All about Austen: Fans of the British author have been busy in the lead-up to the bicentenary of her death

All about Austen: Fans of the British author have been busy in the lead-up to the bicentenary of her death. By Susannah Fullerton. An important western icon, but also with a possible connection to the Wentworth Report, which piqued our interest.

‘I have lost a treasure,” Cassandra Austen wrote on the death of her sister, Jane. The literary world, too, lost one of its brightest treasures when Jane Austen died on July 18, 1817, aged 41. Next week, two centuries later, those who love her six novels will mourn her loss and celebrate her legacy.

There is plenty happening in the Jane Austen world this month: a new statue (the first created of the author) is going up in Basingstoke in south-central England; Austen’s face will appear on the £10 banknote and on the £2 coin (making her the first person, apart from a reigning monarch, to appear on an English coin and banknote simultaneously); public benches shaped like half-opened books and adorned with Austenian scenes are being erected around her stomping grounds of Hampshire; her words will appear in public places when it rains (in a project called the Rain Jane Trail); exhibitions on her life and fiction will be staged around England; and there will be dances, costume par­ades, guided walks, talks, new merchandise and more. Austen societies in Britain, the US, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Denmark, The Netherlands, Germany, Singapore, New Zealand, Japan, Czech Republic, Italy and Pakistan will celebrate her extraordinary literary legacy.

hat-tip Stephen Neil