I Sat Next to Jane Austen at Her Birthday Lunch

Members of JASNA North Texas Attend Jane Austen's Birthday Luncheon

The Jane Austen Society of North Texas celebrated Jane Austen’s 235th birthday and I sat next to Jane at the luncheon.  Everyone thought she was a regular Janeite in period dress but I saw her struggle with the escalator, noted how she walked behind me into the dining room on account of unmarried ladies go last, and grimaced when I mentioned I’d written a book called My Jane Austen Summer.  Nobody in JASNA grimaces at Jane Austen, Summer or not. 

She didn’t talk much, but she wrote on ivory squares, and, being close, I could look sideways without moving my head and secretly read her notes.  She wrote:   

Let other dead authors dwell on posthumous fame and birthdays, my hair is at least tidy, which is all my ambition.

Jane Austen listened very carefully to the guest speaker’s talk entitled, “Sense and Sensibility: Jane Austen’s Problem Novel”.  Jane wrote:  

Problem Novel?  Abuse everybody but me.

I passed her a note, asking her if she’d like to speak to the group, stressing that her ability to bring such a diverse group of readers together, to discuss a book 200 years after its publication, should be celebrated.  She wrote back:

 I am very well satisfied with their notice–thankful to have it continued a few years longer!

I said they’d be thrilled to hear her insights.  She wrote back:   

You are very, very kind to hint at the sort of talk which might recommend me at present and I am fully sensible that an explanation of my immortal blaze might be much more to the purpose than rehashing the six novels I deal in–but I could no more account for my sustained supernova status–I could not sit seriously down and to compose a serious explanation of my ability to cut across languages, centuries, and planets for all we know, under any other motive than to save my life, & if it were indispensable for me to keep it up & never relax into laughing at myself and other people, I am sure I should be hung before I had finished the introductory remarks.  No–I must go my own Way. 

She slipped a handful of Splenda packets into her reticule and departed via the fire stairwell.

Before she left, I wished her a Happy 235th Birthday.

You can join the party today to celebrate Jane’s birthday by visiting the blogs listed here.  Leave a comment on this blog and be included in a drawing for one of many wonderful prizes (listed below).   


  1. Adriana Zardini, at Jane Austen Sociedad do Brasil
  2. Laurel Ann, at Austenprose – A Jane Austen Blog
  3. Vic Sanborn, at Jane Austen’s World
  4. Katherine Cox, at November’s Autumn
  5. Karen Wasylowski, at Karen Wasylowski Blog
  6. Laurie Viera Rigler, at Jane Austen Addict Blog
  7. Lynn Shepherd, at her Lynn Shepherd Blog
  8. Jane Greensmith, at Reading, Writing, Working, Playing
  9. Jane Odiwe, at Jane Austen Sequels Blog
  10. Alexa Adams, at First Impressions Blog
  11. Regina Jeffers, at her Regina Jeffers Blog
  12. Cindy Jones at First Draft Blog
  13. Janet Mullany at Risky Regencies Blog
  14. Maria Grazia at My Jane Austen Book Club Blog
  15. Meredith at Austenesque Reviews

GIFTS & GIVEAWAYS: Visit all the blogs TODAY and leave your comments + e-mail address to have lots of  chances to win one of the wonderful gifts we are giving away:

Books –  1 signed copy, directly from the author, of …

  1.  Willoughby’s Return by Jane Odiwe
  2.  Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler
  3. Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler
  4. Murder at Mansfield Park by Lynn Shepherd
  5. Intimations of Austen by Jane Greensmith
  6. Darcy’s Passions: Fitzwilliam Darcy’s Story by Regina Jeffers
  7. First Impressions. A Tale of Less Pride  and Prejudice  by Alexa Adams
  8. Jane and the Damned by Janet Mullany
  9. Bespelling Jane Austen by Janet Mullany
Other gifts:
  1.  Austen bag offered by Karen Wasylowski
  2. DVD Pride & Prejudice 2005 offered by Regina Jeffers
  3. package of Bingley’s Tea  (flavor  “Marianne’s Wild Abandon” ) offered by Cindy Jones
  4. DVD Jane Austen in Manhattan offered by Maria Grazia
  5. 3 issues of Jane Austen’s Regency World offered by Maria Grazia
Giveaways will end on the 23rd  December.  Winners will be announced on My Jane Austen Book Club


Filed under Cindy Jones, My Jane Austen, My Jane Austen Summer

126 responses to “I Sat Next to Jane Austen at Her Birthday Lunch

  1. I cannot help but wonder how those in the afterlife will appraise Splenda on Jane’s return. Please God, don’t let those Bronte sisters get their hands on it.

