What’s the Jane Austen News this week? Jane Austen in Pakistan Goes From Strength to Strength We hear that the Jane Austen Society of Pakistan is going from strength to strength. Good news indeed! You may well have heard of Jane Austen societies in America, England and Australia, but one that’s less well known is the Jane Austen Society of Pakistan (JASP for short). The society was founded in Islamabad but now also has chapters in Karachi and Lahore and its members number over 800. The society began in 2014 when Laaleen Khan, an ardent Austen fan since her childhood, decided to establish the society. JASP enjoys Jane Austen quizzes, dressing up in Regency costume, discussing her books, and playing cards. Khan recently explained online why she thinks Jane Austen is popular in Pakistan. There are so many parallels between Austen’s Regency-era society and South Asian society today. The obsession with the marriage market, for one thing, complete with concern for reputation, eligibility, decorum, propriety and ancestry juxtaposed with elements of snobbery, misogyny and hypocrisy. We have our share of disapproving Lady Catherine de Bourgh-esque society aunties, rakish Wickhams and Willoughbys, pretentious Mrs Eltons and holier-than-thou Mr Collins types! The society continues to grow and hopes to raise funds for literacy programmes in Pakistan through the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation, founded by Caroline Jane Knight, Austen’s fifth great niece. Austen School Room to Open in Reading A plan is underway to create a schoolroom in the place where Jane Austen
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