Thursday, 13 August 2015

Jo Baker Meets Jane Austen Event

By Mary Kelleher.
A group of eight of us travelled from Cork on May 9th and had a lovely afternoon at the Jane Austen Society of Ireland event in the historic Law Society building in Blackhall Place.  The regency mood was created as soon as we entered the venue by the presence of “militia men”, who were there to greet us in their colourful uniforms – we felt like the Bennet sisters walking into Meryton!
Tim Bullamore, editor of the Austen Gazette gave an Introductory Talk, he was a pleasure to listen to, speaking about obituaries - he really brought this subject to life, and was very captivating.  There was lovely music during the afternoon, creating a feeling throughout of Jane Austen’s era.  We were also served Afternoon tea with delicious scones during the interval and the opportunity to chat with other Austen enthusiasts. 
Jo Baker was fantastic – her love and respect for Jane Austen was clear as she spoke of how she had to justify writing ‘Longbourn’ and the years she spent first thinking about it, then working on it.  She spoke of why she chose the servant’s story, giving the story from their
perspectives and being a parallel to Elizabeth’s story in ‘Pride and Prejudice’.  Her own family history, some of whom were in service, made her feel there was another story to tell and I think we all felt that her novel is a masterpiece in itself and works well as a companion to Jane Austen’s story and is a delight for all Austen fans.  Jo Baker’s own warmth, generosity with her time and enthusiasm to answer questions endeared her to us all.  
There was also a wonderful hamper for raffle, full of Jane Austen goodies for someone to take home.
A delightful day for Jane Austen fans!

Photos taken by Poul Madsen.