  2. Suzan

    Quite a funny account.

  3. Thanks for letting me stop by your party! How lucky for you to sit by Jane at the “other” party! 😉

  4. Jane Odiwe

    I’m not here for the giveaway, but just wanted to say hi at the party – loved your post – funny and witty!

  5. Happy birthday Jane!!!
    Today is a happy day for all her fans :-).

  6. Pingback: Happy Birthday Jane Austen Blog Tour: A Celebration of her Legacy – Her Juvenilia « Austenprose – A Jane Austen Blog

  7. Ruth H

    Loving this Austen tour around so many fab blogs.

    I wish I could thank Jane on her birthday, for all the many hours of enjoyment her books have given me. It’s hard to pick a favourite, but if I had to, I’d probably choose Emma.

  8. Jacinta

    Happy Birthday Jane!! fav book would be Persuasion. Lovely tribute and enjoy life

  9. Happy Birthday, my dear Jane!

  10. Cindy, Thank you for an interesting post. All my good wishes go out to you.

  11. bunny

    Happy Birthday, Jane Austen! ❤

    Am loving all this celebrating! Three cheers for She who inspires us!

  12. Linda B

    What a clever post! Your party, in period dress, must have been wonderful. It’s been such fun for me (and other blog followers, I’m sure) to go on this birthday celebration tour.

  13. Problem novel?? I beg to differ

  14. Lia

    I love Jane Austen! Happy Birthday!

  15. Hi Cindy! I loved your post! Congratulation!

    Happy Birthday, dear Jane!

    Priscila Murlik


  16. I love your witty style, Cindy! Thanks for joining and celebrating with us.
    BTW, Can I give you a message to hand to her next time you meet Jane?

  17. Arianne

    What a cute story!

  18. Sara S.

    If only Jane Austen were still around! Obviously she might be falling apart, but I wouldnt’t mind! haha!
    ~Sara S.

  19. Elen

    Loved to hear that Jane Austen took the Splenda.
    Lovely and funny tribute.

    Happy Jane Austen Birthday all Austen fans from all over the world!

  20. LOL, Cindy!
    Loved your post ;). I’m raising my glass of eggnog to Jane and sending out happy birthday wishes!

    • Eggnog sounds really good right now…with Christmas cookies…or what about a grilled muffin top from FRIDAY MORNINGS AT NINE by Marilyn Brant? I’m dying for one of those. Must be lunch time.

  21. Hehe, I love to imagine how Jane would feel and act if she were to visit the modern world and see how successful she has become.

    I loved how you have captured her style, with the complex sentences and lack of punctuation!

  22. Hannah

    I was very pleased to find out that Jane Austen is still doing well. Happy Birthday, dear Jane! May those Splenda packets you took be put to good use. 😉

  23. Paula

    Wouldn’t it be something to be able to sit and talk to Jane Austen. Ask her questions about her novels and her life. To be in Jane Austen confidence, now that would be something extraordinary.

    Happy Birthday Jane!!

  24. Thanks for such an interesting post! Imagine–getting to sit next to Jane Austen herself! And passing notes, to boot! 🙂

  25. What a lovely birthday party this is, indeed. I am gathering a wealth of information as I go by each blog. A Happy Birthday to our dear lady, Jane.

  26. Terie

    Happy Birthday Jane!
    Cindy, I look forward to reading your book.
    Thanks for hosting a party here. I enjoyed your conversation with Jane very much.

  27. Happy Birthday, Jane! You have given me so much through your writings… thank you.

    I’d love to join the giveaway— if this is the right place to do it.

    My email address is cassie(at)literaryladies(dot)com

    • Hi Cassie,
      You are IN. Each comment you leave on any of the participating blogs increases your chances of prevailing in the giveaway. Good luck and thanks for stopping here!
      Happy Bday!

  28. What a wonderful party, wish I could have joined!

  29. merö

    happy B-day dear JANE!

