Lily Cole hits back at critics in Bronte Society row

'She would not judge any piece of work on name alone'

Actress Lily Cole has responded to her critics after her role in commemorating the 200th anniversary of Emily Bronte’s birth was met with unexpected backlash.

The actress and supermodel was chosen as a creative partner at the Bronte Parsonage Museum to commemorate the bicentenary of the Wuthering Heights author’s birth.

But the appointment has proved particularly divisive among members of the Bronte Society after literary expert Nick Holland resigned in protest.


Mr Holland said that Bronte would not have approved of Cole getting the role, and claimed she was hired over a traditional writer to “attract a younger audience”.

Cole, 30, is currently making a short film for the museum about Wuthering Heights anti-hero Heathcliff, which will also tackle gender politics and women’s rights.

Responding to the criticism, she told the BBC: “I would not be so presumptuous as to guess Emily’s reaction to my appointment as a creative partner at the museum, were she alive today.

“Yet I respect her intellect and integrity enough to believe that she would not judge any piece of work on name alone.”

Announcing his resignation in a blog post, Mr Holland wrote: “It’s best that I leave the society now before they announce James Corden as the creative partner for 2019, a year in which Patrick Bronte is being remembered, and Rita Ora as organiser for Anne Bronte’s celebrations in 2020.”


Describing Cole’s appointment, The Bronte Society said: “Lily’s innovative projects in the fields of literacy, nature, story-telling and the environment are the perfect fit for Emily, and her originality and creativity will bring a fresh perspective to our 2018 celebrations.”