Updates to the Jane and Brontë 200 calendar

Diverting readers! I just added a slew of events celebrating Jane and the Brontës 200 anniversaries to this year’s calendar.

Upcoming events:

Be sure to check out the rest of the calendar as some of the events that began earlier this year are ongoing. If you know of any events, US or worldwide or there need to be corrections, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Jane Austen Monopoly Game is Coming

Jane Austen Monopoly

I did not see this coming. To celebrate the city of Winchester, UK, a Monopoly version of the game was released this past week. The game was influenced by the 200 death-versary of our Jane.

From the BBC:

Playing pieces could include the King Alfred the Great Statue and its cathedral, and banknotes in the game could feature a portrait of the author.

Residents can nominate landmarks in the city to fill the spaces on the board.

From the Hampshire Chronicle:

The game will see around 30 leading Winchester landmarks replacing the famous Monopoly addresses like Mayfair and Park Lane. We are inviting the public to help us put this edition together by sending in votes and suggestions. From very initial soundings we have so far had the most wonderful response.

We are absolutely sure this will be one of the best Monopoly editions anywhere every in the world. It may probably prove a case of what is left off rather than on.

The Chance and Community Chest cards will be Winchester themed too. One could send players back three spaces for getting stuck in a Winchester traffic bottleneck. It’s a blank canvas at the moment but it will be ready to be released in time for this Christmas and will hit shop shelves this October.



Jane and Bronte 200 Calendar Updates

A lot of great events / festivals / conferences happening this year on our Jane and theBrontë’s and I’ve been updating the calendar like mad. Here is what’s coming up this year:

And as always, if you have more to add to the calendar, please don’t hesitate on getting in touch!

Jane Austen and the Arts

Image of Jane Austen

Here’s another great conference I just learned about! SUNY Plattsburgh is having a three day conference on Jane Austen and the Arts which starts on March 23 and ends on the 25th.

From the press release:

This conference is intended to bring together the considerable recent scholarly work of faculty both within and outside of the SUNY system.  It welcomes members of the general public, many of whom are themselves experts on Austen.  One day of the conference will be devoted to undergraduate papers in order to provide students with professional experience.  Fittingly, there will be an English Country Dance, complete with a dance workshop led by Sharon Schenkel.

The conference has topics such as “Exposing Character: The Art of Letter Writing in Pride and Prejudice,” “Art and Artifice: Lady Susan and the Authorial Process,” and “Marianne Dashwood: Songs of Love and Misery.” This conference is geared more towards academia but there are loads of topics that would appeal to the general Austen reader. You can find the program listing here.

Sanditon: 200 Years

Beginning March 29, Trinity College, Cambridge will be hosting a three day conference to celebrate Jane Austen’s Sanditon, her unfinished final novel started in January of 1817 and not completed by her death in July of that same year.

From the press release,

This conference will be devoted to discussing a diverse range of subjects relating to Jane Austen’s last work. Papers on thematic, historical, stylistic and biographical topics are invited. Particular attention will be given to the manuscript of Sanditon and Austen’s compositional processes, as well as to the reception and textual history of Sanditon in terms of editions, adaptations and continuations.


The conference will be held at Trinity College, Cambridge, with planned visits to King’s College and to Austen exhibitions at the University Library, Cambridge and the English Faculty, Cambridge.

The Sanditon manuscript, currently housed at King’s College, Cambridge will also be on view.

What would Darcy have looked like?

Matthew McFayden

This one nearly slipped through my search filters! According to the Evening Standard, there is a month long (!?) series being commissioned by Drama TV to celebrate Jane Austen.

From the article (you’ll have to scroll down and look for the subtitle, “Darcy was not such a hunk”):

To launch its Jane Austen season beginning on Sunday, the TV channel Drama has commissioned a pair of distinguished academics,  Professors John Sutherland and Amanda Vickery, to spend a month deciding what “the real Mr Darcy” would have looked like.

