Symposium: Have you got your ticket yet?

We wanted to do something special to mark 200 years since Jane Austen’s death and to bring together members from across the country. As I mentioned previously the symposium is different to our normal meetings; there’s a lot more people, logistics and cost involved.

I’ve worked really hard to give you the symposium you wanted* and I do hope that it can go ahead. Please buy your ticket before Saturday (25 March) to make sure we have the numbers to hold the meeting.

There is always a rush to buy tickets a couple of days before the meeting but ticket sales for the symposium will close a week before on 1 April.

*based off your responses to our survey (cost, location, topics and speakers)

Regular posts
I will be posting each week leading up to the symposium.
Next post: meet our venue

Get your ticket now!


Symposium: What are we going to be doing?

Jane Austen Symposium: The Good, The Bad and The Undressed
Saturday, 8 April

9:30 Registration
10:00 First Impressions – Sarah Laing
11:00 Morning tea
11:15 ‘I am now going to murder my sister’: Villains and villainy in Austen – David Norton
12:30 Regency Lunch
13:30 Card games / National Library visit – Anthony Tedeschi
15:00 Afternoon tea
15:15 Apparatus of Happiness: Clothing & Jane Austen – Leimomi Oakes
16:15 Etiquette quiz*
(stay around for more cards and grab a drink)
Please note this is subject to change
*There’s a copy of Folly is Not Always Folly up for grabs and lots of Whittakers chocolate! 


Regular posts
I will be posting each week leading up to the symposium.
Next post: have you got your ticket yet?

Get your ticket now!

Symposium: Who’s going to be speaking?

Sarah Laing

Sarah is an author and Wellingtonian. While our other speakers are academics you confessed to wanting someone a little bit famous. Enter Sarah Laing an, award winning New Zealand author, who has recently been interviewed everywhere about her new book Mansfield and Me.


David Norton
David is a crowd favourite and regularly at our meetings contributing to discussions. His talk last year on hidden relationships in Emma had members begging to have him back. We’ve asked him to talk about the bad boys of Austen, during that discussion he also confessed to having once been a cowboy!

Read more about David

Leimomi Oakes
Historian, dressmaker, lecturer. Leimomi is also known as The Dreamsstress. Not only does she create historical clothing she uses methods and material as close to those available at the time as possible.
Read our interview with Leimomi
Anthony Tedeschi
Anthony’s last talk was such a hit we weren’t able to let everyone in! There were a lot of requests to see the Austen first editions again so Anthony is bringing them out especially for his talk at the symposium – he won’t necessarily be talking about them but you’ll be able to have a good look and ask any questions.
Read our interview with Anthony

Regular posts

I will be posting each week leading up to the symposium.
Next post: timetable of talks

Get your ticket now!

Symposium: Why are the tickets cheaper?

Reserve tickets – $50
We created the reserve ticket so you can secure your place at the conference but pay the full cost later.
Many people are waiting till closer to the time to buy tickets (for money reasons or social commitments). We don’t want you to miss out!. Our last meeting doubled capacity and still had to turn people away.
We can’t increase capacity for the symposium and because of logistics if you don’t buy your tickets before 25 March we will have to cancel.

Standard tickets – $195
They are a bit cheaper! We changed a setting on Eventbrite to absorb their fees. This brings the tickets back down to the advertised $195
The majority of you were happy to pay $199 for a full day conference (there were a few outliers who wanted to pay $500 for two days). Our costs are a little under this so we’re able to save you $4.

Regular posts
I will be posting each week leading up to the symposium.
Next post: Meet our speakers!

Get your ticket now!

Anthony Tedeschi – Lover of books

We interview Anthony Tedeschi one of the speakers at the upcoming Symposium Jane Austen: The Good, The Bad and The Undressed.  Anthony previously hosted an over subscribed talk for us at the National Library. Those of you who missed out last time will get the see the first editions.

Do you have any Nicknames?
None, sorry!

Who is your favorite author and why?
Nearly impossible to pick just one as an outright favourite, but I’m currently rereading the works of Umberto Eco. ‘Impishly humorous and robustly intellectual’ to quote the Guardian. Who wouldn’t love that?

Are you a good boy or a bad boy?
Have to meet me to find out.

