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Gin Austen – An Exclusive Mr Darcy Recipe!

Gin Austen - Mr Darcy's Demise

We have an exclusive additional Mr Darcy recipe for you Gin Austen fans!

The marvelous Colleen Mullaney, author of the run-away success ‘Gin Austen: 50 Cocktails to Celebrate the Novels of Jane Austen‘, has created an exclusive bonus recipe just for us at the Jane Austen Centre and Online Gift Shop.

Gin Austen Mr Darcy's Demise

Continue reading Gin Austen – An Exclusive Mr Darcy Recipe!

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Mr Darcy Teaching Romance To Sports-Mad Men Of Today

Mr Darcy Teaching Romance To Sports-Mad Men Of Today Continue reading Mr Darcy Teaching Romance To Sports-Mad Men Of Today

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Love Letters Don’t Have To Go To Mr Darcy

Jane Austen News

Love Letters Don’t Have To Go To Mr Darcy

Continue reading Love Letters Don’t Have To Go To Mr Darcy

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Jane Austen News – Issue 116 – Colin Firth

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? Colin Firth! 

Colin Firth Broods Again

Colin Firth as DarcyIf you’re reading this then in all likelihood the role that you most associate with Colin Firth is the brooding Mr Darcy from the BBC’s 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Well, good news, Firth-Darcy fans: Colin’s next big role is another classic brooding character.

Film companies StudioCanal and Heyday Films are currently working on a new film adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s beautiful novel, The Secret Garden. Colin Firth will play the mysterious and complex character of the bereaved Archibald Craven. Julie Walters is also set to star as strict head housekeeper Mrs Medlock. Filming begins this month but there’s no firm news on a release date as of yet.

However, just an aside, it’s not The Secret Garden you might recognise from the book or the 1993 feature film which featured Maggie Smith as Mrs Medlock. The book is set in the Edwardian era in which it was first published, but the new film will be start in 1947 as the partition of India began and Britain was in the post-war aftermath. As well as welcoming Colin Firth back to our screens, it will be interesting to see what the change of setting brings to the story!

Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 116 – Colin Firth

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Pride and Prejudice Rehearsals Weeks 1-6

Pride and Prejudice rehearsals

 With four proposals, three Regency dances, two confrontations with Lady Catherine and one kiss with Mr Darcy, rehearsals are well under way.


It has been 6 weeks since our Pride and Prejudice journey began and oh so much has happened!

Including all of this…


Meet the Bennet sisters!

Jane Bennet (Alicia)
Lydia Bennet (Jess)
Kitty Bennet (Rose)
Mary Bennet (Chloe)
(And me!) Lizzie Bennet


And when we’re not in regency dress we like to relax with our other favourite cast member, the Athenaeum’s giant bear, aka Mr Darcy’s understudy…


With less than 7 weeks to go before our first performance, rehearsals have been in full swing. .We started by blocking the play whilst we had use of the stage, focusing on projection, space and entrances and exits. From here we rehearsed in the Function room three times a week, looking at the closer details of each scene. So far I have been particularly focusing on my more ‘main’ scenes including the famous first proposal from Mr Darcy… ‘You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you’. Johnathon (Mr Darcy) and I have been working closely on this scene to achieve the maximum emotion that is portrayed. It has been challenging and at times tiring (as I’m in every scene!), yet we are all thoroughly enjoying this exciting journey!

We have all been very busy trying to learn lines…

We even had a competition to see who could take a picture with their tote bag in the most interesting place. I believe Sir William Lucas won when he captured this in Venice!


And how are the Directors feeling so far…

“We are very happy with the progress made so far. The cast are working very hard to get “off book” and their hard work is beginning to show. Behind the scenes things are coming together nicely. Our producer is getting props organised. We have a soundtrack. We have a little over 6 weeks to go and I am feeling confident about the standard of this production. Tickets sales are coming in as people take advantage of the early bird offer.”


 until next time…

Zoe B

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Finding Happiness, Austen Style: Party with Bride and Prejudice

Bride and Prejudice

Welcome to the third of a multi-part series of posts on how to lift yourself out of the blues, Austen style.

Kindly reproduced here with permission from its author, Laurie Viera Rigler, who is also the author of the popular Jane Austen Addict novels.


The days are getting shorter. Winter is coming. A dragon has been turned. But are we sad? No. Because we have the cure, and now so do you.

