We EngLit types are not always as adept at math as we are at literary analysis. But we’ll need to brush up our arithmetical skills this weekend, when a tantalizing virtual Jane Austen conference is taking place across multiple time zones on three continents.
“Jane Austen in the Pan Pacific,” co-sponsored by the Hawaii and Southern California regions of the Jane Austen Society of North America, starts at 1 pm on Saturday – if you live in Hawaii. Or 3 pm – if you live in California. Or 6 pm – if, like me, you live on the East Coast of the United States. Or sometime the next day -- if, like several of the conference speakers, you live in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, or the Philippines.
The program looks to be well worth the calculations involved, with an international cast of seven writers and academics delivering talks on Austen’s presence and influence across the region. I’m especially looking forward to hearing Dr. Hatsuyo Shimazaki, a founding member of Japan’s Jane Austen Society, draw connections between Mansfield Park and Kazuo Ishiguro’s beautiful new novel Klara and the Sun.
Luckily, her talk is scheduled to end by 8:20 pm my time; I can’t promise I’ll stay awake until the full proceedings wrap up in early evening, Hawaii time, which is past my bedtime here in New Jersey. But if you nod off before the end, the talks will be available later on the YouTube channel of the Southern California JASNA region, formally known as JASNA Southwest.
The conference is free, but to get the Zoom link, you’ll need to complete the registration form. And then get out your calculator to make sure you don’t miss anything.