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Bustle: Inspiring The Internet Generation To Try Austen?

Jane Austen News

Bustle: Inspiring The Internet Generation To Try Austen?

bbcc89b0-e9f1-0133-e6f7-0a315da82319Bustle is a website well known for its popular culture and fashion articles (how to do your hair like Beyonce; what to wear to the office party; five reasons we love Jennifer Lawrence etc). More recently however we at the Jane Austen News have been pleased to see a series of articles popping up on the site which are dedicated to championing Jane Austen. These have included:

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Treat Mental Health by Reading Austen

Jane Austin News

Treat Mental Health by Reading Austen

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Jane Austen News – Issue 122

jane austen news

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 

Charles Austen’s Story to be Shown?

Writer Susanne Notman is helping to tell the story of Charles Austen, one of Jane Austen’s brothers who was an officer in the Navy, through her screenplay Our Own Particular Little Brother.

Notman’s screenplay recently won the Gold Remi award at the WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival, an event which attracts filmmakers from around the world. Notman’s work tells the story in the form of a part-fact, part-fiction script, which sees Charles Austen looking back over his life as he is dying of cholera in the Anglo-Burmese war in 1852. He reviews his time as the officer in command, his marriage to Fanny Palmer (the daughter of Bermuda’s Attorney-General), and his hope to get another command at sea, which effectively condemns he and Fanny to life aboard ship.

Notman’s research began when she met one of Charles Austen’s descendants, Francis Austen, in 1999. Since then she has found lots of information about HMS William (Charles’s ship) through the writing of Henry Wilkinson, who has written widely on Bermuda’s maritime history, and through ship’s logs, Charles’s diaries and letters from Jane Austen.

When Jane was writing to her sister Cassandra, she referred to him as ‘our own particular little brother… doing very well in Bermuda’. He sort of comes into his own in Bermuda.

Notman is currently developing the screenplay into a television series so that she can make room for the story to grow. We hope we’ll get to see Our Own Particular Little Brother grow into an excellent series and, maybe, on a screen near us soon!

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Jane Austen News – Issue 64

The Jane Austen News has mail!

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?  

 Jane Austen Inspired Anti-Bullying Campaign 

Recently we had a nice surprise in the post: a collection of handmade letters from students of a language school in Greece, who made them as part of an anti-bullying campaign and as their way of honouring the 200th anniversary of Jane’s death.

The overall campaign is called ‘Keep Smiling: from children to children’ and the project was done for Valentine’s Day (they arrived late).

The children named their card and letter collection ‘Jane Austen v Bullies’. All the students range in age from juniors to teenagers, and they participated whilst being inspired by Jane’s quotes and becoming familiar with her life and works.

They want us to keep the cards “as a token of appreciation for the work we do in honour of a literary giant”, which we thought was such an incredibly kind gesture, and we loved reading them all so we thought you might too!

Win A Free Dinner With Darcy and Lizzy in Woking

The Lightbox, a charity-run cultural space, gallery and museum in Woking, Surrey in England, has its tenth anniversary this year, and so to celebrate this milestone The Lightbox are holding their first Lightbox Literary Festival (from Thursday 20th April – Sunday 23rd April). We mention this as, since this year is not only the tenth anniversary of the opening of The Lightbox but also the bicentenary of Jane’s death, The Lightbox is holding a specifically Austen-themed event.

For the event, named Jane Austen 200th Anniversary, The Lightbox’s resident chef will create a Regency inspired menu just for the evening. Three indulgent courses will include Georgian-age gems like Black Butter, Mrs Martin’s mashed turnips and Regency roasted pork & apples. Guests will be invited to sample several dishes from the banquet table.

Then, after dinner, guests will round off the themed evening with a screening of the 2005 film version of Pride & Prejudice, and every guest will leave with a Regency-inspired goody bag filled with a Jane Austen novel, Regency recipes and other literary goodies. The event takes place on Friday the 21st of April at 7:00pm and tickets cost £49.

However – on our Facebook page we’re currently running a competition which is offering one lucky winner two free tickets to the event. You can enter via our competition post here.

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Jane Austen News – Issue 41

Jane Austen 200

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 

Romance At The Centre 

There was excitement in the Jane Austen Centre this week when one visitor was asked an unexpected question by her boyfriend, Jamie Scott. Charlotte, one of our centre guides, described what happened.

“I only saw a little bit because I wanted to give them some private time. But by some luck, they were the only two in their talk. When they got to the writing desks, they were alone in the room with only me! While she was reading some of the information boards he wrote ‘Will you marry me?’ on one of the cards.