What makes you good or bad?
See above. I’m not giving the game away!

What are your Credentials?
I am presently employed as Curator Rare Books and Fine Printing at the Alexander Turnbull Library, part of the National Library of New Zealand. Prior to this appointment, I worked for the University of Melbourne, first as Deputy Curator of Special Collections and then Curator of Rare Books. Previous to that I spent six years as Rare Books Librarian in the Heritage Collections, Dunedin City Library. I hold an MA in English Literature with Distinction from the University of Otago and an MLS degree from Indiana University with a specialisation in rare books and manuscripts librarianship. My research interests cover various aspects of book history, focusing primarily on pre-1801 British and Continental books, and I have published on such topics as provenance evidence, book collecting, late medieval manuscripts and early-printed books.

Anthony will be showing us some of the relevant books from the Alexander Turnbull Collection20160217_ATL_ICL_ATedeschi_009.jpg


Leimomi Oakes – Apparatus of Happiness

We interview Leimomi Oakes, aka The Dreamstress, one of the speakers at the upcoming Symposium Jane Austen: The Good, The Bad and The Undressed.

If you were a character in an Austen novel, what would your name be?
Lady Caroline de Peyton (If I can’t be a Lady in a fantasy Austen novel, what’s the point!)

Would your character be good or bad?
Mostly good, occasionally very mischievous.

What would make your character good or bad?
Her intent…And the ability of her morality to override her desire to whack at least a quarter of the other characters with her inordinately heavy reticule (inordinately heavy, because she’s using it to carry around at least three books at any given time).

Who is your favorite author and why?
Currently Robin McKinley. I’m enjoying her strong heroines, who find unusual alternative ways to solve their own problems, and her incredibly detailed world-building.

What are your credentials? 
Leimomi Oakes is a Hawaiian-born based freelance fashion and textile historian and sewing teacher. She specialises in recreating historical fashions using period accurate techniques, and in exploring the way historical events and societal mores influenced, and were influenced by, fashion and textiles.

Leimomi is a frequent contributor to Glory Days vintage lifestyle magazine, has been featured in Threads magazine and on numerous international fashion and sewing blogs and websites. She is the designer behind Scroop Patterns and authors the popular fashion & textile history blog

What is the title of your talk for the symposium?
Apparatus of Happiness: Clothing & Jane Austen.

David Norton – I am now going to murder my sister

Meet David Norton one of the speakers at the upcoming Symposium Jane Austen: The Good, The Bad and The Undressed.

‘I am now going to murder my sister’: Villains and villainy in Austen

I hope the audience will help me by nominating their favourite villains in Austen (and those they hate the most). I will try to weave my talk around these nominations, and questions such as the following. Do ‘the graces, the spirit, the sagacity and the perseverance of the villain of the story outweigh all his absurdities and all his atrocities’ (Sanditon)? Are all her villains seducers who want money even more than they want sex? Are they all ‘black at heart, hollow and black!’ (Persuasion)? Is Austen fascinated by wickedness? Is Mr Knightley right that ‘Frank Churchill was a villain’? Why are villains so important in Austen?

About me
An English master nominated ten great English novels and asked us to read two of them during the Easter vacation. So I first read Pride and Prejudice (and Tom Jones). Ever since it has been my favourite novel to teach and to read aloud. There is no better way to begin a course on the novel than to read aloud the opening chapter. When my wife was ill it was the last book we read together (no need to fill in parts of the plot she might miss). Her favourite scene in literature was always Lady Catherine’s visit to the Bennets, and, even in sad circumstances, we thoroughly enjoyed it. Hooray for Elizabeth, and thank God for the gift of Austen! While Elizabeth is my favourite heroine, I identify most with Mr Bennet. If he, perhaps, is a kind of villain, I might be so too.

In retirement, I continue to work on Austen. I have given several talks to the Jane Austen societies in Australia and New Zealand, and am currently writing a study of Austen’s writings, ‘Jane Austen, Laughter and Compassion’. After working so long on the Bible, it is a pleasure to work on a female author with a sense of humour. But the Mr Bennet in me means that the book may never be finished.

Connew 4.jpgDavid Norton FRSNZ
Emeritus Professor of English
Victoria University of Wellington