Happy New Year!
2020 is shaping up to be a great year, especially for fans of Jane Austen. It seems each month of the new year brings an event to look forward to; and no matter where you live in the U.S. or U.K., there’s probably an Austen-related event scheduled near you. Let’s take a month-by-month look at some of the highlights:
January 12: Sanditon
Hooray! The wait is over! Sanditon (based on Jane Austen’s unfinished novel about the making of a fashionable beach resort) finally debuts in the U.S. on PBS.
It’s already aired in the U.K. and fans loved it. The version we’ll see in the U.S. will probably be edited (sorry, no nude sea bathing scenes allowed). Here’s the trailer for the PBS version:
Jane Austen died before she could finish the novel. Over the years various authors have taken up the mantel to finish Sandition as they believed Austen would have wanted. If you’d like to read one of those versions before you watch the series, there are several to choose from. Click here to learn more.
January 10 – 12: Modesto JaneCon, Modesto, California
This central California event promises a weekend filled with “All Things Jane Austen,” including workshops, lectures, games, contests, and costumes. The star of the weekend: Opera Modesto’s production of Mansfield Park. Click on the image below to learn more.
January 25: The Jane Austen Evening, Pasadena, California
This one-of-a-kind event is incredibly popular and tickets sell out quickly. If you live in southern California (or think you might like to visit in the future), consider putting this event on your calendar. The evening consists of High Tea, where performers improvise a brand-new Austen-inspired story based on prompts from the audience, followed by a formal ball. You can click on the image to learn more about this magical night.
January 28 – March 15: Emma, the Musical, Chicago, Illinois
This new stage production of Emma as a musical looks delightful! If you live in the Chicago area (or plan to visit) you can click on the image to learn more and purchase tickets.
February 14: Emma (the movie)
A new film version of Emma hits U.S. theaters on Valentine’s Day, and I have to confess, I’m in love with the look of this adaptation already.
Here’s the official trailer:
It looks like we’ll see some physical comedy in this version of the story of Austen’s matchmaker. Click here to watch another scene where Emma catches Harriet Smith and her school friends playing a parlor game called “bullet pudding.”
March 31: Pride and Prejudice at Lyme Park, near Disley, Cheshire, UK
What could be more perfect than seeing a stage production of Pride and Prejudice on the grounds of Pemberley—Oops, I mean, Lyme Park—in the heart of the Peak District? It’s a one day event, so tickets will go fast. The performance is free, included in the cost of admission to the grounds.
If you go, be sure to also check out Lyme Park’s “Pemberley Walk,” which lets you follow in the footsteps of Darcy and Elizabeth while you explore some of the idyllic filming locations from the 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Click on the image of Our Dear Couple to learn more.
April 14 – May 20: Sense and Sensibility, Indianapolis, Indiana
If you’re in the Midwest you can see a brand new stage adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, presented by the Indiana Repertory Theatre.
Click here to see the schedule; some of the performances include a tea before the performance, post-show discussions with the actors, and backstage tours.
June through September: Emma, at various dates and locations in UK and Ireland
The warm days of summer bring a new, open-air stage production Emma. The Chapterhouse Theatre Company will be touring venues across the UK and Ireland from June until September. Click the image to learn more.
June 18 – 21: Jane Austen Summer Program, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
The Jane Austen Summer Program is one of the premier Austen events in the U.S., filled with plenty of dancing, dinners, elevenses, lectures, shopping and fun. You can view the jam-packed schedule by clicking on the image below.
July 10 – 12: Jane Austen Festival, Louisville Kentucky
The Louisville chapter of The Jane Austen Society has TWICE hosted the fabulous Regency tailor, Zack Pinsent; perhaps this year’s Festival attendees will be lucky enough to have Zack attend again this year (I’d love to meet him!).
If you’re unfamiliar with Zack’s work, here’s a short video interview he did with the BBC last year:
In 2019 Zack attended the Louisville Chapter’s Jane Austen Festival, which is one of the best in the U.S. They haven’t yet announced their schedule for 2020, but you can click on the image below to receive news and updates as they become available.
September 11 – 20: Jane Austen Festival, Bath, England
This world famous Jane Austen Festival takes over the city of Bath every year as Austen lovers congregate to take the waters at the Pump Room, attend a Country Dance and a Masked Ball at the Assembly Rooms, and promenade through the streets in Regency costume. It’s one event that’s definitely on my bucket list.
You can click on the image below to find out about schedules, accommodations, and priority ticketing.
October 9 – 11: JASNA in Cleveland Annual General Meeting
This year’s Cleveland AGM meeting will concentrate on Jane Austen’s early years, with lectures and events that examine some of Jane Austen’s funniest juvenile writings, including Lady Susan. Click on the image below to learn more:
November 6 – 8: JAFF Reader/Writer Get-Together, Virginia
Austen Author Victoria Kincaid put together the first ever “JAFF Reader/Writer Get-Together” last November. Attendees thought this event was such a great success, plans are already underway for the next Get-Together in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia. Save the date!
If you’re on Facebook, you can get the latest news by clicking here. Or you can watch for future announcements here at Austen Authors.
Late 2020: A New Pride and Prejudice from ITV:
There’s a new “darker” version of Pride and Prejudice in the works, which focuses more on the adult problems of the characters than the charm and romance usually portrayed on film. Sound interesting? Here’s a bit more information:.
There’s been talk that the new production might be released in late 2020, so watch for updates.
But wait, there’s more …
There are many more Jane Austen-related events slated for the new year. If you’d like to see a list of them all, just type “jane austen”+2020 into your internet browser and scroll through the results. Chances are you’ll find an event, lecture, meeting, or theater performance close to your neighborhood.
If you don’t live near a large city, you might consider joining the Jane Austen Society of North American (JASNA). Membership is open to anyone interested in the life and works of Jane Austen. For a $30 annual membership fee, you get access to all JASNA’s national events, conferences, programs, and publications. You can also join one of 79 regional JASNA groups in the U.S. and Canada, each of which have their own schedules of programs and meetings. Click on the map below to find a regional group near you:
More Austen goodness:
If your taste runs more toward “staying at home for real comfort,” there are several new Jane Austen inspired novels in the works for 2020. Your favorite Austen Authors will announce their new releases here, and you can see previews on the home page under this banner:
What did I miss?
If you know of any other Jane Austen novels, events, or performances that will debut in 2020, please share the news with us!
I wish you a happy and blessed 2020 filled with love, good health, and plenty of Jane Austen!