What’s the Jane Austen News this week?
Big news!!! Set to air twenty-five years after Colin Firth first set hearts racing while playing Mr Darcy in the BBC’s 1995 series, is a new TV adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.
Mammoth Screen, the makers of the hit series Poldark and Victoria, are currently working on a TV adaption of Pride and Prejudice for ITV. The production firm has said that they’ll focus on “the darker tones” of the novel and have commissioned playwright Nina Raine to adapt the book, though the cast is yet to be confirmed. Raine is an interesting writer to choose for the job as she hasn’t adapted novels for TV before, but her play, Consent, which opened at the National Theatre earlier this year has gained strong reviews. She’s keen to show Austen’s “dark intelligence” and prove that Pride and Prejudice was “actually a very adult book; much less bonnet-y than people assume”.
Damien Timmer, the managing director of Mammoth, told Radio Times: “In this age of the box set – with audiences loving to binge on complex, serialised dramas – it feels absolutely right to reassess the great classics. Every generation needs its own adaptation of this perfect novel.”
Pride and Prejudice has won first place in many different polls looking to find the nation’s favourite book, but it’s not just the UK that loves Austen. New Zealanders are also big Austen fans – with Pride and Prejudice coming in the top 15 of the country’s favourite books, alongside the likes of the Lord of the Rings and 1984.
What really struck us here at the Jane Austen News however were the reading statistics that came out just before the new list of the country’s top 100 books. It shows that New Zealanders read an average of 20 (20.6 to be exact) books a year! Although it also showed that around 394,000 New Zealanders didn’t read a single book during 2016.
How do your reading habits compare?
If you’re quick you might just have time to enter this great competition…
Neil Gaiman, Philip Pullman, Joanna Trollope, Lamn Sissay and Joanne Harris are all taking part in a five-day yoga challenge organised by The Society of Authors in order to raise awareness of how important it is for writers to look after themselves and each other.
This week (Monday 7th-Friday 11th), the society is tweeting a daily photo of a yoga pose “inspired by a much-loved book” (not that we’ve ever really automatically associated a yoga pose with a book but there you go). People are being invited to submit a picture recreating the pose, trying out an alternative inspired pose, or “subverting” the pose. The best response to each day’s challenge will win a signed book donated by Gaiman, Pullman, Trollope, Sissay or Harris.
We mention the challenge, not only because it’s a great opportunity to win a signed book from an amazing author, but also because on Wednesday the pose will be inspired by Pride and Prejudice, and the winner of Wednesday’s P&P pose will win a signed book from Philip Pullman.
Entrants should tweet their shape in the form of either a photo, illustration or description, with the hashtag #SoADoesYoga no later than Sunday 13th August and winners will be announced in the week beginning August 14th. Hope you’re all feeling flexible!
As this is the bicentenary year of Austen’s death there have been lots of special exhibitions and publications coming out which partially and wholly reference the author and her work. One which caught the eye of the Jane Austen News as being a bit different is a new book written by author James Bowman of Ely.
The Real Persuasion – Portrait of a Real-Life Jane Austen Heroine, follows the life of Katherine Bisshopp; a clever, beautiful real-life Anne Elliot. Katherine’s father is a vain gentleman, her sister overly fretful, her true love a handsome naval officer who she falls in love with but who she turns down, as her proud family consider him to be inadequate. Years later he returns with a fortune and further misunderstandings ensue before they are reunited. The parallels between Anne and Katherine are great indeed!
Drawing on Katherine’s letters and journals and other family papers, this relates the joys and anxieties of her youth, her harrowing eleven-year courtship with George Pechell, and their happy and prosperous union, which produced two daughters and a son.
Splinter chapters explore Austen’s portrait of society, and reveal “the extraordinary coincidences of character and circumstance between Katherine Bisshopp and Anne Elliot, while the real woman’s experiences after her marriage are seen as a possible future for the fictional heroine.”
Perhaps a good read for Persuasion fans?
The New Yorker had a fun article this week in which journalist Blythe Roberson detailed a few ideas for Austen adaptations of the future. They’re very tongue in cheek but they’re good for a giggle.
Released in the year 2117, this rare film adaptation of “Persuasion” tells the story of an extremely elderly (twenty-seven-year-old) spinster who reconnects with her naval-officer ex-love. In this updated version, the Navy guys are always talking about how sea levels have risen, like, five whole inches in the past year alone, which maybe doesn’t sound that bad, but it is.
or how about this one….
Lydia Bennet’s Snapchat Story
This Snapchat story depicts the life of a modern-day Lydia Bennet in ten-second chunks. It starts out as a pretty standard third-tier-friend-of-Kylie Jenner Snapchat, featuring dog filters, inflatable pool swans, and hunks. Nothing really changes when there’s drama with Wickham, except that Lydia begins overusing the sad-pineapple emoji sticker. Long after there’s anything interesting going on between Lydia and Wickham, they try to stay relevant by getting really into crystals.
The full article with all of the sure-to-be-snapped-up adaptation ideas can be read here.
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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