Being sound mind and a librarian, I went looking on Drama’s website and searched high and low for a press release with this announcement but couldn’t find squat.

(note: Drama is a UK television station so no word if it will make it to the U.S. ALSO, I stand by my choice of Matthew McFayden as Darcy as he is most dreamy.)

(note the second: Amanda Vickery is right up there with Lucy Worsley and Dr, Janina Ramirez as my top choices for historians. Bettany Hughes isn’t that far behind!)

A smattering Jane Austen (and Brontë!) books coming out in 2017

The Making Of Jane AustenTitle
: The Making of Jane Austen
Author: Devoney Looser
Publication date: June 21, 2017

Less a biography,  The Making of Jane Austen centers on not just what influenced Austen in her life but also how Austen’s work influenced others long after her death. According to Publisher’s Weekly, in an interview with Looser, “Austen had been invoked for political causes as early as 1908, when her name was emblazoned on banners held by suffragettes marching through the streets of London.”

While the book is being published by John Hopkins University Press, a regular publisher of academia titles, this quote, by Deborah Yaffe, of the title should change those who may normally shy away from such titles: “This highly entertaining book makes clear that contemporary Janeites – with their cosplay, their clashing interpretations of much-loved novels, their wet-shirt Darcy, and their fiercely possessive relationship to their favorite author – are heirs to a tradition of Austen-love that stretches back to the early 19th century. Devoney Looser’s brilliant detective work introduces us to a cast of creative, courageous and eccentric women and men who helped keep Austen’s work alive and vital into our own time.”

KinderGuides to Pride and PrejudiceTitle: Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen: A KinderGuides Illustrated Learning Guide
Author: Melissa Medina, Fredrik Colting, Lett Yice
Publication date: April 1, 2017

I could not find much information about this book, even the quote by Publisher’s Weekly, is odd since I cannot find the review. It seems KinderGuides are classic literature books made simple for kids, such as this title is a children’s picture book and is only 45 pages long but despite its short length, the illustration is gorgeous.

A Girl Walks into a BookTitle
: A Girl Walks Into a Book: What the Brontës Taught Me about Life, Love, and Women’s Work
Author: Miranda Pennington
Publication date: May 16, 2017

Finally! A Brontë book!

An “off-beat memoir,” Pennington uses the Brontës as the backdrop of her life: ” She began to delve into the work and lives of the Brontës, finding the sisters were at times her lifeline, her sounding board, even her closest friends.” This subject matter is so up my alley, I just contacted the publisher to see if I can get an advanced reader’s copy.

Cocktails with Jane
Cocktails with Jane
Author: Alison Maloney
Publication date: April 1, 2017

Also more my speed! Cocktails with Jane is a book of gin recipes with an Austen twist. “The cocktails, of course, all have Jane Austen associations in their names and in their character. The Darcy has great taste and an aloof charm. The Lizzy B is sparkling and zestful. The Pemberley is elegant and refined.” It’s a shame this is coming out in August as the warm summer months are perfect for drinking gin. Who am I kidding? The U.K. never gets warm summer months.
The Jane Austen TreasuryTitle
The Jane Austen Treasury
Author: Janet Todd
Publication date: May 2, 2017

This seems doesn’t see to be terribly original content – it’s basically a collection of witticisms, facts, and other miscellany about Austen. With that said, it might be a good book to have on hand when you’re doing Jane Austen trivia night. (I know some of you are probably doing this already, so don’t even try and deny it.)

The Secret History of Jane Eyre



Title: The Secret History of Jane Eyre
Author: John Pfordresher
Publication date: June 27, 2017

This title pulls back the novel’s exterior and looks at its influences and influencers, Charlotte’s mindset, and the hows and whys of the books’ birth.

According to the publisher’s website, the main question pushing this book forward is, “Why did Charlotte Brontë go to such great lengths, on the publication of her acclaimed, best-selling novel, Jane Eyre, to conceal her authorship from the press, the London literary establishment, and even her closest friends?”