  30. Happy Birthday, Jane Austen!
    Thank you for introducing me to the wonderful world of English literature!

    Natallie Chagas

  31. Happy Birthday dearest Jane! You are loved! 🙂

  32. It’s a lovely post and I think that it’s a beautiful tribute for our favourite writer! Happy 235th birthday Jane!

  33. Tarah

    Happy 235th birthday, dear Jane!

    Thank you for your tribute. I really enjoyed your blog and your conversation with Ms. Austen. :O)

  34. benjamina

    Happy Birthday Jane! Thank you for introducing me to new blogs about Jane that I never knew were there.

  35. Thank you for this post. It has been lovely going through all the blogs!

  36. Thalita

    Happy birthday Jane Austen! A genius of literature!
    email: thalitacarvalho@ymail.com

  37. Felicia

    Happy Birthday Jane!

    Enjoyable post! I’m happy to be able to take the celebration tour!!

  38. vvb

    LOL – splenda! she’s been tainted. omg.
    lovely post!

  39. Autumn

    Thanks for sharing. Happy birthday Jane.

  40. Lynn M

    Happy birthday, dearest Jane! Oh, to be able to sit next to you even for a few moments.

  41. Morgan

    This had me laughing out loud, thanks for posting it!

  42. Happy birthday Jane Austen!

  43. Margay

    Wishing Jane a very happy birthday!

  44. Kim Withey

    Happy Birthday Jane, and my thanks to all who continue to pass on her legacy. Your efforts are appreciated more than you know.

  45. Aren’t you lucky to have the opportunity to chat with the lady herself 🙂

    She always did go her own way…thanks for sharing her notes with us, and enjoy her birthday.

    Fun post!

  46. A very cute post, and highly fitting to the occasion! Thanks!

  47. Happy Birthday dear Jane Austen. 🙂

  48. Mary Ellen

    It’s wonderful to be on this tour on Jane Austen’s birthday!

  49. charlene

    Happy Birthday Jane!!! Yeah I just so distracted by all these wonderful sites. Have a Happy Happy Jane Austen B-day!!

  50. Melissa Atwood

    How fortunate! You have had a personal written conversation with Jane!


  51. AprilFool

    Happy birthday Jane – loved the little ivory squares!

  52. Melissa

    Happy Birthday Jane!

  53. *snort* Cindy you are a card.

    Nice to know our Jane has a sweet tooth and is watching her figure.

    Happy Birthday dear Jane.

    Cheers, Laurel Ann

  54. Once again, another perfect stop on the Jane Austen Birthday Blog Tour!

    Kudos to all of you for your most generous effort to give us the best birthday party in honour of our girl…Jane

    Grateful for Jane,


  55. What a great blog and a great party for Jane. This has been wonderful going around to all the blogs and meeting other JA fans. Thank you for a wonderful Party.
    Happy Birthday Jane

  56. Very amusing…thank you for this glimpse into our favorite author. Impressive that she studied science and mentioned supernovas! :¬)

  57. This has been such a treat to visit all of these blogs and find so many people who love Jane Austen’s work as much as I do. And what a treat to sit next to her at her birthday party. One wonders if she has any idea what a difference she has made in so many people’s lives.

  58. Pingback: Happy Birthday, Jane Austen – 16 December 1775 | ReginaJeffers's Blog

  59. Pingback: Baby Jane Austen’s First Two Years: Happy 235th Birthday, Jane! « Jane Austen's World

  60. Go Jane! Splenda would be an excellent way to put those sugar plantations out of business. Thanks for a really fun post! (Please do not enter me; just a fellow blogger stopping by to enjoy the festivities.)

  61. Pingback: How Jane Austen has Enriched my Life – Happy Birthday Jane Austen Blog Tour « November's Autumn

  62. I am amazed at so many Jane Austen readers we are!I am a “relatively” new fan of her work and I cannot believe it what a great party is this!
    Thank you for your words, Cindy;)
    Best wishes from Spain,

  63. At first I thought it was a real account, then I laughed when I think that it could not be real but only imaginary. Haha! You got me.

    Happy Birthday, Jane! I love visiting this birthday blog posts as each offer something different to read.


  64. Happy birthday Jane!
    lovely post! Thanks for joining us in this big event!

    Adriana Zardini
    Happy birthday Jane!
    lovely post! Thanks for joining us in this big event!

    Adriana Zardini

  65. Happy Birthday, Jane Austen!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s