Welcome

Whether you have just discovered Jane Austen or are a lifelong aficionado, you are welcome at the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA) and our local region of the society, JASNA Southwest.

Our region is the largest and one of the oldest in the national society. We host four regional meetings annually that feature a wide range of speakers and presentations, offer numerous local reading and game groups, sponsor a Young Filmmakers Contest and maintain a comprehensive guide to Austen Adaptations.

Learn more about the benefits of joining JASNA and JASNA Southwest on our membership page.

We hope you enjoy exploring our site and we hope to see you soon!

Left: Lyme Park stood in for Pemberley in the 1995 Pride and Prejudice miniseries.

Upcoming Virtual Meetings

Until it’s safe to meet again in person, we are holding virtual meetings with speakers on a wide range of topics. We’ll be posting information on the next set of virtual events soon. Sign up for our mailing list for more information.

Register now for our next free virtual meeting, Saturday, January 16, from 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Pacific time. 

Professor Jason Solinger will reprise his breakout talk “Anti-Historical Austen: From ‘The History of England’ to Northanger Abbey” from the 2020 JASNA Virtual Annual General Meeting in a live presentation followed by a Q&A session. The talk will be recorded.

His humorous and enlightening lecture slideshow should put to rest the notion that the text was a mere youthful lark. On the contrary, he will explain how The History of England articulates questions that shaped the adjacent disciplines of literature and history. His talk will address such questions as:

  • How much poetic license are we willing to grant the historian?
  • On what basis did Austen’s predecessors call their own novels “histories”?
  • Who is better at explaining the motivations that drive people, the historian or the novelist?
  • Which discourse—fiction or history—better prepares readers for being in the world?

Solinger is an associate professor of English at the University of Mississippi, where he teaches classes in 18th and 19th century literature. He is the author of Becoming the Gentleman: British Literature and the Invention of Modern Masculinity, 1660-1815, which explains 18th century Britons’ obsession with the figure of the gentleman. He is currently working on a book exploring the ways that Austen’s readers have shaped our ideas about literature.

Register now for our virtual meeting from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Pacific time on Sunday, January 24, 2021, when we will premiere the winning entries of our fourth annual Young Filmmakers Contest. The screenings will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers and several of our esteemed judges. Meet the winners and learn how they came up with their original films—and what Jane Austen means to them—while also gaining insights from our judging panel. The event will also mark the official launch of our 2021 contest!

2020 winners:

First place (20+)–Jillian Davis and Yolanda Rodriguez, “Jane Austen Virtual Book Club”

First place (under 20)–Thomas Fitzgerald, “Handsome, Clever and Rich”

Second place (20+)–Lydia Smith, “A Letter to Jane”

Second place (under 20)–Elliot Cagle, “A Certain Step Towards Falling in Love”

Third place (20+)–Courtney Birnbaum, “Morland and Mishaps”

Third place (under 20)–Sajween Khan, “Letters to Cassandra”

Winners and contestants entered from all over the United States, including California, Florida, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Texas. Winners receive cash prizes and a year’s membership in JASNA.

The judges included The Jane Austen Book Club screenwriter/director Robin Swicord; Los Angeles Times (retired) film critic Kenneth Turan; actress and writer Ashley Clements (star of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries); “Black Girl in a Big Dress” actress and writer Aydrea Walden; Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict novelist Laurie Viera Rigler; and Emmy-winning executive producer and director Thomas Rigler.

Register now for our event on Saturday, February 20, from 11-12:15 p.m. Pacific time, for a talk by art historian, curator and author Nancy Mowll Mathews on “Austen and Cassatt: Working From Home.”
 
Mathews is the Emerita Eugénie Prendergast Senior Curator of 19th and 20th Century Art at the Williams College Museum of Art directing the Prendergast Archive and Study Center and teaching in the Williams College Art Department and Graduate Program in the History of Art.
 
Using letter writing as the core activity of “work” for the educated and prosperous classes, Mathews will compare Austen and Cassatt’s own work lives, their long-distance communications and how they represent women working from home in their art. As appropriate for our current remote work lives and use of Zoom, she will draw comparisons with the similar stay-at-home professionalism of the 19th century.
 
Mathews received her PhD from the Institute of Fine Arts at NYU, where she began her long career as a preeminent Cassatt scholar. Of the more than 15 books and exhibitions she has produced, the best known are Cassatt and Her Circle: Selected Letters, Cassatt: The Color Prints and Mary Cassatt: A Life. Most recently she curated and co-wrote the catalogue for Mary Cassatt: An American Impressionist in Paris for the Jacquemart-André Museum (Paris, 2018). 
 