It’s called Bride and Prejudice, the life-affirming, Bollywood-meets-Hollywood tribute to Pride and Prejudice.

Not only is it a clever, spirited, heart-opening adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, but there are also two other very important reasons for you to watch:

1. Nathan Riggs from Grey’s Anatomy. That’s right, Martin Henderson plays Darcy.

2. Naveen Andrews from Lost. He plays the Bingley role.

Need I say more? I needn’t but I will: There’s the gorgeous Aishwarya Rai in the Elizabeth role; Ellaria Sand, that is, Indira Varma, in the Caroline Bingley role; and the most hilarious portrayal of Mr. Collins (by Nitin Ganatra) since David Bamber’s brilliant work in the Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle P&P.

Just watch the trailer and see if you can resist. Come on, grumpypants—I dare you.

This film merits a party. At the very least, invite at least one friend over to watch with you. Or have a party all on your own. You deserve it. To prepare:

  • Be sure to bring in plenty of Indian food.
  • And don’t forget to get some floaty scarves to wave around while you dance along with the various musical numbers. That’s right; dance. You didn’t think you were going to be a couch potato, did you? How would that help the endorphins flow?

Keep the party going long after the credits roll: Download the soundtrack.

  • Play it in your car or while commuting to work.
    Play it while you do otherwise boring stuff like folding laundry.
  • Play it just because.
  • And sing along.

Most important: Keep these immortal words from Pride and Prejudice in mind whenever the blue devils strike:
“But Elizabeth was not formed for ill-humour; and though every prospect of her own was destroyed for the evening, it could not dwell long on her spirits…”

This quote is from the Netherfield Ball scene, when Elizabeth first realizes that the then-object of her affections, Mr. Wickham, is a no-show. Instead, she gets stuck dancing with the odious Mr. Darcy. Remember how that ultimately turned out for her? If that doesn’t cheer you up, I’ll give the next two dances to Mr. Collins.
I don’t know about you, but I feel better already.

(Fun fact: Another hit by Bride and Prejudice director Gurinder Chadha, Bend it Like Beckham, is also super uplifting. Make haste and add it to your cinematherapy arsenal.)

Laurie Viera Rigler is the author of the Jane Austen Addict series.

Visit her at her website

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Jane Austen News – Issue 29

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?


Austen and Shakespeare – Pop Culture Throughout Time
05WILLJANEJP4-master675The new exhibition at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington called Will & Jane: Shakespeare, Austen, and the Cult of Celebrity includes some of the more goofy material objects that have been made to celebrate Shakespeare or Austen in recent years. Some are more corporate than others – empty shoe boxes with Jane’s name on them, sticking plasters, etc etc, but all show what an amazing influence the two writers still have on the world. What really caught the eye of the Jane Austen News though, were the antique pieces of memorabilia; some of them over 100 years old.

Some antique memorabilia included in the exhibition are; a series of 18th-century porcelains showing famous actors as Richard III, a signboard for the Shakespeare’s Head tavern from the late-17th or early-18th century, and antique bellows carved with Shakespeare’s face. We are by no means lacking items celebrating Austen and Shakespeare today, and not all of them are received with open arms; some may be considered tacky or overly commercial. So it’s interesting to see what passed for commemorative merchandise in the past, and to consider what of today’s memorabilia may end up in a similar Austen/Shakespeare exhibition a couple of hundred years in the future.

Will & Jane: Shakespeare, Austen, and the Cult of Celebrity is on show at the Folger Shakespeare Library, 201 East Capitol Street S.E., Washington until the 6th of November 2016.

JASNA Announces Essay Competition Winners  
writing-a-letterTo foster the study and appreciation of Jane Austen, JASNA conducts an annual student Essay Contest. The 2016 Essay Contest Topic (which was in line with the JASNA Annual General Meeting theme, “Emma at 200: “No One But Herself””) was education.

The complete essay brief was:

Education is a running theme in Emma. For instance, there are teacher/pupil relationships, a school, and former and aspiring governesses.  Discuss how this emphasis shapes the plot, develops characters or reflects the views of the period.

Essay writers were asked to submit their essays in the hopes of winning; a $1000 scholarship, free registration and two nights’ lodging for JASNA’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Washington DC, recognition at the AGM and on the JASNA web site, publication of the essay on JASNA’s web site, one year’s membership in JASNA for both the winner and his or her mentor, and a set of Norton Critical Editions of Jane Austen’s novels. Second and third place were awarded similar smaller prizes.

