The Jane Austen Birthday Soiree! ~ A Love Letter to Jane Austen ~ and Giveaway!

Please note: JASNA’s gift to us all today is the publication of volume 32 of Persuasions On-Line!


Today I welcome JASNA-Vermont member Michelle Singer, whose love of Jane Austen has inspired her to rally several of her literary neighbors to form our new co-ed literary / quizzing book group .  Michelle originally wrote this letter for the newsletter of a Montpelier, Vermont parent group called Mama Says – in it she shares the sheer joy in her discovery of Jane Austen… and I wanted to share it with you today, in celebration of Jane Austen’s 236th birthday as part of the December 16th SoireePlease see below for instructions on commenting and the prize drawing. 


Dear Miss Austen,

I am tempted to begin this letter with “My Dearest Jane” because you
are dear to me although we don’t know each other and I suspect that if
we did, I would be your social inferior by quite a bit (what I wouldn’t
give for a couple of good servants)!

Today, your 236th birthday, I’m wearing a white t-shirt with Mrs. Darcy in glitter iron-on letters that I made myself complete with rhinestone embellishments. What?! Exactly. Skipping the necessary explanations—rhinestone, iron-on, and even t-shirt—and the complete wonder of the world as it is now, is the line I’ve crossed by making (and wearing) this shirt—not just a reader who loves your novels, but a fan. Maybe even an embarrassing fan. But I’m willing to risk it because of my love.

It’s the novels, yes. It’s the mastery of the language and structure, wit,
satire, characterizations—all those words we learned to describe the joy
of reading your work. But you know what it really is? It’s the hours
spent in your “company”: The pale mornings when I held a newborn
baby in my lap and read Emma, Persuasion, and Mansfield Park while
they slept; The way entering the world of your novels has lifted me up
as a mother and a woman, fanning tiny pieces of myself and my sanity
back to life when they were burning low.

Thank you for telling a story so well that I could get lost in it. For
showing the possibilities of language, beautifully wrought. Thank you
for the laughs! For Pride & Prejudice and Mr. Darcy (oh how I wish you
could see Colin Firth)! For Emma and Mr. Knightley andMiss. Bates!

Thank you for your “own darling children” which have grown up to
make me a better mother. Two hundred years after Sense & Sensibility
was published, for all the times you sat down, pen and ink, despite everything else that might have claimed you, I am eternally grateful.

Your friend and fan,
Michelle A. L. Singer


Thank you Michelle for that beautiful tribute to Austen! 

As part of Austen’s birthday celebration, I entreat you all to cancel all other commitments today and visit these thirty other Austen-related blogs [see below for the list and links – it will take all day!] – there are prizes awaiting at each! – all you have to do is comment on any and all to be entered into the various random drawings. 

At Jane Austen in Vermont, please comment with a few words on what you would say in a love letter to Jane Austen, thanking her for whatever her works have done to inspire you in your daily life, or what you would like to give her as a birthday gift.  All comments will be entered into the drawing for the 2012 JASNA Calendar from the JASNA-Wisconsin group [I will be giving away two calendars – and the giveaway is worldwide]. Deadline is midnight December 23rd – I will announce the winners that morning of the 23rd!

This calendar is a must have addition to your Austen collection! – there is a tidbit for almost every day of the year as to some aspect of Austen’s life and fiction. Today’s entry in my 2011 calendar says: 

December 16. 

1775 – Jane Austen is born

1810 – Charles Musgrove marries Mary Elliot

[one does wonder why she chose to have them marry on her birthday?! – any comments??]

The 2012 Jane Austen Wall Calendar is an updated edition with beautiful illustrations by C.E. and H.M. Brock, new quotations from Austen’s novels and letters, with an entry on each date.  The calendar measures 11 inches by 17 inches and is printed in color.  Each page features a Brock color tinted drawing from one of the six novels, suggested by an entry for that month.  Based upon biographies, R.W. Chapman’s chronologies of the stories, and Jane Austen’s letters, the calendar is a year-long reminder of Austen’s life and novels.

And if you don’t win, you can purchase the calendar at the JASNA website here.  

And finally – what would I give Jane Austen for her birthday? Last year I compiled a veritable treasure trove of gifts for Jane  – I send you back to that link [please note that some of the links are no longer working – a tribute to the illusive nature of the blogsphere…] – you can also comment there to be entered into this drawing!  

So for this year I would add the following: Jane Austen’s own very best love letter, that from Captain Wentworth to Anne:

 a Letterpress Broadside from the Bowler Press;  you can also order it from their Esty shop

[they also have on offer Mr. Darcy’s letter, all five pages of it in an envelope!


The December 16 Birthday Soiree Participants: 

1. Sharon Lathan –  Blog: Sharon Lathan 
Giveaway : Miss Darcy Falls in Love 

2. Emily Snyder – Blog: O! Beauty Unattempted
Giveaway: Letters of Love & Deception  

3. Laurel Ann Nattress –   Blog:  Austenprose  
 Giveaway: signed copy of Jane Austen Made Me Do It 

4. C. Allyn Pierson – Blog:   SemiTrue Stories
Giveaway: Mr Darcy Little Sister (open worldwide)

5. Cindy Jones – Blog: First Draft  
Giveaway:  a signed copy of My Jane Austen Summer”and a package of Lily Berry’s Pink Rose Tea by Bingley’s, Ltd. 

