Are you looking for something to celebrate the great novelist, Jane Austen’s birthday? Then you don’t want this upcoming event!
Join me and illustrious panel of great Janeites as we come together to celebrate Austen’s 247th birthday and talk what is it about this popular novelist that has immense popularity continuing into the 21st century.
What is it about Jane Austen that makes her so popular, even into the 21st century? Join us on Austen’s 247th birthday with an illustrious panel of authors, scholars and playwrights as we talk about why Austen is so popular and celebrate the great works and the cultural influence of Jane Austen! This program will also include book recommendations and resources if you want to read more about the novelist.
an Army brat, Renata Dennis lived in five states and graduated from Stuttgart American High School in Germany. She holds degrees in biology, nursing, and public health from Wheaton College (Illinois) and Emory University. She has a certificate and other coursework from the German as a Foreign Language departments from the Universities of Marburg (Germany) and Salzburg (Austria).
Renata’s introduction to Austen began with reading Pride and Prejudice in high school. She later visited Winchester Cathedral as a young adult, praying over Jane’s grave. Her addiction to all things Austen began after seeing the 1995 movie version of Persuasion. She is a JASNA Life Member and an At-Large Board Member. Renata is a committed member of her church, a peony-obsessed gardener, and enjoys good books, long walks, baking Christmas cookies, Star Trek, and visiting the great art museums of Europe.
An award winning novelist, essayist and public speaker. Her novel, Unmarriageable: Pride & Prejudice in Pakistan, is a Financial Times Readers’ Best Book of 2019, a NPR Code Switch Summer Read Selection, a People’s Magazine and a New York Public Library pick, and received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Shelf Awareness and more. Unmarriageable is a 2020 Georgia Author of the Year for Literary Fiction nominee and shortlisted for the 2020 Townsend Award for Fiction. Soniah’s TEDx talk is about second chances in life. She has delivered keynotes at Writers Conferences as well as ‘We are the Ink’ her U.S. Citizenship Oath Ceremony address about immigrants and real American Dreams and her keynote at the Jane Austen Festival is about universality across time and cultures. Soniah’s work has appeared in critically acclaimed anthologies and publications including The New York Times, The Guardian, The Georgia Review, The Bitter Southerner, Catapult, The Normal School, Apartment Therapy and more. Soniah is @soniahkamal on Instagram and Twitter. www.soniahkamal.com
Damianne Scott (Dami) graduated from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she earned a BA and MA in English, and more importantly garnered her love for Jane Austen. After many years of having to defend her love of Austen, Dami decided to create, Black Girl Loves Jane (BGLJ), a Facebook Page dedicated to the idea that it was perfectly wonderful to be an African American woman who loves Austen novels in 2018. From BGLJ’s creation, several opportunities have blossomed for Dami to spread the message of diversity. The latest is an interview with The Washington Post regarding Netflix’s Persuasion (2022).
Sarah Rose Kearns
Sarah Rose Kearns is a writer, performer, and lifelong Austen enthusiast. She studied acting with Dan Daily, Ragnar Freidank, Austin Pendleton, and many others; and she holds a bachelor’s degree in creative writing from Columbia University. Her stage adaptation of Persuasion debuted off-Broadway in 2021, while her one-act play Manydown, which imagines one important night in the life of Jane Austen and her sister Cassandra, will be performed at the Jane Austen Festival in Mt. Dora, Florida, in February 2023. Rose is the most recent recipient of the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA) International Visitor Program fellowship; she travelled to Chawton, UK, in the summer of 2022 to conduct research for another biographical play about the Austen sisters. She is a frequent speaker on Austen and the art of adaptation, and has discussed her work at such venues as The Peabody Institute in Baltimore, The Jane Austen Summer Program in Chapel Hill, HB Studio, and The New York Society Library. Rose serves as a member of the JASNA committee for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.