Category Archives: JASNA AGM

JASNA AGM: Insider Report (with a Secret)

This blog was posted on Austen Authors on September, 24, 2011

AGM Steering Committee Meets in Ft. Worth

This time last year, the AGM Steering Committee was relaxing over tea and scones in our fearless leader’s living room, frowning at budget items and relishing the prospect of sharing Texas with the Jane Austen Society of North America.  This year finds that same group seated around an enormous conference table at The Worthington Hotel in Ft. Worth, talking through the entire five-day conference, visualizing the event in our heads so that we can anticipate every possible problem and generate solutions now.   Last year we talked about programs, prizes, and font size.  This year we’re focused on extension cords, power strips, and duct tape.  Sample Problem:  Where will we store the fresh English ivy to be used in table decorations on Sunday morning?  The AGM Coordinator flew in from Milwaukee to assist, experts on audio/visual and other technical issues weighed in, and a hotel representative testified precisely on tables and room sizes.  It felt more like a Senate Hearing than a gathering of Janeites.

The little speck against the far wall is me

The room where the Author Book Signing will occur is vast–just about right for a Texas-sized Literary Event, and we can’t wait to fill it with authors, tables, chairs, and and every sort of Jane Austen-related book.  All visitors will receive a map, and lots of volunteer helpers will be present to to make sure no one gets lost during the event.  I’m standing at the other end of the room in the picture at the right, but the distance is so great, I’m unrecognizable.  The Author Book Signing will feature familiar Austen Authors:  Abigail Reynolds, Sharon Lathan, C. Allyn Pierson, Mary Simonsen, Karen Doornebos, Diana Birchall, and Cindy Jones.  Also present will be editor Laurel Ann Nattress and many of the authors contributing to her brand new anthology, Jane Austen Made Me Do It, including Syrie James, Beth Pattillo, Pam Aidan, Margaret Sullivan, Janet Mullany, and Carrie Bebris.  For more information about the event and a complete listing of participating authors, check the website.

For more information about The Jane AustenSociety of North America (JASNA), and to find a chapter near you, check this website.

Secrets were revealed during our meeting!  I learned several amazing things and I’ll share one now:  Guess who’s coming to the AGM?  The BBC film crew!  The British Broadcasting Corporation will be filming interviews with AGM attendees during the conference for use in a documentary about You Know Who.  But that’s not the only secret that was revealed at our meeting.  Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing updates on Austen Authors’ Facebook Page, and during the course of that time, I’ll reveal two more secrets!

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Filed under Austen Authors, Cindy Jones, Jane Austen, JASNA AGM, My Jane Austen Summer

Say It Isn’t So, Jane Austen

Imagine the outrage of 700 Janeites (myself included), packing our bonnets to attend the Annual General Meeting of the Jane Austen Society of North America, upon reading the shocking Muggle headlines suggesting Jane Austen may not have written her prose.  Where is Dumbledore when you need him?  

At the meeting in Portland, Oregon, papers will be presented, a monstrous deal of quizzing will take place, and many will dance in Regency attire.  But Janeites are not happy, emails have been flying, and a heads-up urged us to be prepared to discuss “the issue” in hallways and breakout sessions.  Even my non-Janeite friends are forwarding articles to me.  All because an Oxford professor made provocative comments as she introduced her three-year project:  digitization of 1,000 handwritten pages of Jane Austen’s letters and manuscripts.  The timing of the project’s debut could not have been more accurately targeted to nail the attention of her audience.  On the eve of the convergence of North America’s most dedicated Austen enthusiasts, while thousands more Janeites watched from home, and Janeites everywhere turned their exclusive focus to all things Austen, Professor Sutherland announced that Jane Austen couldn’t spell, demonstrated no grasp of punctuation, and had a terrible accent.   

I climbed to the top of my book bag and prepared to jump.

Fortunately I have a personal relationship with My Jane Austen.  As I stood there, the breeze in my bonnet, she told me that it is a truth universally acknowledged that newspapers with dwindling circulations must be in want of a good scandal.  I considered this pearl, as the wind filled my Empire skirts.  She told me that self-promotion must always be forgiven, you know, because there is no hope of a cure.  I stepped away from the edge.  She said, essentially, that dodgy spin working on a weak head, produces every sort of mischief.  I decided to check online and see what the saner heads on my discussion lists were saying. 

All the same, I’ll be watching the Portland sky.  I don’t want to be the last Janeite to see the Dark Mark.

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Filed under Cindy Jones, JASNA AGM, launching things, My Jane Austen, My Jane Austen Summer