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Jane Austen News – Issue 127

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What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 


Music and Austen and Bath – A Classic Combination

Great Western Railway teamed up with ClassicFM.com this week to promote their summer of adventures – where GWR encourage more people to take train journeys to parts of the UK in order to have ‘adventures’ by exploring cities they’ve never been to before.

The article on ClassicFM.com focuses on exploring Bath and, quite naturally given that Classic FM is primarily a site for fans of classical music, the role which Bath played in developing Jane’s love of music.

The young writer and her friends and family attended a number of balls and tea dances at The Assembly Rooms, as well as concerts at Sydney Gardens and the Old Orchard Street Theatre.

As a keen amateur musician, Austen would have listened to and enjoyed the new, fashionable music on offer throughout the city.

Austen wrote her most famous novels after those years in Bath, but the influence of the city was still there. Bath provided inspiration for two of her six published novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. The latter features concerts in the Octagan Room of The Assembly Rooms.

Eight volumes of Jane Austen’s own sheet music collections are still around today. Two of them are written out in her own handwriting… And it was at Bath’s most fashionable events that Austen would have discovered all this great music.

We do hope that the article inspires more people to come to Bath this summer and explore the city.

“Without music, life would be a blank to me.”

Emma


Bernie Su on Filming and The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

If you’ve been a reader of the Jane Austen News for a few years then you’ll probably have heard mention of the hit YouTube series, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. It was the first show on YouTube to win a Primetime Emmy, and introduced a good number of viewers to the world of Austen and, specifically, Pride and Prejudice. The series creator was Bernie Su, who recently spoke to the online magazine Backstage about his experience building a career on the web, and his relationship to Jane Austen fans.

How did your career change after the show [The Lizzie Bennet Diaries] became a hit?
To clarify, the show itself was the life-changing experience. The Primetime Emmy was a very, very nice validation for what the show achieved. But by the time we won, lives were already changed. Having a breakout hit and winning Emmys did what you’d expect it to do for a creator—more respect, more resources, more opportunities. But I think the biggest change in my personal career was how I was suddenly associated with Jane Austen fans. I can’t say that they all love my work, or love how I adapted their favorite author’s source material, but I can say without a doubt that thousands more people become more familiar with her work and have read the original material because of a couple web series I created.

What do you think is a showrunner’s most important skill?
Again, having only done this for digital, I’d say it’s keeping the show running on schedule and under budget. I think most writers like to think it’s about the quality of your writing, but I don’t fully agree with that. The writing is amplified by the team around you. With ”Lizzie” and ”Emma,” I was always trying to push writing assignments away from me. I don’t have the most credited episode writing credits on either of those shows, and I’m very proud of that. The Emmy win for ”Emma Approved” was for its last three months of content, during which I think I wrote maybe two of the 24 episodes.

The full interview with Su can be read here.


Harry Kane Follows in Austen’s Footsteps

Micro-engraver Graham Short has spent hundreds of hours etching 5mm portraits of Harry Kane, the England football team captain, on to six £5 notes.

Austen fans might recognise Graham Short’s name as he made headlines in 2016, when he etched similarly tiny portraits of Jane Austen, alongside quotes from her work, onto £5 notes (one of which he kindly donated to the Jane Austen Centre!).  As with the Austen notes, the Kane notes have been insured for £50,000, and “fans should expect that sum altogether if they were to auction the notes.”

Mr Short said he wanted to celebrate Harry Kane’s Golden Boot award – which the skipper won after scoring six goals in the tournament.

So he has etched six new notes which have the engraving: “World Cup Golden Boot Winner 2018” alongside a picture of Kane.

One of these highly sought after artworks will go to the FA, and one to Kane himself to mark and record his achievements. The other four will be surreptitiously spent at innocuous locations across the UK… until they are found again by lucky members of the public.

Delicate work indeed, but at the Jane Austen News we’d still rather have an Austen note…


IKEA Creates Free Reading Room

IKEA has teamed up with the Man Booker Prize to create ‘Reading Rooms’ filled with free novels.

Now that the Man Booker Prize longlist has been published, IKEA has said that it will celebrate reading for relaxation and try to encourage the nation to read at home by hosting ‘book clubs’ where the public can read and take away a copy of one of the 13 longlisted titles at its Wembley store in south London. The rooms will run from Tuesday 31st July until 5th August. One-hour slots in the reading rooms can be booked for free online.

“Visitors will be able to come to a dedicated space in IKEA Wembley and enjoy a good read in the most relaxing of conditions. This space will enable people to relax and unwind. With hour-long slots available from 10am to 6pm Tuesday to Saturday and 11am-5pm Sunday, bookworms will be able to curl up with a book (which they can also take away with them) and unwind into a wonderful state of escapism in their own cosy, personal living room.”

The initiative is designed to “help alleviate stress and help make the home a haven again”.

Gaby Wood, literary director of the Booker Prize Foundation, said of the project: “Our homes are filled with devices that allow the digital world to encroach on our private lives.” She urged people to “reclaim your privacy, and your imagination” through reading a book.

We’d certainly never say no to a free book and a relaxing hour of reading!


Jane Austen Day with Charlotte

Jane Austen News is our weekly compilation of stories about or related to Austen. Here we will feature a variety of items, including craft tutorials, reviews, news stories, articles and photos from around the world. If you’d like to include your story, please contact us with a press release or summary, along with a link. You can also submit unique articles for publication in our Online Magazine.

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