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Who We Are

The Anne Lister Society stems from the vision of Sally Wainwright, OBE (BAFTA-Award-winning writer, director, and executive producer of the 2019 BBC/HBO drama about Anne Lister, Gentleman Jack). In November 2019, Wainwright and her colleague, Anne Choma (diary transcriber and senior historical consultant for Gentleman Jack and author of Gentleman Jack: The Real Anne Lister), began present discussions with Pat Esgate (organizer of the Anne Lister Birthday Week celebrations in Halifax) and Laurie Shannon (Franklyn Bliss Snyder Professor of Literature at Northwestern University and Anne Lister Society coordinator) about creating an association.

To build the Anne Lister Society, this working group is collaborating with the two ground-breaking historians who brought Anne Lister to light: Helena Whitbread (author of I Know My Own Heart [1988] and No Priest but Love [1993], with new editions published as The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister) and Jill Liddington (author of Presenting the Past: Anne Lister of Halifax 1791-1840 [1994], Female Fortune: Land, Gender, and Authority [1998], and Nature’s Domain: Anne Lister and the Landscape of Desire [2003]); with scholars Caroline Gonda (Henry Philpott College Lecturer in English at St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge University and co-editor of the forthcoming collection, Decoding Anne Lister: New Critical Readings), Chris Roulston (Professor of French and Women's Studies at the University of Western Ontario and co-editor of Decoding Anne Lister: New Critical Readings), and Ros Ballaster (Professor of 18th Century Studies at Mansfield College, Oxford University; Faculty Board Chair of English at Oxford; and Principal Investigator on the Digital Edgeworth Network); with Joan Burda (attorney and member of the Anne Lister Diary Transcription Project); and with Rev. Jane Finn (Curate, Halifax Minster) and Councillor Jane Scullion (Deputy Leader of Calderdale Metropolitan Council).

We are glad to be liaising with Anne Lister’s magical estate, Shibden Hall, and the venerable Halifax Minster where she attended services and was buried.  We are also very grateful to be consulting with Ann Dinsdale (Principal Curator at the Brontë Parsonage Museum), David Glover (President of the Halifax Antiquarian Society), Libby Tempest (Chair of The Gaskell Society), Rachel Lappin (Secretary, Halifax Culture Hub), and Dan Sudron (Archivist at the West Yorkshire Archive Service).

We aim to keep the Society firmly grounded in Anne Lister’s Halifax and to build it into a membership organization over the coming years.

shibden hall anne lister halifax west yorkshire

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