Have you booked your Austen tickets yet?


200 years since it was published, Pride and Prejudice still exerts its fascination on the public’s imaginations. Just what is it about this satirical and romantic novel that still charms and excites readers today? Find out with The Bristol Women’s Literature Festival at Watershed on Tuesday 26 November

Chaired by Professor Helen Taylor, this panel discussion will explore Austen’s lasting appeal and the misconceptions that have dogged her public persona. Professor Taylor will be joined by Jean Burnett, author of Who Needs Mr Darcy, and Professor Jane Spencer. 

We’ll also be inviting to the panel the winner of our very exciting competition for 16-25 year olds, to find the biggest, young Jane Austen fan in the UK, Tiffany Francis. 

The discussion will be introduced by a performance from actor Kim Hicks, and followed by a screening of the 2005 film of Pride and Prejudice. 

This celebration of one of Britain’s best-loved novels is a must for all Austen enthusiasts.

Founder and director of the festival, Sian Norris, explains her reasons for celebrating Jane Austen:

“Like many women, I first read Pride and Prejudice as a teenager and have re-visited the book many times ever since. So how could I resist an evening celebrating the bi-centenary of its publication? Pride and Prejudice still captures our imagination today – from the biting satirical message about women’s place in nineteenth century England, to the hilarious monologues of Mr Collins and the ultimately satisfying ending for Darcy and Lizzie. It’s a novel that means so much to so many people and I am really looking forward to hearing from our panel and from our audience on why Austen remains a staple in our cultural lives today.” 

The Bristol Women’s Literature Festival launched in March 2013 with real success. Audiences flocked to a series of panel events over one weekend, to see writers and academics discuss their work. Chaired by writer, journalist and broadcaster Bidisha, speakers included Stella Duffy, Helen Dunmore, Selma Dabbagh, Beatrice Hitchman, Emilia di Girolamo, Dr Marie Mulvey-Roberts, Dr Charlotte Crofts, Kristin Aune, Debi Withers and Josephine Tsui. 

On her involvement, Bidisha says: 

 A stage full of brilliant, brainy, articulate and witty women discussing literature, women, history, activism and the future. An audience full of literature-lovers and woman-likers of all ages, races and walks of life. If anything restores a woman’s faith that we are not just roaring but writing and reading, it’s the Women’s Literature Festival. And I am sure that in her own crisp, sisterly way Austen would give a sly wink of approval.”

The Bristol Women’s Literature Festival is supported by Watershed and The Bristol Festival of Ideas. 

In summary:

Where? Watershed, Bristol

When? Tuesday 26th November 2013

What time? 18.15

Who? Professor Helen Taylor, Professor Jane Spencer, Jean Burnett, Kim Hicks and our very special competition winner, Tiffany Francis. 



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