This year I will have lived in Bath a quarter of a century, twenty years longer than Austen, who famously wasn’t very impressed with the city.
However, Bath’s association with the author thrives. As Chair of the local JA literary group, I organize lectures, events and talks for our members. I’ve helped set up an exhibition of the collection of memorabilia from the Austens’ house in Bath, 4, Sydney Place and I give walking tours to show enthusiasts the city Austen would have seen, a very different place from today.
For many years I was a dancer and teacher of Regency dance, the country dances Jane Austen knew. I now give illustrated talks on the dancing she Austen enjoyed as well as the history of how dancing developed. I participated in the Pride and Prejudice 'Readathon', broadcast live on January 28th to celebrate the 200 hundredth anniversary of the novel’s publication.
I have been doing extensive research on different aspects of Jane Austen’s life for many years, and am just finishing a biography of her, revealing her to be a very different person from the one most people know, or think they know, and the illustrated talks I give to groups are based on this information.