Not much else is known about this title, but the cover alone looks intriguing enough but just like The Making of Jane AustenThe Secret History of Jane Eyre is published by an academic publisher.

The Spirituality of Jane AustenTitle
: The Spirituality of Jane Austen
Author: Paula Hollingsworth
Publication date: April 1, 2017

In this title, Hollingsworth puts forth the idea Jane was a fierce, yet gentle, religious person. I’m not sure I’m following that train of thought  –  in my memory — which can be faulty — Jane’s books included religion in part of her skewering. Going to church always seems like an afterthought and any character in her books marrying a man of the cloth did so because it was the thing to do not necessarily for belief purposes. I’ve added this title to my Austen Amazon list, but it’ll probably be farther down the list to read.

The BrontësaurusTitle:
The Brontësaurus: An A-Z of Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë (and Branwell)
Author: John Sutherland, John Crace
Publication date: November 14, 2017

Okay, I love this idea. I have rarely found books about siblings to encompass all of those siblings. Sutherland and Crace give us the  Brontës in digested forms. With Crace at the helm, you know it’s going to be good. Crace, some of you may know, does the Digested Reads column and podcast over at The Guardian. Crace is to the point, funny, and provides a bit of snark into his pieces. This book is sure to be a delight.

At Home With Jane AustenTitle
At Home with Jane Austen
Author: Lucy Worsley
Publication date: July 11, 2017

I am so excited about this book, I gave the book its own post!

From the post, “Holy cat’s pyjamas! One of my favourite historians is releasing a book on Jane this summer to coincide with the 200th anniversary of her death. (Pour one out for Jane’s death, amen.)

“From the publisher, ‘On the eve of the two hundredth anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, take a trip back to her world and the many places she lived as historian Lucy Worsley visits Austen’s childhood home, her schools, her holiday accommodations, the houses – both grand and small – of the relations upon whom she was dependent, and the home she shared with her mother and sister towards the end of her life.
‘Worsley examines the rooms, spaces and possessions which mattered to her, and the varying ways in which homes are used in her novels as both places of pleasure and as prisons. She shows readers a passionate Jane Austen who fought for her freedom, a woman who had at least five marriage prospects, but – in the end – a woman who refused to settle for anything less than Mr. Darcy.'”

Take Courage: Anne Bronte and the Art of LifeTitleTake Courage: Anne Brontë and the Art of Life
Author: Samantha Ellis
Publication date: February 28, 2017

This title, like Jane Austen: Secret Radical, has been making the reviewing rounds. I’d say about 20% of the news articles coming my way about Austen/Brontës are about this title. I think much of why that is is because it’s about Anne Brontë, the often forgotten sister. I wrote a post about Anne last month (in conjunction with the docudrama about the Brontë siblings , “To Walk Invisible.). I am excited for this title as I’m always a big fan of the underdog.

Amazon’s page for the book says the book is to be internationally released on February 28th, but there isn’t an option to pre-order.

Jane Austen the Secret RadicalTitle
Jane Austen, Secret Radical
Author: Helena Kelly
Publication date: May 2, 2017

I wrote last week about the furor and decisiveness over this book but for me it piqued my interest so much so I contacted the publisher to get an advanced reader’s copy which arrived a few days later. I have stumbled across a few other reviews, one pretty indepth alleging Kelly was “inspired” by their work heavily and it’s evident throughout the book. I’ve stepped away from any publications with reviews for this title to form my own opinions. I hope to have an honest review up within the month.

The Genius of Jane AustenTitle
: The Genius of Jane Austen
Author: Paula Byrne
Publication date: June 27, 2017

I KNEW this title seemed familiar! This is an updated version of Bryne’s book, first published in 2003, published by Bloosmbury Press, a small academic-y publishing house. I’m hoping with the updated content, I can assume will match the recent surge of movies since 2003, AND a contemporary publisher (Harper Collins) that will make the work more reader friendly and widely available, this title will rock socks.

