Jane Austen Short Story Contest

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A piece of news we heard at last week’s AGM: Chawton House Library is sponsoring a short story competition to celebrate the bicentenary of Jane Austen’s arrival in Chawton.

The competition is looking for short stories of 2,000-2,500 words, inspired by any theme in Jane Austen’s novels, or by Chawton House. The stories can have a contemporary or historical setting. The call for entries says, “Anything goes as long as it is well written and you state on the entry form exactly what inspired you to write it.”

Chair of judges is Sarah Waters, bestselling author of Tipping the Velvet and Fingersmith. First prize is £1,000, and there will be two runners’ up of £200 each. All three finalists will also win a week’s writers’ retreat at Chawton House. Fifteen other shortlisted authors will receive £40 plus publication in the winners’ anthology. The contest closes on 31 March 2009.

The entry form and more information is on the Chawton Library site. Good luck!

Persuasion Discussion in Sugar Land, Texas

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(An early Getting Local since it will happen on Thursday)

Sugar Land Branch Library in Sugar Land, Texas, will have a discussion of Persuasion on Thursday, October 9, at 1 p.m. in the conference room.

Thanks to Alert Janeite Lisa for the link.

Getting Local With Jane: Weekend in New England Edition

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(Yes, that is a Barry Manilow reference in the title, if you were wondering.)

A few days late, but better than never, we present our weekly (if we have them) roundup of listings of local events of interest to Jane Austen fans. These events might not be local for you, but hang in there, for someday you might see YOUR town on the listing.

September 5-7, 2008, Hyde Park, Vermont: The Governor’s House will sponsor a Jane Austen Weekend themed around Persuasion. Activities include book discussions, a talk on “Jane Austen’s Time,” and a quiz over brunch. Prices start at $295 for singles and include meals and lodging–quite a deal! If that weekend is bad for you, there are some other dates planned, and it looks like they’ll be doing a P&P-themed weekend next year. Check out the link above for all the details.

September 8, Coshocton, Ohio: The Coshocton Public Library will have a book discussion on Sense and Sensibility at 7 p.m. (The article says Sept. 7, but it also says Monday, so we’re guessing they mean Sept. 8.)

Let us know about your local Austen-related events and we’ll be happy to list them.

Read a Jane Austen manuscript–virtually

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Books Are Nice Week gives us a good excuse to put up a link to the Turning the Pages website at the British Library, which allows visitors to virtually turn the pages of rare manuscripts owned by the library. One of the manuscripts is Jane Austen’s delightful The History of England, illustrated by her sister Cassandra. Check it out!

Jane Austen Weekends in Vermont

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The Governor’s House in Hyde Park, Vermont, will hold four Jane Austen weekends from August 2008 through January 2009.

A leisurely weekend of literary-inspired diversions has something for every Jane Austen devotee. Slip quietly back into Regency England in a beautiful old mansion where Jane herself would feel at home. Take afternoon tea. Listen to Mozart. Bring your needlework. Share your thoughts at a discussion of Persuasion and how the movie stands up to the book. Attend the talk entitled “The Time of Jane Austen”. Test your knowledge of Persuasion and the Regency period and possibly take home a prize. Take a carriage ride. For the gentleman there are riding and fly fishing as well as lots of more modern diversions if a whole weekend of Jane is not his cup of tea. Join every activity or simply indulge yourself quietly all weekend watching the movies. And imagine the interesting conversation with a whole houseful of Jane’s readers under one roof. Dress in whichever century suits you. It’s not Bath, but it is Hyde Park and you’ll love Vermont circa 1800.

It sounds like a pretty good deal! We’d love to hear from anyone who attends.

Getting Local With Jane: Librarians Still Rock Edition

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Here’s the latest lineup of local Austen events; one might be in YOUR neighborhood!

May 20 (and monthly through October), Charlotte, NC: The Janeite Disciples Book Club begins monthly discussions of Jane Austen’s novels with Sense and Sensibility at the Concord main library. To register, stop by the library or see the e-mail address at the link.

May 28, Glendale, CA: Laurie Viera Rigler, author of The Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, will speak at the Glendale Public Library. Tea will be served. This event is free and open to the public.

June 4, Myrtle Beach, NC: Conway Library will hold a discussion of Pride and Prejudice led by Becky Hubbard, English professor at Horry-Georgetown Technical College. Registration is required.

(Have we mentioned that Librarians Rock? Because you do!)

Getting Local With Jane: Plotting Edition

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Here’s a last-minute entry for those in the Rochester, NY area: the Pittsford Community Library will have a book group meeting to discuss Pride and Prejudice on Thursday, May 8 (today!) from 1:30 to 3 p.m.

The folks in Calgary have a little more time to plan for this one: this Saturday, the Jane Austen Society presents “Plotting Sexual Pursuit: Origin and Implications of Jane Austen’s Courtship Plots,” a lecture by U of C English prof Dr. David Oakleaf at the Sunalta Community Centre, 1627 19th Ave. S.W.