I’ve just returned from a long overseas trip, which ended in Washington DC where I attended a conference organised by the Jane Austen Society of North America on Emma. It was so amazing to be in a room full of 850 people who all love that novel!
I gave a talk on its opening sentence, and took part in a panel discussion with representatives from the Jane Austen Society of Pakistan, the Jane Austen Society of Brazil, the Jane Austen Society of the UK and the Jane Austen Society of North America. Many people at the conference signed up to receive this newsletter, so a big welcome to all my American and Canadian readers. I also got to view an exhibition on ‘Will and Jane’ looking at the cult of celebrity concerning Austen and Shakespeare. On display was the famous white shirt worn by Colin Firth in the 1995 TV version of Pride and Prejudice. The moment when he dives into the lake has been voted the favourite TV moment of all time!
Before going to the USA I was in Italy where I had the huge pleasure of taking part in the world’s first joint meeting of JASA (the Jane Austen Society of Australia) and JASIT (the Jane Austen Society of Italy). Several members of each society were present, a certificate was created and signed to mark the historic occasion, and lots of new friendships were made. Jane Austen is truly international, and a love of her books can make you lovely friends all around the world.
Are you a member of an international society, or a member of JASA? Tell me about conferences you have attended. Share your comments below.
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