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Jane Austen News – Issue 56

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?   

Jane Austen Fans – Lend Us Your Eyes!     

The Jane Austen News is pleased to announce that over the next few weeks we will be publishing a most interesting letter written by Hans van Leeuwen, a lovely Jane Austen fan from the Netherlands.  

Below is just a taster:

Dear Jane

It is no uncommon occurrence for me to be seen opening a book not written by yourself for the sake of propriety, but hardly have I progressed to chapter two of such a book when I find myself growing increasingly uncomfortable from an anxiousness to replace it by one of your works. How exasperating that I should think it wrong sometimes to be always seen reading the same book or a book by the same authoress! I do, in the end, follow my own inclinations rather than bend to the wishes of others, but only after caring too much about other people’s opinions and patiently putting up with their suggestions to read what they themselves probably have not read. Yet even then I feel the shackles of conventionality, as testified by my continually looking about me when, at length, I have mustered courage enough to go to our library upstairs and choose one of your books again, on which, to your credit, dust never has time to settle.

Hans is hoping to receive remarks and tips for improvements from native speakers of English, preferably Jane Austen devotees, and the purpose of sharing the letter with us is so that some valuable feedback might be gained. 

We hope you might enjoy reading it as much as we did, and that you might share your thoughts in our comments sections as it is published. 


Meeting Young Jane Austen

This week the Jane Austen News heard from Cecily O’Neill; a writer, director and workshop leader based in Winchester. She had exciting news for us that the world premiere of her stage work, Meeting Miss Austen, is going to be performed at the Winchester Discovery Centre as part of the Winchester Festival this year.

In these plays, based on Austen’s Juvenilia, we hear the voice of the teenage Jane, exuberant, saucy and often surreal in tales of love, loss, vice and victuals…

‘The company partook of an elegant entertainment. After which, the bottle being pretty briskly pushed about, the whole party was carried home dead drunk.’ (Jack and Alice)

Cecily also treated us to a sneak peek at one of her most compelling characters – Lady Greville. You can read more about what Cecily had to say about her here.

The performances will be on Saturday 8 July 2017. 8:00pm and again on Sunday 9 July 2017 3:00pm.


A Jane Austen Opera  

A brand new opera based on Mansfield Park will make its debut performance at The Grange Festival in Hampshire this year.

The opera festival’s organisers have specially-commissioned the work to help commemorate the 200th anniversary of the death Jane Austen, and to further add to the atmosphere of the piece, it will be performed on Saturday September 16 and Sunday September 17 at a Grade1 listed neo-classical mansion.

Casting so far includes Martha Jones as Fanny Price, Sarah Pring as Lady Bertram, and Grant Doyle as Sir Thomas Bertram, plus Angharad Lyddon, Henry Neill, Jeni Bern, Daisy Brown, Nick Pritchard and Oliver Johnston. It’s composer is Jonathan Dove, who has recently won a BASCA for The Monster in the Maze, a community opera commissioned by the London Symphony Orchestra, Berliner Philharmoniker and Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, and who has performed under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle in three separate productions.

We’re sure it will be a fantastic production!


What’s So Great About Jane Austen?

On Tuesday 4th July, four well-known writers will be gathering at London’s British Library to discuss just what is so great about Jane Austen, as well as arguing for their favourite of her novels.
The writers are:
Paula Byrne – the author of The Real Jane Austen, which introduces us to a woman deeply involved in the world around her, yet far ahead of her time in emotional and artistic development. She champions Austen’s Mansfield Park.
Helena Kelly – the author of Jane Austen, the Secret Radical, ‘a sublime piece of literary detective work’. Her choice of Austen novel is Persuasion.
Kamila Shamsie – novelist, speaks up for Pride and Prejudice, which she has loved since childhood.
Last but not least, the discussion is chaired by John Mullan, author of What Matters in Jane Austen? He praises Emma.
With such a line-up it’s sure to be an interesting and hotly fought discussion! Ticket prices are; full price: £10.00, senior 60+: £8.00, student: £7.00, registered Unemployed: £7.00, and under 18: £7.00.

Vote For Your Favourite   

At last 23 finalists have been chosen in the competition to win the £5,000 commission from The Folio Society to illustrate their new edition of the Jane Austen classic, Mansfield Park. Excitingly, the competition allows the public able to vote online for their favourite.

The voting for the Visitors’ Choice award ends at midnight on 22 February, with the winners of the main prize and the Visitors’ Choice award announced on 23rd February at an event at the House of Illustration in King’s Cross London. This is also where the finalists work will be on display from 11 February until 12 March. The awards will be presented by historian and Jane Austen expert Lucy Worsley, who is also on the judging panel which will decide which illustrator will be awarded the commission.


The Jane Austen Centre is a Hit in Aus 
We were so pleased to read that Susan Kurosawa of the newspaper, The Weekend Australian, picked visiting the Jane Austen Centre as one of its top things to do in Bath.

“There is no ignoring the presence of Jane Austen in this mannered city where she lived from 1801-6 and set chapters and scenes of her novels. Take a Mr Darcy tea at The Regency Tea Rooms in the Jane Austen Centre on Gay Street, dress up for photos in Regency-era clothing from its wardrobes, or purchase mementoes such as a Jane Austen cookie cutter or Georgian teacup and saucer earrings in its well-stocked shop.”

We love reading reviews from our international visitors, so if any other Jane Austen Centre fans come across reviews in their local papers (wherever that may be) do let us know!


Jane Austen Day with Charlotte

Jane Austen News is our weekly compilation of stories about or related to Jane 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 Jane Austen Online Magazine.

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