Bridge.



Bidisha is a British writer, film-maker and broadcaster for BBC television and radio, Channel 4 News and Sky News and is a trustee of the Booker Prize Foundation. Her fifth book Asylum and Exile: Hidden Voices of London, which is based on her outreach work with asylum seekers and refugees, was published in 2015. Bidisha is chair of judges for the 2018 Forward Prizes for poetry and has directed a short film, An Impossible Poison, which premiered in Berlin in 2017.




Rob Webster has worked in healthcare since 1990, including in national leadership roles in the Department of Health.
He is a visiting professor in the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences at Leeds Beckett University, an honorary fellow of the Queen’s Nursing Institute and the Royal College of General Practitioners, and is a fellow of the RSA.



Tickets £5