My Regency-style dress is finished and I have purchased my plane ticket. Tomorrow, I’ll be flying to Minneapolis to attend my first Jane Austen convention! It’s bigger than national; this one’s INTERnational. It’s the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA), this year to be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I’ll be doing a little sightseeing on Thursday, but then I’ll plunge right into the full slate of activities on Friday.
The conference is sold out again this year, so there will be hundreds of Janeites running around the city (or at least the hotel) in period costume, taking tea, taking classes, and taking dance workshops. Doesn’t that sound like fun? You could learn how to crochet a reticule (small handbag) or how to play Whist (popular card game of the day). You could sit in on an explanation of property rights and inheritance, especially primogeniture and entailment, as seen in Austen’s novels. And, since this is the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice, many of the speakers will be further elucidating attendees on that book in particular. Example: Do Elizabeth and Darcy Really Improve “upon acquaintance”? Then, the culmination of the festivities will be the banquet, promenade, and Netherfield Ball on Saturday night.
The possibilities are endless, and my head is swimming with everything there will be to see and do – too much to cram into a couple short days. But actually, more than the classes, I’m looking forward to the people I’ll meet. This will be my chance to finally talk face-to-face with many of my fellow members of the Austen Authors group, as well as making the acquaintance of other Austen-style authors and Jane Austen fans. Perhaps I’ll even meet a few of my own fans at the author book signing on Friday evening!
I promise you a full report after I return, with lots of pictures (these photos courtesy of former JASNA events). Right now, though, I’d better run. I still have a lot of packing to do. Minneapolis, here I come!
“So much novelty and beauty! I have travelled so little that every fresh place would be interesting to me.” (Anne, Persuasion, chapter 20)