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Article: News for Austen Enthusiasts : June 2023

First volume of the works of Jane Austen

News for Austen Enthusiasts : June 2023

Jane Austen's Works, Volume 1 It's been a gloriously sunny month here in England - perhaps too sunny. This blogger has been fending off sunburn whilst reading books in the park. Though obviously any time of year is a good time to revisit the works of Jane Austen, it does feel like she particularly shines in the summer. But here's the question - which Austen novel is the most summery? I'd go for Emma.  Here's all the Jane Austen news and updates you might have missed this month.

You can now view Austen’s parish records 

A new partnership between Hampshire County Council and Ancestry means that you can now view the parish birth, marriage and death records of locals such as Jane Austen and Florence Nightingale. Residents of Hampshire will be able to utilise the service for free through their local library service, giving them access to heaps of history and research materials. 

Read more at the Advertiser and Times >>

Harp with Austen connection restored

Musician and restorer Mike Parker has breathed new life into a harp that once belonged to Jane Austen’s cousin Eliza. Eliza was an interesting character, said to have been the inspiration for Mansfield Park’s Mary Crawford. Parker hunted down the harp, which he discovered was being sold by a descendent of Eliza, in Belgium. The harp was played again for the first time at Chawton. 

Learn more at The Guardian >>


Mansfield reimagined with all-Black cast

A new production of Mansfield Park has been taking place at Chawton this summer, with an all Black cast reinterpreting the novel for a 21st-century audience. The novel is notable for being one of the few in which Austen acknowledges the existence of the slave trade, and the creative team behind this particular production invite debate and discussion of this particular issue! 

Watch an interview with the cast and creative team on the Channel 4 website >>


Nine-day Jane Austen celebration gets underway 

In June, the towns of Alton, Chawton and Selborne got together for a nine-day celebration, Jane Austen Regency Week. The festival opened with Regency Day, which saw Alton High Street closed to traffic so that attendees could avail themselves of all the fun activities that had been set up, including carriage rides. 

Find out more at the Farnham Herald >>


First look at Bridgerton Season 3

We’ve been eagerly awaiting news of the third season of raunchy Regency drama Bridgerton, the most recent success from the mind of Shonda Rimes. This season will follow Penelope (Nicola Coughlan) and Colin Bridgerton’s (Luke Newton) romance, with the first images we’ve seen featuring a wistful Penelope gazing out the window. Her hair looks gorgeous! 

See the photos at Digital Spy >>


Kingsolver scoops Women’s Prize 

We finally have a winner! After months of waiting, the winner of this year’s Women’s Prize for Fiction has been awarded to Barbara Kingsolver for Demon Copperhead, a reimagining of Dickens’ David Copperfield set in Appalachia, following a community in the grip of the Opioid Crisis. The win hardly comes as a surprise, riding a wave of success that has seen the novel also pick up a Pulitzer. 

Find out more about the prize and Demon Copperhead >>


Caffe Nero launch book award

As if we weren’t already spoiled for choice of great book awards, Caffe Nero has now thrown their hat in the ring. Last year, we were devastated to hear that Costa were ending their book awards, so it’s delightful to see an award stepping into the gap. The Neros seem set to fill the same function, with the categories for the inaugural awards being similar - children’s books, debut fiction, fiction and nonfiction. Poetry, sadly, isn’t getting a look in this year. We hope that might change in future iterations. We’ll be keeping you abreast of the updates as we have them.

Find out more at the Guardian >>


As always, we would love to know if we have missed anything, as well as all your thoughts on the news! 

If you don't want to miss a beat when it comes to Jane Austen, make sure you are signed up to the Jane Austen newsletter for exclusive updates and discounts from our Online Gift Shop. 

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