Jane Austen ProjectTitle
The Jane Austen Project
Author: Kathleen A. Flynn
Publication date: May 2, 2017

Super, super stoked about this book. The premise of two time travellers who arrive in Jane Austen’s time to meet, befriend, and steal from her. Plus I love the cover. So imagine to my great delight when the author contacted me directly and asked me if I wanted an ARC? Hells to the yes! The book arrived yesterday and I’ve bumped it to the top of my reading queue. Expect a review soon that will be honest and as thorough as possible. (Thanks again, Kathleen! I’m super looking forward to reading this!)

On the Sofa with Jane AustenTitle
On the Sofa with Jane Austen
Author: Maggie Lane
Publication date: May 1, 2017

Containing essays from Regency World, they “celebrate the quirkiest corners and cleverest contrivances of Jane Austen’s art.”  Topics covered from “gossip to grandmothers.” It’s noted in the author biography Lane is a celebrated lecturer on the world wide JASNA circuit so expect a lot of in depth pieces on the minutiae of Austen’s life and works.

Jane Austen Bicentenary to be celebrated in Brighton

Here’s another one to add to the calendar!

A new exhibit, Jane Austen by the Sea, is being held at the Royal Pavilion, Brighton, UK and

…will explore Jane Austen’s relationship with coastal towns and life in Brighton during her time, to mark the bicentenary of her death.

This exhibit will run from June 17 – January 8, 2018. It looks to be an interesting one as it will showcase a locket of her hair, one of her music books, important letters and manuscripts, and a three-volume manuscript copy of Sandition, which is written in Cassandra Austen’s hand.

There is no direct connection of Jane and Brighton other than she mentions it in Pride and Prejudice and uses other seaside towns, like Lyme Regis, in her novels. This exhibit hopes to encapsulate not only Brighton during the Regency periods but what Jane must have experienced at the seaside resorts she did visit by,

…exploring why watering places like this became so fashionable: from coastal attire, tourist entertainments and the new pastimes of sea-bathing and Turkish baths to the town’s Royal connections and military presence.

For more information, you can read the announcement  in full at the Chichester Observer and visit the Royal Pavilion’s website for more details.


Basingstoke Festival 2017 featuring Jane Austen

Oooohhh — look at this. If you find yourself in Hampshire, specifically Basingstoke, from June 16 to July 9th, the community is having a month long festival to celebrate “Born in the Borough,” which of course includes lots and lots of Jane. (I’m going to go out on a limb here and suppose the Jane Austen statue will be revealed during this time.)

From the festival’s website:

Our theme for 2017 is ‘Born in the Borough’. Expect international artists and big name acts alongside local talent and an array of ‘Festival in the Community’ events which will help showcase arts and performances in underused places.

In addition, there will be a number of events held to celebrate Jane Austen, the world-renowned 19th century author who was born in the borough at Steventon and drafted some of her best known works while living in the area. This July marks the 200th anniversary of her death and provides the perfect opportunity to highlight how her work still entertains and inspires people today.

Visit the festival’s website for locations, times, and listing of events!

200 Years Since Jane Austen – Lunch & Talk

Image of Jane Austen

On July 20th, the Bath Priory is having a lunch and talk on, well, Jane!

From the event page:

Join Dr Moira Rudolf for an afternoon discussing Jane’s family background, her five years (1801-1806) in Bath, preferred entertainments, allies and love(s), focussing particularly on the two ‘Bath Books’: Northanger Abbey (drafted 1798/99, originally titled Susan) and Persuasion, her last complete novel, begun some seventeen years later, after she had already lived in Bath. Moira will also draw upon Jane’s lively, gossipy letters.

The event begins at noon BST and costs £50.00 per ticket.