“She then sat down at the other desk and he went and gave her his card. I had left at this point to give them a moment, but was just outside with Serena (another of our guides) when she said yes. He gave her the ring he had kept hidden until that moment, and then we came around the corner and congratulated them. She seemed overwhelmed. It was lovely!”

Help Design Jane Austen Benches 

the-house-that-jane-built-2-700x515Basingstoke and Deane is going to honour the 200 year anniversary of Jane Austen’s death by placing 25 specially decorated ‘BookBenches’ in and around the town during Summer 2017.

Local artists are being invited to come up with their own Jane Austen related designs which will be put onto benches that look like open books. Eventually the benches will be available as street furniture for the public of Basingstoke and Deane.

Director of the Sitting With Jane project, Sally Ann Wilkinson, said: “We look forward to a wide range of designs and different interpretations of all aspects of Jane Austen’s important contribution to literature be brought to life and celebrated by artists.

“The BookBench sculpture offers artists the opportunity to visually tell Jane Austen’s stories; the characters as well as her life, and bring enjoyment to thousands of people from around the world.”

Those who want to be involved have until December 1st 2016 to get involved through

If You Love Jane Austen, You Might Also Love….        

x500Jane Austen and the Brontës endure as British literature’s leading ladies (and for good reason)—but were these reclusive parsons’ daughters really the only writing women of their day?

This is the question which Shelley DeWees addresses in her new book Not Just Jane – Rediscovering Seven Women Writers Who Transformed British Literature.

Within her book DeWees aims to throw light on some of the female writers from the late 18th and the 19th century. Most people have heard of George Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Jane Austen and Jane Eyre; but there have to be more great female authors from history than that. DeWees introduces us to seven amazing but forgotten female authors as she weaves history, biography, and critical analysis into a narrative which tells the evolution of female life and the changing literary scene.

The Jane Austen News is looking forward to having a look at the book and discovering who some of Jane Austen’s contemporaries were.

Jane Austen – The Secret Radical
9781785781162-293x450On November 3rd Helena Kelly will be in Bath at Waterstones launching her new book Jane Austen The Secret Radical.  

Helena argues that Jane’s novels don’t confine themselves to grand houses and they were not written for readers’ enjoyment. Helena puts forward that Jane writes about serious subjects and her books are deeply subversive, we just don’t read her properly – and we haven’t been reading her properly for 200 years.

Within Jane’s novels are arguments on the subjects of feminism, slavery, abuse, the treatment of the poor, the power of the Church, and even evolution – at a time, and in a place, when to write about such things directly was akin to treason.

Reviewers have said ‘However well you think you know the novels, you’ll be raring to read them again once you’ve read this.’ We have to say; we’re intrigued…


What to Expect From The Jane Austen Writers’ Club     

jausfinalFrom one new Jane Austen book to another.

Rebecca Smith has just published her how-to novel which explains how to write a novel using examples from Jane Austen’s novels and letters of advice which she wrote to her own aspiring-author niece.

Smith starts with advice on how to plan your story, and create believable, well-rounded characters and their environs. Then she moves onto how Jane uses irony, and picks out details and speech mannerisms, which has to be one of her most honed skills. Smith herself writes: “This whole book could be devoted to Jane Austen’s use of dialogue.”

Some of the other key pieces of advice Smith offers are:

  • Be a people-watcher (and listener)
  • Find somebody you trust to edit your work
  • In the face of rejection, keep writing
  • Suspense, suspense, suspense!

This month the Jane Austen News will have a lot of reading to do!

For Austen Fans Near Reading  

reading-abbey357-correctionThis past weekend (28th-30th October), Jane Austen fans living near Reading got a treat when Helena Kelly (the author of Jane Austen The Secret Radical which we mentioned earlier) was in conversation with fellow “Janeite” Gill Hornby discussing Jane Austen’s political and social views and how she weaved her thoughts into her supposedly “safe” novels.

The talk was part of Reading Book Festival, and was a particularly good city to discuss Jane Austen in because it was in Reading at Reading Ladies’ Boarding School that Jane and Cassandra attended boarding school for a time. The boarding school was located by the Abbey Gateway and that fact is commemorated by a plaque on a nearby wall.

Hopefully there will be more events for Reading-based Jane Austen fans soon!

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 37

What’s the Jane Austen News this week? 

Big Money for New Austen Tenners? 
25083733_churchill-fiver-news-xlarge_transhrea7q0u4luctrhf7ldujk6lmambxgbkvpl81kzjdamOn the 13th of September the UK’s new five pound note was released for general use, and they caused a stir for those lucky enough to be given the sought-after low serial number notes.

Those given some of the million notes with “AA01” serial numbers soon found that their notes might be worth more than their face value, and soon the ebay listings began popping up. In fact one man who received three of the AA01 notes managed to sell the set for £456!

