For the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's death, we started our celebrations of her life last Thursday night with a lecture by Andrea Goldsmith 'Never Leave Home Without Her' at her book launch at the State Library of South Australia.
Then the Immortal Austen Conference, held at Flinders University in Adelaide, began on Friday morning with the wonderful keynote speaker Devoney Looser from Arizona State University, and finished with a Musical Concert ‘Dirges and Sad Ditties’ on Sunday afternoon.
It was wonderful to spend so much time with like-minded people. All the organization was beautifully done and the food was great. There were some really entertaining and interesting speakers, and such a friendly atmosphere. We had lots of great chats with new people at the breaks. There were 120 people at the book launch and talk on Thursday night, 60+ at the conference sessions, another 20 secondary teachers who attended the workshop on Friday, and another 13 people who attended the creative writing workshop on Sunday morning. Our thanks went to the organizers - Gillian Dooley, Eric Parisot and Amy Mathews - of this successful and rewarding event.
John Wiltshire talked about Caroline Knight’s Literacy Foundation and they were selling raffle tickets over the Friday and Saturday. They had three prizes - the Chawton cookbook, Caroline Knight’s new book ‘Jane and Me’, and my card game ‘Jane Austen’s Sweethearts’. Lucky me won Caroline’s new book in the raffle draw!
I would particularly like to thank Gillian Dooley for asking me to be one of the speakers for the short talks, and my friends from our local Jane Austen Society for their tremendous support and encouragement. My talk was "Studying Jane Austen' s Heroines as Readers', covering what they each read and how that reading reflected their characters and affected their lives. My conclusion was that Fanny Price was the best-read heroine as she read more widely than anyone else, she read constantly, and she thought more deeply about everything she read.