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Pictures from the Jane Austen Festival 2019

All across Bath, bonnets have been sewn, dresses ironed and buckles polished, as we’ve welcomed visitors new and old to this year’s Jane Austen Festival!

The yearly festival favourite, our costumed promenade, saw hundreds of visitors in their finest Regency outfits basking in the late autumn sunshine as they sauntered through the streets of Bath.

Starting in Sydney Gardens, the parade was led by His Majesty’s 33rd Regiment of Foot.

The Guildhall played host to the Festival Fayre, where visitors could find everything Regency, from bonnets to books.

Events have been taking place all week, including theatrical performances, book readings, events at the Regency Tea Rooms, crafting workshops, tours and much more.

Is we write there, there are still two full days of the festival to go, so it’s not too late to take part – head over to the Jane Austen Festival website for a full schedule of this weekend’s events!

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Jane Austen News – Issue 135

the jane austen news is looking forward to seeing colette

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 

In Defence of the Period Drama

Keira Knightley has been in a great number of period dramas. She was Elizabeth Bennet in the 2005 film of Pride and Prejudice, Anna in Anna Karenina, Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire in The Duchess…the list goes on.

As a regular actress in period dramas, Knightley has been keen to defend the genre, which is often diminished or mocked as blatant Oscar bait or air-headed fantasy. This is something which has often haunted film adaptations of Jane Austen. Her work is often reduced to only its romantic elements, and the socially satirical side of her work glossed over; as if these two elements cannot exist together.

Knightley has done her best to highlight the merits of the genre however, something she has done brilliantly while promoting her latest film Colette (more on that in a moment).

There’s a negativity around them [period dramas], because predominantly they’re female… The strongest characters I’ve found have been in period roles.

And from a 2014 interview:

When I was younger, I felt like I really was doing something wrong for doing period films. I think I’ve now got to where I can stop apologising for that bit, and go, ‘I love them, I’ve always loved them, I loved doing them.’

We totally agree! If you love period dramas, you shouldn’t have to apologise for loving them.

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Jane Austen News – Issue 125

The Jane Austen News' collection of writers

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 

Austen Exception to the Rule?

In new research, Cornell University psychologists found that study participants were more than twice as likely on average to call male professionals – even fictional ones – by their last name only, compared to equivalent female professionals. This example of gender bias, the researchers said, may be contributing to gender inequality.

The Jane Austen News' collection of writersThe eight studies, which included male and female participants, showed the difference which came from the first name distinction. When men were referred to by only their surname that were perceived as more famous and more important than the women who were referred to by their first and last names. Researchers say that the implications for political campaigns could be important as “it’s possible that referring to a candidate by their full name instead of just their surname could have implications for fame and eminence.”

It’s true that we usually say “Shakespeare” but “Virginia Woolf”, and “Hardy” but “Mary Shelley”, however, we like to think that Austen might be the exception to the two-name rule. Jane Austen is certainly the only really famous Austen who we think of when we hear the name Austen!

Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 125

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Jane Austen News – Issue 85

The Jane Austen News is a festival report

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?  

“As Spectacular As It Is Surreal”

We loved watching this report from Helen Coffey of The Independent newspaper.

Helen made the journey from London to Bath especially to take part in the first full day of the Jane Austen Festival on Saturday 9th. Though as you’ll see if you watch her video, her journey was nothing compared to the distances which some Jane fans had traveled!

Noteworthy News

One of the biggest Jane Austen stories this week has to be that, finally, the new Jane Austen £10 note has been released into general circulation. On September 14th a lucky few found themselves being given the new notes by banks, ATMs and as change. So, what have been the ‘noteworthy’ news stories surrounding the notes:

1. If you’re going to Scotland on holiday and hope to come away with a Jane Austen £10 note as a souvenir you might need to think again. While there may be some notes that make their way that far north, Scottish banks won’t be issuing them. That’s because Scotland differs from England and Wales in that it has three commercial banks that issue their own banknotes – rather than relying on the Bank of England.

2. BBC One Breakfast News presenter Charlie Stayt nearly got himself into trouble when he managed to fold and crease one of the notes that he and fellow newsreader Naga Munchetty had been granted special access to on the day of the official release. She was not impressed: “[They’re] also supposed to be crease-free – unless your name is Charlie Stayt.” (He had supposedly scrunched up one of the new notes during the BBC Breakfast show’s early morning run.)

3. As is the case with the £5 notes, some of the new £10 notes could be worth thousands thanks to their serial numbers. The £5 notes with low serial numbers beginning ‘AA’ were highly sought after. This is still the case with the £10 notes, but in addition to these some of the most valuable serial numbers include; 16 121775 – her birth date, 18 071817 – her death date, and 17 751817 – her birth and death year combined.

4. If you’re itching to get your hands on one of the new Jane Austen £10 notes then good Jane Austen news! We’ll soon have specially framed notes for sale via the Online Giftshop. So even if you aren’t coming to the UK in the near future, you’ll still be able to have an Austen note of your very own.