As well as a new polymer design to help the notes to last when in use, the new £5, £10 and £20 notes also feature a fresh set of important figures from UK history. The five pound note features Winston Churchill, the twenty pound note set for release in 2020 will feature JMW Turner, but the ten pound note due for release next year will feature Jane Austen. Three Winstons raised £456, and now at the Jane Austen News we’re wondering what kind of price a set of three “AA01” Austens could command.

The Cate Morland Chronicles – By Women, For Women    
maxresdefault-3The cast and crew behind The Cate Morland Chronicles, the new web adaptation of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, have said that one of the things they feel proudest of when it comes to the series is the fact that the crew is almost entirely made up of women, with the exception of one assistant director. Ellen Lloyd who wrote the script for the web series said that they originally wanted to have an all-woman cast, but they had to find some men for the web series. Lloyd says that series like The Cate Morland Chronicles show women can produce shows just as well as men can. We at the Jane Austen News are sure that Austen would approve of the efforts the cast and crew have put in, especially when it comes to female empowerment.

What To Expect From National Bookshop Day   

screen-shot-2016-10-02-at-20-06-44Around 2,000 bookshops across the UK and Ireland will be celebrating Bookshop Day this Saturday (Saturday 8th October) with special events, author visits, competitions, bespoke window displays and previews of some of the books which are set to be Christmas bestsellers. 

Titles by Margaret Atwood (Toppings in Bath will be hosting an event with Margaret Atwood), Michael Palin, Graham Norton, Ben Fogle, Jeremy Paxman, Miranda Hart, P.D. James and more will be hitting the shelves

National Bookshop Day will be an opportunity for bookshops and book-buyers to celebrate their love of books and bookshops, and the vital role that bookshops play in our communities. Customers and booksellers are being invited to share their love of bookshops on Bookshop Day with the hashtags #OnlyOnTheHighStreet and #BookshopDay.

Learning to Write Fiction With Austen   
9781408866061Rebecca Smith, the five-times great niece of Jane Austen, has just released her new book, The Jane Austen Writer’s Club,  which examines the major aspects of writing fiction; -plotting, characterisation, openings and endings, dialogue, settings, and writing methods. The basis for her book is the advice which Austen gave in letters to her aspiring novelist nieces and nephew, and Smith’s book also provides varied exercises for writers to try, using examples from Austen’s work.

Exercises include:

  • Show your character doing the thing he or she most loves doing. In the opening scene of Persuasion, Sir Walter Elliot looks himself up in the Baronetage, which is the Regency equivalent of Googling oneself. That single scene gives us a clear understanding of the kind of man he is and sets up the plot.
  • Use Jane Austen’s first attempts at stories to get yourself started. Write a very short story inspired by The Beautifull Cassandra, a work of eighteenth-century flash fiction.

With Jane Austen being one of the nation’s most well-loved authors, there could hardly be anyone better to teach us how to write.

Colin Firth’s Doppelgänger?    

marcus-field-colin-0If you can’t find your own Mr Darcy, then how about trying to arrange a meeting with Marcus Fields?

Marcus was told way back in 1995 when the BBC production of Pride and Prejudice came out that he was a dead ringer for Firth when a friend turned up at his 29th birthday party with a present: a framed photo of Mr Darcy to put on his wall. The photo was held up next to him for comparison, at which point other guests laughed and agreed. The joke stuck.

With the release of the new Bridget Jones he is once again being likened to Firth, those he doesn’t necessarily agree with the comparison”

My nose is big and bent beside his perfect Hollywood hooter; my jaw was never as square, my eyes too narrow to rival those almond-shaped beauties. But somehow my misshapen physiognomy, much aided by similarities of colouring and unruly locks of hair, has enough of a likeness for both confusion and amusement to be aroused.

What do you think? Is Fields a good doppelgänger for Mr Darcy?

Renaming Jane’s Novels     
writing-923882_960_720We at the Jane Austen News had a good giggle at the results from the first week of the National Association of Scholars’ new “Update the Classics: Add a PC Subtitle” contest, which were published in the US online magazine The College Fix . The task they were set was to add a politically correct subtitle to transform classic books “into something today’s sensitive yet resentful students can’t resist,” and the association chose Jane Austen novels as the first week’s target.

First place went to Darel Veal for Sense and Sensitivity Training (which the association said was not technically a subtitle, but was clever and succinct). The runners-up were; (Wo)Mansfield Park, Censor Sensibility, Personsfield Park: Local Theater as an Act of Subversion, Northanger Abbey: Anger is our True North, and perhaps our favourite suggestion, Manspread Park – Combating Patriarchal Postures across England’s Quaint Garden Benches.

Do any of our readers have any other ideas?

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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