On August 3 two stalwarts of the Brussels Brontë Group, Richard Fletcher and Sherry Vosburgh, took part in an English intensive course for Commission interpreters at the Borschette Centre. They strutted their stuff as readers of literary extracts in a Powerpoint presentation by interpreter and trainer Rosalind Perkins on Historical and Literary Links between Britain and Belgium.
The audience of interpreters, who work from their respective mother tongues into English, came mostly from the new EU countries. The course, organised by Kate Davies and Rosalind Perkins, was designed to improve their colleagues' language skills and their knowledge of the culture and history of Britain and other English-speaking countries.
Participants were welcomed by the music of Henry Purcell, one of several British composers who featured during the week. Rosalind Perkins emphasized the historical and literary links between Britain and Belgium, from the time of the wool trade to Waterloo, from Queen Victoria and her Uncle Leopold to the First World War, prominently featuring the Brontë sisters and their stay at the Pensionnat Heger.
Interpreter Richard Fletcher and retired translator Sherry Vosburgh read excerpts from Charlotte Brontë, Mrs Gaskell, Byron, Thackeray and several War poets. A walk followed in the steps of the Brontës, led by the knowledgeable and animated guide, Myriam Campinaire. The readers and guide all received little Belgian souvenirs of an enjoyable and educational cultural event - a first for the Brussels Brontë Group. What next, I wonder?
Sherry Vosburgh with contributions by Rosalind Perkins