2021 Speaker Series
Attention all Book Clubs and Regional Literary Societies!
The inaugural 2021 North American Friends of Chawton House speaker subscription series is here to help small book clubs or regional literary groups access the type of global expertise that, pre-Zoom, was out of reach due to prohibitive travel costs for speakers. Our 2021 speakers will waive their usual honoraria for clubs or groups with a NAFCH subscription in order to raise awareness for Chawton House. All talks connect to the two-pronged mission of Chawton House: to preserve both a historic Austen-family site and the unique legacy of early women writers housed there. All funds raised with these NAFCH subscriptions goes straight to Chawton House in support of their mission.
For those not familiar with all of our speakers, this is a short video of snippets from prior talks, performances, or interviews on similar subjects.
The Power of Place as Inspiration
Natalie explores the power of literary pilgrimage and how her own visits to Chawton House directly inspired her debut novel The Jane Austen Society.
Natalie Jenner is the international and #1 national bestselling author of The Jane Austen Society, a fictional telling of the start of the society in the 1940s in the village of Chawton, where Austen lived and wrote. Born in England and raised in Canada, Natalie is a former lawyer who founded Archetype Books, an independent bookstore in her hometown of Oakville, Ontario. The Jane Austen Society is Natalie’s first novel and will be translated into fifteen different languages around the world. A percentage of author royalties from the UK edition of Natalie’s book directly support Chawton House.
Charlotte Brontë: To Do More and Better Things
The year is 1853, and Charlotte has just published her third novel, Villette. This leads her to reflect on her extraordinary family, unconventional education, and the life-changing experience in Brussels that she has just reworked into her latest book.
Laura Rocklyn is an actor and writer based between Boston, MA, and Washington, DC. She writes and performs one-woman historic character portrayals for educational groups. You may remember her play Emma is Presented in Washington City, which raised the curtain for the Jane Austen Society of North America’s 2016 AGM, or Clover, a bio-drama about Marian “Clover” Adams, co-written with Ty Hallmark for the Ally Theatre Company. She has published articles in “Brontë Studies” and on “The Revere Express.” Laura performs with regional theater companies across the country where favorite shows have included The Glass Menagerie and A Tale of Two Cities at Annapolis Shakespeare Company, Sense & Sensibility at The Folger Theatre, Pride & Prejudice at Round House Theatre, and As You Like It at Kentucky Shakespeare.
The Lady’s Magazine and the Making of Jane Austen
Jennie’s talk illuminates the influence of this first modern women’s magazine on the life and work of Austen.
Jennie Batchelor started her career as the first Chawton House Library Postdoctoral Fellow just as the renovation of the Great House was being completed. She is now Professor of Eighteenth-Century Studies at the University of Kent. Jennie has written widely on women’s writing, eighteenth-century dress, and early women’s magazines. Her most recent book, Jane Austen Embroidery (2020) was co-devised with Alison Larkin. She has appeared on the New Statesman’s Hidden Histories podcast, BBC Radio 4, and was interviewed for Lucy Worsley’s Jane Austen: Behind Closed Doors. Jennie is also Patron of the Kent branch of the Jane Austen Society.
Ayesha At Last: Remixing Pride and Prejudice
Uzma Jalaluddin will talk about her writerly motivations in pursuing a Pride and Prejudice retelling and what it means to reimagine classic texts from a different cultural viewpoint ~ oh, and the love that South Asian culture has for all things Austen.
Uzma is a busy high school teacher in Toronto, where she nonetheless finds time to write a funny parenting column named “Samosas and Maple Syrup” for the Toronto Star. Her debut novel Ayesha At Last is a modern Asian and Muslim remix of the story of Darcy and Elizabeth. Her Lizzie is a teacher, wears a hijab, and is “irritatingly attracted so someone who looks down on her choices and dresses like he belongs in the seventh century.” Ayesha At Last has been optioned for film by Pascal Pictures, featured on Good Morning America, and was named one of Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2019. Her second novel is scheduled for publication in spring 2021.
Collecting Jane Austen on the Cheap
Janine continues to argue for the unsung influence of cheap 19th- and 20th-century reprints upon Austen’s global reputation with new and ever-more-outrageous examples. You can select the focus: translations or teen editions.
Janine Barchas is the Louann and Larry Temple Centennial Professor of English Literature at the University of Texas at Austin and currently serves as the Board President of the North American Friends of Chawton House. Her most recent book is The Lost Books of Jane Austen. She is the creator behind What Jane Saw () and curator of exhibitions at the Harry Ransom Center and the Folger Shakespeare Library. Her essays have appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Review of Books, and LitHub.
~ A subscription costs $250 and includes a maximum of two Zoom talks from the 2021 slate of writers, creatives, and scholars (these categories overlap!). This bundled price is far lower than if a group booked these speakers individually for a noble honorarium.
~ The talks to take place on Zoom are partially pre-recorded to ensure quality, followed by a live Q&A with the speaker. This is therefore a real-time commitment, but one that allows these popular speakers to record part of their NAFCH lecture or performance so as to maintain sustainability.
~ All Zoom talks launch with a 3-min informational trailer about Chawton House
A subscription costs $250 and includes a maximum of two Zoom talks from the 2021 slate of writers, creatives, and scholars (these categories overlap!). This bundled price is far lower than if a group booked these speakers individually for a noble honorarium.
Format of Talks
The talks to take place on Zoom are partially pre-recorded to ensure quality, followed by a live Q&A with the speaker. This is therefore a real-time commitment, but one that allows these popular speakers to record part of their NAFCH lecture or performance so as to maintain sustainability.
All Zoom talks launch with a 3-minute informational trailer about Chawton House.
If NAFCH subscription speakers are used for a club fundraising event, then we hope Chawton House will receive 50% of the funds raised as a donation. If the club (with speaker permission) makes any kind of recording of their event, NAFCH respectfully asks that such a recording not only reside behind a password for exclusive access to their club’s membership but also be short-lived.
50 commemorative 2021 NAFCH bookplates awarded with each subscription.
2021 subscriptions are active from January 1 to December 31, 2021. Bookings must accommodate the schedule or time-zone of the speaker.