 Before He Was Darcy

The Internet has been all aflutter this week as images of Colin Firth in his first ever film have resurfaced and spread like wildfire. Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 85

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Jane Austen News – Issue 84

The Jane Austen News looks at the promenade

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?  

A Wonderful Walk Was Had By All

On Saturday (the 9th) we saw the fourteenth Jane Austen Festival in Bath officially opened with the traditional Regency  promenade.

The parade began from the front of the Royal Crescent at 11am, and wound its way through the historic streets of Bath, finishing up at the beautiful Parade Gardens where a floral tribute to Jane Austen in this, her bicentenary year, has been on display throughout summer (you can read more about it in previous editions of the Jane Austen News here and here).

The promenade was a big success; the sun was shining and the weather was just ideal! Around 550 people took part in this year’s promenade and, in case you couldn’t be with us, here’s a quick edit of the event.


A New Pride and Prejudice Pilot Is On The Way

Curtis Sittenfeld’s Pride and Prejudice adaptation Eligible is getting a pilot.

Sittenfeld published her book back in 2016 as part of the Harper Collins ‘Austen Project’, which sees six famous authors re-writing Jane’s classic novels in a modern setting. Val McDermid rewrote Northanger Abbey, Joanna Trollope did Sense and Sensibility, Alexander McCall Smith took on Emma, and as for Persuasion and Mansfield Park, these are both still yet to be released and the names of the authors taking them on have not yet been announced.

The project has been a real success overall; especially Sittenfeld’s book. Eligible was on the New York Times Bestseller List for many weeks and was hailed as “book of the summer” by the Times. Now it appears that it may also be turned into a new TV series.

Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 84

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Jane Austen News – Issue 34


What’s the Jane Austen News this week?

The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen – Volume II  
jane-austen-2-coverThe author Collins Hemingway officially launched his new book; The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Volume II – a new historical novel based on Austen’s life, on Saturday 10th September the first day of Bath’s 2016 Jane Austen Festival.

Volume I of The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen trilogy was released on the 24th of June 2015, while volume III has no release date at present. But for now we’re happily getting stuck into volume II.

The fiction trilogy addresses the enduring rumors of whether Jane Austen had a lost love or a tragic affair, why Jane Austen prematurely put on her “cap of middle age”, and why, after her death, did Jane’s beloved sister Cassandra destroy her letters and journals.

Reviewers have praised The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen for the quality of the writing, its compelling love story, its sensitive treatment of the historical Austen, and its meticulous research.


Success at The Jane Austen Festival      

So as mentioned above, this week saw the beginning of the 16th Jane Austen Festival in Bath. After a pre-festival get together on Friday 9th, Saturday saw the festival officially opened with the Grand Regency Costumed Promenade.

The sight of so many Jane Austen fans marching through Bath (in somewhat disappointing weather but that did not dampen any spirits) was truly a majestic one.

If you couldn’t make it to the city to see it in person, here are a few photos from the event:







We’re very much looking forward to the rest of the festival!

In Defence of Including Austen With Kant and Hegel

kant-and-hegel-xlDean Brian T. Kelly of Thomas Aquinas College in California has defended the study of Jane Austen’s Emma alongside other more ‘academic’ texts looking at the subject of The Beauty of Truth and Sincerity.

During their first semester students read Emma in between Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and George Friedrich Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit because, the Dean says, “her work promotes a profoundly healthy and sane view of human life and reality as a whole.”

Jane Austen’s novels are witty, suspenseful, charming, and eminently sensible. Her work is suffused with a wholesome, feminine sanity. My only regret is that we don’t have room in the seminar to require seniors to read Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice as well.

At the Jane Austen News we are so glad to see evidence like this that there are respected academics out there championing Jane’s work. Certainly the Dean does not share the view which some of his students have; that Emma is just a “chick book”.

Jane and Other World-Changing Women Book   

image-3Kate Pankhurst has just published her gorgeous new children’s book; Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World. The book was born out of illustrations Kate did for another publication and contains the stories of various famous names like Coco Chanel, Amelia Earhart, and Jane Austen!

Opposite is one of the illustrations of the book, that of Emmeline Pankhurst who is a distant relative of Kate. We at the Jane Austen News think her work is beautiful and are really looking forward to seeing her illustration of Jane.

I wanted to find a real cross-section of women whose stories show that it’s possible to excel at anything if you put your mind to it. Someone like Jane Austen was an obvious choice, but what was really lovely was digging out the stories of women whose names are far less well known, but whose achievements are no less extraordinary.

Kate Pankhurst

Jane Bennet’s Advice for Introvert Dating    
janebennet2005Not everyone is a Lizzy Bennet, some people are more like Jane; a bit more reserved and shy but just as loving. The trouble is that being shy can make those of us who are more introverted nervous when it comes to dating. So, based on Jane Bennet’s romantic adventures, Verily has found four keys pieces of advice for the introverted.

