To ask Angela about speaking engagements, workshops, or other events, please contact The Felicity Bryan Agency, or


Persephone Books
On Wednesday 4th October there was a lunch to celebrate the paperback publication of Rosalind. Angela Thirlwell talked about the book and the actress Pippa Nixon read some of Rosalind’s speeches: they are curiously twenty-first century.

Previous Events 2016

National Theatre
Download the National Theatre podcast of Angela Thirlwell discussing Rosalind, Lear and biography with Michael Pennington and Al Senter.

Woman’s Hour
Listen to Angela Thirlwell discussing Rosalind on Woman’s Hour with Jenni Murray, Janet Suzman and Tanya Moodie. The interview was repeated on Weekend Woman’s Hour.

Defining Rosalind
Helen Hudson interviews Angela Thirlwell for the Barbican Life Magazine.

Barbican Library at The Barbican Centre 

Rosalind: How do you write the biography of an imaginary character?
Lunchtime talk, Wednesday 8 June 12.30 – 1.30.

National Theatre Platform talk
Lear and Rosalind: The Biographer’s Tale with Michael Pennington and Angela Thirlwell in the Dorfman Theatre.
Event chair Al Senter.
Monday 16 May at 5.30.

Chipping Campden Literature Festival, near Stratford-upon-Avon.
Angela Thirlwell was interviewed by Professor Russ McDonald. With readings by Auriol Smith, founder member and former associate director of the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond London.
Saturday 7 May at 12 noon.

2013: Guest session for Midge Gillies’ UEA/Guardian Masterclass on Biography at King’s Place, King’s Cross, London. The topic was ‘Painting Lives – the use of pictures as evidence in biography.’

2011-12: The first major Exhibition for almost 50 years devoted to Madox Brown, Pre-Raphaelite Pioneer, was held at Manchester Art Gallery from 24 September 2011 – 29 January 2012 and then at the Museum voor Shone Kunsten in Ghent, Belgium from 25 February – 3 June 2012. Angela wrote a character study of Madox Brown for the exhibition catalogue called ‘The Game of Life’, based on a mischievous parlour game he played in 1866. It has been reviewed on the Victorian Web:

‘Only Angela Thirlwell dares to use the word “great” about them (the Manchester murals, 25). A biographer, she has contributed a delightful commentary on a list of “Favourite Things” that Brown made for a parlour game in 1866. The list is shown in full on p.24, and ranges from light-hearted teasing (“Favourite Amusement: Flirting”) to blunt honesty (“Favourite Occupation: Selling pictures”), but Thirlwell gets good mileage out of nearly all of his answers, even his pet dislike: “Onions”! For example, “Favourite Hero: Goliath of Gath” introduces a discussion of his bible knowledge, developing into comments on his agnosticism. Similarly, “Favourite Poet: Swinburne” leads to some paragraphs on his social and love life, because Swinburne seems to have encouraged Brown’s current “painful obsession” with a beautiful Anglo-Greek student, Marie Spartali (27), with whom no doubt some of the “flirting” occurred. Particularly useful is Thirlwell’s information about his palette, inspired by the answer: “Favourite Colour: Magenta.” This, she suggests, “suited his new brio” as he emerged from the hard struggle of his early career into the rather brief period in middle age when he was more successful. Thirlwell’s parlour-game device cannot prevent a sadder note creeping in, when she takes up his “Favourite Air: ‘Blow, blow, thou winter wind.'” Perhaps one of his second wife Emma’s favourite performance pieces, this song leads to a discussion of Brown’s “mulligrubs” or melancholia (31), for which there would be more cause later. His declining years were blighted by the loss of the couple’s third and last son, Oliver, a promising young man of nineteen, in 1874; his own illnesses; Emma’s drinking too much; and her death in 1890. These years were scarcely cheered, either, by the enormous challenges posed by the Manchester Town Hall commission.’

— Jacqueline Banerjee, Associate Editor, the Victorian Web (UK): Challenging Genius: A Review of Ford Madox Brown: Pre-Raphaelite Pioneer

2012: Inspired in Hampstead: Ford Madox Brown – Pre-Raphaelite Pioneer
An illustrated talk for Hampstead U3A
Monday, 15 October 2012 in the Peter Samuel Hall of the Royal Free Hospital, Pond Street, London NW3 2QG

2012: Sunday 4th December Friends of Kenwood at Kenwood House, Hampstead Lane, London NW3 7JR Angela gave an illustrated talk called ‘FORD MADOX BROWN: A Pre-Raphaelite Journey From Ghent to Manchester – via Hampstead’. Honoured with a major exhibition in Manchester and Ghent in 2011 – 2012, Ford Madox Brown spent one annus mirabilis in Hampstead where he painted some of his most famous pictures. Angela focused on the spirit of place that inspired Brown, from Belgium where he was a teenage art-student to the city of Manchester which invited him in his maturity to make 12 stunning murals for its iconic new Town Hall. The pictures that still speak to us today such as The Last of England, Work and An English Autumn Afternoon were all painted on sites in Hampstead which we can identify more than a century and a half later.

A literary lunch in the south of France, Hotel Les Esparrus, Villecroze 83690. Saturday 12 November 2011.

An illustrated talk in conjunction with the exhibition ‘Ford Madox Brown: Pre-Raphaelite Pioneer’ at Manchester Art Gallery
Saturday 19 November

An illustrated talk for the Chorleywood Literary Festival, Chorleywood Memorial Hall, Common Road, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire WD3 5LN
Sunday 27 November

An illustrated talk for the Friends of Kenwood House, Kenwood
Sunday 4 December

2007: From Paint to Print: Nonno’s Legacy
A talk given at the University of Genoa, 19 September 2007

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