In addition to her work on Cassatt, she is the co-author of the Prendergast catalogue raisonné and numerous other books on Maurice and Charles Prendergast, Paul Gauguin, and the relationship between art and early film.

Upcoming In-Person Events

We are pausing our in-person events until it is safe for large groups to meet again in person. Stay tuned for announcements on upcoming virtual presentations and meetings. Sign up for our mailing list for more information.

POSTPONED: Stay tuned for new date and information

Austen Family Theatricals

A staged reading will follow the presentation.

Featured speaker:
Melinda Finberg, a dramaturg and theatre history scholar at the USC School of Dramatic Arts

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Mission Inn, Riverside
(a block of rooms will be reserved for those wishing to spend Friday and/or Saturday evening)

Miss Austen Goes to Washington

Our event will explore Regency-era politics as well as Austen’s influence today.

Featured speakers:
Congressman Mark Takano (D-Riverside), former English teacher who launched a Jane Austen reading group on Capitol Hill
Austen scholar Sheryl Craig, author of Jane Austen and the State of the Nation

Saturday, December 3, 2022

The Grand, Long Beach

Featured speakers:
TBD

Reading, Film and Game Groups

For the upcoming schedule for each of our reading, film and game groups, visit the groups page.

In Memoriam: Clara Browda

In Memoriam: Clara Browda

Longtime JASNA member Clara Browda died on December 1. Founder of the West Los Angeles Reading Group, Clara was a constant presence at JASNA Southwest events and attended at least 18 JASNA Annual General Meetings. A voracious reader, she kept the West L.A. Reading...

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Young Filmmakers Winners Announced!

Young Filmmakers Winners Announced!

JASNA Southwest has announced the winners of our fourth annual Young Filmmakers Contest in two age categories: Under 20 and Over 20. Selected from an unprecedented volume of entries, each of the winning entries explored the characters, books, mores and life of Jane...

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Jane Boltz Regency Fashion Talk Now Online

Jane Boltz Regency Fashion Talk Now Online

JASNA Southwest board member Jane Boltz' presentation "Exploring Regency-Era Fashions for Women and Men by a Prejudiced and Amateur Seamstress" is now live on our YouTube channel, where you also catch up on past virtual events. In the illustrated talk, she models many...

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Karen Joy Fowler Video Live

Karen Joy Fowler Video Live

The video from the September 26 JASNA Southwest meeting featuring author Karen Joy Fowler (The Jane Austen Book Club and numerous other titles) is now live on the JASNA SW YouTube page. Her enlightening talk covered Emma and Austen's Hidden Gothics—the untold, highly...

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Young Filmmakers Judges Announced

Young Filmmakers Judges Announced

We are thrilled to announce the judges for our third annual Young Filmmakers Contest: Ashley Clements, star of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and a writer/producer, including an upcoming modern adaptation of Macbeth  Laurie Viera Rigler, author of Confessions of a Jane...

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Immerse yourself in an Austen novel, participate in a reading or game group or catch up on the latest JASNA Southwest news.

Explore the benefits of becoming a JASNA and JASNA Southwest member, or join or renew your membership now!

Discover our wide range of events or scroll through our archive for recaps, video and audio from past meetings.

Join other Jane Austen fans from around Southern California by attending one of our regional meetings.

Greet visitors at our Festival of Books booth, organize a new reading group or assist with events and more as a valued volunteer.

Support JASNA’s Southwest region with a tax-deductible donation in any amount. Your gift truly makes a meaningful difference in all we do!

Discover a treasure trove of resources, including our comprehensive guide to film adaptations as well as books Austen herself admired.

Email jasnasw or visit our contact page to direct your query on a specific topic or to a board member. We look forward to hearing from you.

Join Our Mailing List

Sign up today to receive our monthly e-newsletter, event invitations and occasional news, such as free Austen-related film screenings. We never (ever) share your information with anyone. Period.

“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.” —Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book! When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.” —Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

“I do not want people to be very agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them a great deal.” —Jane Austen, Jane Austen’s Letters

“For my own part, if a book is well written, I always find it too short.” —Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility

“It is not what we say or think that defines us, but what we do.” —Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility

“It is such a happiness when good people get together, and they always do.” —Jane Austen, Emma

“I am not a great reader, and I have pleasure in many things.” —Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

“My idea of good company … is the company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation.” “That is not good company, that is the best.” —Jane Austen, Persuasion

“If adventures will not befall a young lady in her own village, she must seek them abroad.” —Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

“We all have our best guides within us, if only we would listen.” —Jane Austen, Mansfield Park