In just a couple of weeks (Sept. 29th), people from far and wide will begin gathering in Victoria, British Columbia, for the 2022 Jane Austen Society of North America Annual General Meeting (JASNA AGM). In other words, it’s a Jane Austen convention!
What could be better? Around 700 fully-vaccinated Austen addicts congregating to learn more about our favorite authoress, her literary works, and Regency culture. We’ll be taking time out of our busy lives to collectively celebrate our common passion for all things Jane!
How do I know it will be awesome enough to justify all the exclamation points I’m using? I’ve been to one before; that’s how!!!
In 2013, the AGM was held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and I was there! It was my first, so I didn’t really know what to expect. But good stuff started happening immediately upon my arrival – while I was still in the airport, in fact. To see what I mean, and for a more complete account, I encourage you to read this post that I wrote about the experience: Having a Ball at the JASNA AGM.
The short version goes like this. We spent two and a half days learning more about Jane Austen and her writings, and participating in fun activities like bonnet making and dance classes. Then Saturday night, we all dressed up in Regency attire, unashamedly paraded around the streets (sidewalks, really) of Minneapolis together, came back to enjoy a wonderful banquet, and then topped it off with a Regency-style ball! Doesn’t that sound like a dream come true? It really was. I even got to participate in the Author Signing, meeting one of my favorite authors (Julie Klassen) and some of my own early fans!
I know I could have stayed at home – that time and this – and learned nearly as much from other sources. Virtual attendance is offered now too. But those options would never replace the primary advantage of being there: meeting fellow Janeites in person – many that I knew before but only from internet contact, and many new friends as well. That’s what it was really about for me: the people… that and the dancing!
There I go with the exclamation points again, but I can’t seem to help it. Reviewing that earlier experience has been getting me more and more excited about the one coming up! Each AGM features one of Jane Austen’s books or other works. This year, it’s Sense and Sensibility. And who happens to have a new S&S novel out? I do, I do! See Colonel Brandon in His Own Words.
So, will I see you in Victoria? If you’re going to the AGM this year, I’d love to meet you! Contact me (comment here, FB message, or email: shannon at shannonwinslow dot com), and we’ll set up a rendezvous. I won’t be participating in the Author Signing this time, but I’d be glad to sign one of my promotional postcards for you or a book you bring with you. Some of my books will be available at the on-site bookstore also.
If you can’t make it this time, I hope you will think about attending an AGM in the future. It’s not just for writers and scholars, you know. Anybody who loves Jane Austen can attend. Next year’s is in Denver. Here’s a link to the JASNA AGM page to get you thinking about that exciting possibility.
“My idea of good company, Mr. Elliot, is the company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation: that is what I call good company.” “You are mistaken,” said he gently, “that is not good company; that is the best…” (Persuasion, chapter 16)
Have you attended an AGM before? Which one, and what was your experience like? Would you like to attend one in the future? Do you have any questions for me? I’d love to hear your comments below. (PS – Next time, I’ll post something about my experience at the AGM and also news about my new writing project!)