The submissions were divided into three age groups: high school, college/university, and graduate, and the winners of the first, second and third place in each age group have now been announced. Their essays can be found on the JASNA website here.

Cast Announced For Pride and Prejudice Tour     
Tafline-SteenIn a previous edition of the Jane Austen News we announced that Matthew Kelly is set to star as Mr Bennet in the 2016/2017 UK tour of Pride and Prejudice. Well now we’re pleased to say that the full cast has been announced.

In addition to Mr Kelly, the cast will also include:

What a cast!

Are You Bromley’s Mr Darcy?      
mr-darcy-coverGood news for any Jane Austen fans living in or near Bromley in London! To celebrate the national tour of Pride and Prejudice coming to Bromley’s Churchill Theatre in September,  a competition is being held to find Bromley’s very own Mr Darcy.

The competition asks for nominations to be made of husbands, boyfriends, sons, brothers, or just friends who are as dashing as Darcy. To nominate someone you need to email a picture and short reason for your nomination to by August 19, 2016.

The finalists are decided by public vote, which opens on the News Shopper website from August 22nd.

The finalists will then be announced on August 31, 2016 and they will take part in “a fun regency themed competition” (intriguing) on the afternoon of Saturday 10th September.

The winning Mr Darcy will receive a prize of:

  • A pair of tickets to Pride and Prejudice at the Churchill Theatre Bromley Friday, September 23, 7.30pm
  • Pre-show meal and bottle of prosecco at the Churchill Theatre Bromley Friday, September 23, 6pm
  • Overnight stay for two including breakfast at Bromley Court Hotel Friday, September 23.
  • Return taxis from Bromley Court Hotel to the Churchill Theatre Friday, September 23, provided by Cannon Cars.
  • £50 Intu Bromley shopping voucher

Stephanie Barron On Her New Book and Why Jane Is So Popular 

"Jane and the Waterloo Map" book cover

While speaking in a recent interview to promote her latest book, Jane and the Waterloo Map, Stephanie Barron (author of thirteen  Jane Austen mystery novels) explained why she thinks that Austen is still so popular today.

When asked by Jane Ammeson, who was reporting for, what the key to Jane Austen’s continuing popularity might be, she had this to say:

Part of Jane’s enduring appeal is that she understood how women think, and just as importantly, that women like to be appreciated and valued for their intelligence as much as their physical appeal. Austen had an acute understanding of the human heart and human motivation; this allowed her to fashion complex and compelling characters, both male and female. Her perceptions remain true to human lives today—we’re still learning from her acute understanding.

We at the Jane Austen News completely agree.

Airing Jane’s Early Work 

history-englandjpgv1376562490.jpegPride and Prejudice has to be the novel which comes up most often when talking about Jane Austen. However, while it is undoubtedly a fantastic work, many Austen fans feel that more ought to be done to promote Jane’s other writing. For this reason we were delighted to read that at the recent Holt Festival (Norwich, UK), when The Archers actress Emerald O’Hanrahan performed readings of Jane’s work in a white gown and mob cap, she dramatised not only passages from most of Austen’s novels, but also performed readings from Austen letters and several humorous snippets from her juvenilia, including her History of England.

It’s wonderful to hear that Jane’s early writing is getting some of the publicity it deserves.

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 News – Issue 28

Jane Austen News reads Persuasion online

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?

 Editing – With Pins!     

News: Pins in Jane Austen Everyone has their own style of editing, and Jane’s style is the perfect example of why Post-It notes are such an amazing invention!

The Jane Austen’s Fiction Manuscripts Digital Edition describes her editing process:

With no calculated blank spaces and no obvious way of incorporating large revision or expansion she had to find other strategies — small pieces of paper, each of which was filled closely and neatly with the new material, attached with straight pins to the precise spot where erased material was to be covered or where an insertion was required to expand the text.

Pinning your corrections to your manuscript is certainly not one we’d come across before. This is why we at the Jane Austen News love the online manuscripts so much; insights like this. Also, the chance to see her first drafts in her own hand is simply amazing.

If you’d like to see them for yourself, Jane Austen’s Fiction Manuscripts Digital Edition can be found here.

