• Deborah Yaffe

Janeites in conversation

“It is such a happiness when good people get together--and they always do,” Miss Bates exults in chapter 21 of Emma. In context, she is talking about marriages, but she might as well have been discussing the wealth of Janeite conversations coming our way in the next nine days:


* On Thursday, Austen scholar Devoney Looser and prolific Austen adapter Kate Hamill will meet online for "Jane Austen, Dramatized," a discussion of theatrical versions of Austen.


Tickets for the 7 pm (US Eastern) event, moderated by blogger-librarian Tabrizia Jones, cost $26; proceeds will benefit a planned workshop of Sarah Rose Kearns’ adaptation of Persuasion, which was produced off Broadway last year.


* Throughout the weekend, the third annual Virtual JaneCon will offer up more than two dozen free YouTube sessions – talks, panel discussions, how-to workshops, even a dramatic reading – created by and for Austen fans. Links to each session will be posted on JaneCon’s scheduling page.


Presenters, among them academics, novelists, journalists, costumers, and podcasters, will tackle a broad range of topics, including Austen’s literary and historical context, Austen adaptations and fanfiction, and racism in contemporary Austen fandom.


* On July 20, author Gill Hornby will discuss Godmersham Park, her latest Austen-themed novel, in an online conversation with Telegraph columnist Madeline Grant. Tickets for the 7 pm (UK time) event are free but available only to Telegraph subscribers – including anyone who signs up on the spot for a free one-month trial. (Godmersham Park, whose protagonist is Jane Austen's friend Anne Sharpe, governess to the children of Austen's older brother Edward, won't be published in the U.S. until the fall.)


Blog readers will recall that PBS just announced plans to air an adaptation of Hornby’s previous Austen-themed novel, Miss Austen, which focuses on Jane’s older sister Cassandra. Especially loyal readers may also recall Grant as an unsuccessful 2018 quiz show contestant whose specialty subject was, appropriately enough, Jane Austen.


It's going to be a busy time for Janeites with an appetite for Anne Elliot's version of good company -- "the company of clever, well-informed people who have a great deal of conversation."


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