  1. Affirm a man in his interests.
  2. Ask yourself how you would feel if the person you liked moved on because they didn’t know how you feel.
  3. Live your life and leave the door open. (Jane didn’t sit about waiting for Bingley to return – she “diverts” herself.
  4. Ask friends for help. (Not what Jane did, adds the article, but just think what might have happened if she had.)

The full article and advice can be found here.

Preservation or Demolition for Austen House 

tonbridge-high-streetThere are worries that parts of the historic town of  Tonbridge could be lost forever following the presentation of plans to demolish a property linked to Jane Austen’s family.

180 High Street is more than 200 years old, and despite a campaign to save the building, believed to have been home to Henry Austen – a cousin of Jane Austen’s father, Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council finally approved its demolition last summer after a planning saga lasting years.

Despite its age the property is not a listed property, and this was cited by inspectors as one of the main reasons that there are no grounds for it to be saved. In an attempt to avoid its demolition, local resident Suzannah Niklas started an online petition, and argues that it should be preserved as a tourist asset. The argument goes on and currently the petition, which was begun in 2011 but is still live, is a long way short of its required 5000 signatures.

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.

Don’t miss our latest news – become a Jane Austen Member and receive a digest of stories, articles and news every week. You will also be able to access our online Magazine with over 1000 articles, test your knowledge with our weekly quiz and get offers on our Online Giftshop. Plus new members get an exclusive 10% off voucher to use in the Online Giftshop.

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Jane Austen Festival 2015 – success

Jane Austen Festival 2015 Masked Ball

The Jane Austen Festival 2015

Wow, what a great Festival we’ve had this year. 10 days and over 60 events plus record attendance. I think everyone agrees it was the best ever.

jane austen promenade
Stopping the traffic on the Promenade

Continue reading Jane Austen Festival 2015 – success

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Guinness World Record

We Did It. Jane Austen Guinness World Record regained

Austen_Guinness Record
550 inside Bath’s Assembly Rooms
Adrian Lukis Austen Festival
Actor Adrian Lukis (BBC’s Mr Wickham) and some of his friends

The Jane Austen Festival in Bath, which began this weekend, has reclaimed the title of ‘Largest Gathering of People Dressed in Regency Costumes’.
The Guinness World Record was originally set in 2009 by the festival itself, which is held each September and recognised as the biggest of its kind in the world, when 409 people gathered in the famous Assembly Rooms in the city.
This July, however, that number was surpassed by 491 American Austen festival-goers in Greater Louisville, as part of an event organised by the Jane Austen Society of North America. Although this figure had yet to be officially recognised by Guinness, it was the one the UK Jane Austen Festival had set itself to beat. On Saturday (13 Sept), with 550 men, women and children, all suitably attired in Regency costumes, they did so.
Adrian Lukis, who played George Wickham in the BBC’s celebrated 1995 adaptation of Pride & Prejudice, opened proceedings. Adrian was guest of honour, having become the festival’s patron earlier in the year.
The announcement of the new record was made by MC John White.
The record attempt, which took place once again in the famous Assembly Rooms, is just one of the highlights of what organisers are calling the biggest festival yet in the event’s fourteen year history.
After leaving the Assembly Rooms, participants then took part in the Grand Regency Promenade – a spectacular costumed perambulation through the streets of Bath that traditionally marks the opening of the festival – making their way past many of the world heritage site’s most iconic landmarks, such as the Royal Crescent and the Circus.
The rest of the festival programme, which runs between 12th – 21st September, includes more than eighty events, starting with Jo Baker – acclaimed author of Longbourn, soon to be made into a film – and ending ten days later with a performance by the hugely popular and widely acclaimed Austentatious.
In between these two events, there are walks, talks, performances and readings, along with many more events celebrating and reflecting both the famous writer herself – who stayed in the city between 1801 and 1806 – and the period in which she lived.
Other highlights are a series of performances at the Mission Theatre, Corn Street. These include: ‘Austen – a musical’; Pride & Promiscuity!’ performed by New Zealander Penny Ashton as part of a world tour; and a unique version of ‘Northanger Abbey’ by the Box Tale Soup Theatre Company.
This year also marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Austen’s most contentious book – Mansfield Park – and this is celebrated by the reading of the entire text over the course of eight days at Bath Central library, a talk and discussion by Professor John Mullan and a rare outing for ‘Lover’s Vows’, the controversial play that appears within the book.
The final weekend of the festival will include a Regency Costumed Masked Ball (Sept 19) which will be held in another iconic Bath building, the Pump Rooms.
Jackie Herring, director of the Jane Austen Festival said: “It is absolutely marvelous we have reclaimed the record with 550 people and such a wonderful round figure, as well. It was touch and go for a while but then we had a rush at the end. It a fantastic way to start the festival and bring the record back to the city Jane Austen called home for several years of her life.”


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