Austen’s Emma An Example To Us All     

Mr-Woodhouse-Emma-Woodhouse-George-Knightly-jane-austen-12820609-405-270Emma isn’t exactly renowned as being the best example to follow when given a choice between Austen’s heroines. However, this week The Telegraph has made a very good case for why more of us should be like Emma.

More than a quarter of people aged over 65 who live on their own are lonely, and more and more of those of us who are over 65 do now live on their own. But why is this asked James Bartholomew? In most societies for most of human history the elderly have lived with or near their grown-up children. James doesn’t see why this should change? Why can’t we be more like Emma?

George Knightley finally proposes to Emma Woodhouse. Many people will have forgotten that she initially refuses him. Why? … She believes she has an absolute, unbreakable obligation to stay living with her lone, elderly father.

The problem is overcome when Knightley offers to come to live with her at her father’s home after they marry. So all is resolved to make a lovely Austenesque happy ending.

And some people say that Austen’s books aren’t relevant to our modern lives anymore!

All Austen and None of the Others      

evelinaWho doesn’t love a good Austen adaptation? They have to be some of the most popular TV and films out there.

However…The Spectator has broached the subject – what about those authors not in the classic adaptation canon?

You’ll get Dickens, Tolstoy, Jane Austen and — so garlanded by now in TV adaptation terms that she joins their ranks — Hilary Mantel. You might get the odd better-known Brontë, if you’re lucky, and Hardy always goes down well. Then what? George Eliot — quite wrongly — is usually seen as a bit on the stodgy side and not concerned enough either with love or jokes. In more recent times entire decades seem to be monopolised by Waugh, Wodehouse and Le Carré.

So who does Sam Leith, the author of the article, recommend for adaptation?

I canvassed bookish friends on social media briefly while writing this, and can report as a finger to the wind that there’s considerable enthusiasm for Elizabeth Taylor, Henry Green, Ronald Firbank, George Gissing, Somerset Maugham, Fanny Burney, Naguib Mahfouz, Patrick Hamilton, Honoré de Balzac, Emile Zola, Wilkie Collins, Simon Raven, Arnold Bennett and Joseph Roth.

We think Sam has a point. We still want our Austen adaptations – don’t misunderstand us; we absolutely love them, but there are certainly some other great authors, and some contemporaries of Austen, whose work we’d also love to see getting some recognition on screen.

Coming Soon To The Jane Austen Centre: Mr Darcy

Final-Coming-Soon-300x198Good news for fans of Mr Darcy! Coming soon to the Jane Austen Centre is a life-size model of Mr Darcy himself.

Within the next couple of weeks Mr Darcy in the (almost) flesh will take up his pride of place in the centre, and will be on hand for our guests to take photos with, stage proposals with, and generally marvel at.

Keep your eyes peeled on the centre Facebook page and Twitter feed for updates and sneak previews!

All Roads Lead To Austen
51Gkv0yGSNLThe Jane Austen News came across an interesting read this week while browsing through the many Jane Austen related books that are out there. This one intrigued us because it was a cross between a travel book, a memoir, the book Eat Pray Love, and a book club. All Roads Lead To Austen by Amy Elizabeth Smith sees Professor Smith take one year out to travel around six countries and see what Emma, Pride and Prejudice, and Sense and Sensibility mean to readers in those countries. Is Austen universally relevant as well as timeless?

Crossing Austen with a book about exploring South America is a new one on us, and we thought worth a mention as it might be of interest to some of our jet-setting Janeites.

Austen At RidgeCon
21b577346404b837c1d7e37c268e9628Ridgefield Library in Connecticut will be holding their all-ages celebration of popular culture on Friday, August 12th and Saturday, August 13th. Last year the title of the event was Comic Con, but this year the rebranded RidgeCon reflects their more diverse line up. The theme is “What are you a fan of?”, and as well as the expected appearances of Frozen, Star Wars, Doctor Who, Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland, and a vast selection of superheroes and cartoon characters, there will also be an emphasis on Jane Austen – represented in an adult evening on Friday at 7 p.m. for fans of Downton Abbey, Jane Austen, Sherlock Holmes, and other “British fandoms”.

The evening will include a Jane Austen Society of North America card game, signature themed cocktails, Downton Abbey trivia and games, and a drawing for British-themed prizes from UK Gourmet, Harney & Sons and Simpson & Vail.

It sounds like a good evening if you can make it. Tickets and information on the event can be found at

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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