6. Farida Mestek – Blog:  Regency stories set against the backdrop of Regency England
Giveaway: I was Jane Austen Best Friend by Cora Harrison 

7. Marilyn Brant – Blog:    Brant Flakes
Giveaway : A canvas ACCORDING TO JANE tote bag and a pair of A SUMMER IN EUROPE luggage tags.

8. Prue Batten – Blog: Mesmered’s Blog
Giveaway : Anna Elliot’s  Georgiana Darcy (Kindle book)

9. Erin Blakemore – Blog:   The Heroine’s Bookshelf  
Giveaway :  a set of Potter-Style Pride and Prejudice notecards  

10. Velvet – Blog: vvb32 reads
Giveaway: Jane Austen’s Little Instruction Book (Charming Petites)       

11. Karen Doornebos – Blog: The Fiction vs. Reality Smackdown
Giveaway: 2 Jane Austen Candles and 2 signed DNMD books plus drink coasters and tea!

12. ReginaJeffers –   ReginaJeffers’s Blog
Giveaway:  An autographed copy of “Christmas at Pemberley

13. Alyssa Goodnight – Blog: Alyssa Goodnight   
Giveaway: Jane Austen Action figure

14. Deb Barnum – Blog: Jane Austen in  Vermont
Giveaway [open worldwide]:  JASNA 2012 calendar from the Wisconsin JASNA Region

15. Laura Hile,  Susan Kaye, Pamela Aidan, and Barbara Cornthwaite – Blog: Jane Started It!
Giveaway: One copy of Young Master Darcy: A Lesson in Honour by Pamela Aidan;
One set of Frederick Wentworth, Captain (Books 1 and 2) by Susan Kaye;
Two copies of Mercy’s Embrace: So Rough a Course (Book 1) by Laura Hile;
George Kinghtley, Gentleman (Books 1 and 2) by Barbara Cornthwaite.

16. Juliet Archer – Blog: Choc Lit Authors’ Corner
Giveaway:  a copy of “Persuade Me”  and one of “The Importance of Being Emma

17. Jane Greensmith – Blog: Reading, Writing, Working , Playing
Giveaway: a copy of  “Intimations of Austen”, and Sense & Sensibility (Marvel Illustrated) 

18. Jenny Allworthy – Blog : The Jane Austen Film Club 
Giveaway:  a copy of Northanger Abbey DVD starring Felicity Jones and JJ Feild (The winner will choose region 1 or 2 DVD)

19.  Sitio Jane Austen – Blog: El Salón de Té de Jane
Giveaway:  – Spanish edition of Sense and Sensibility for the 200th Anniversary + A DVD package with adaptations of Jane Austen
(It’s only zone 2, but it’s in Spanish and English ) +  blu-ray of the BBC’s Emma with Romola Garai 

 20. Kaitlin Saunders – Blog : Kaitlin Saunders  
Giveaway: “A Modern Day Persuasion

21. Becky Rhodehouse – Blog: One Literature Nut
Giveaway: selection of Austenesque Reads

22. Patrice Sarath – Blog: Patrice Sarath
Giveaway: A copy of The Unexpected Miss Bennet

23. Adriana Zardini –  Site: Jane Austen Brasil
Giveaway: DVD – Sense and Sensibility (1995) – English / Portuguese subtitles

24.  Jane Odiwe – Blog: Jane Austen Sequels 
Giveaway:  a mug with one of  Jane Odiwe’s illustrations and a copy of her “Mr Darcy’s Secret

25. Courtney Webb – Stiletto Storytime  
Giveaway: Noble Satyr by Lucinda Brant (Regency Romance)

26. Jennifer Becton – Blog: Jennifer W. Becton
Giveaway: An ebook of the Personages of Pride and Prejudice Collection, which contains all of my Austenesque works: Charlotte Collins, “Maria Lucas,” and Caroline Bingley. The giveaway will be open internationally.

27. Vera Nazarian – Blog: Urban Girl Takes Vermont
Giveaway: a copy of Vera Nazarian’s gift hardcover edition of her inspirational calendar and diary, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

28. Abigail Reynolds – Blog: Pemberley Variations
Giveaway:   a signed copy of “Mr. Darcy’s Undoing

29. Blog: AustenAuthors
Giveaway:  Georgette Heyer’s Regency World by Jennifer Kloester

30.  Katherine Cox – Blog: November’s Autumn
Giveaway :$10 B&N Gift-card (US only)

31. Maria Grazia –  Blog: My Jane Austen Book Club
Giveaway : A selection of Austenesque reads


I welcome your comments! Please do so by midnight December 23rd. May everyone win something!

Happy Birthday Jane!

Copyright @2011, Jane Austen in Vermont  

53 thoughts on “The Jane Austen Birthday Soiree! ~ A Love Letter to Jane Austen ~ and Giveaway!

  1. Would like to say thank you to her for making me appreciate English literature, for the nuances in speech, for saying things beautifully, with brevity and also with meaning. Thank you.


  2. What a lovely letter to the birthday gal! As letters were priceless in her time, I think she would truly have valued the receipt of such. I would tell Jane how much her witty Lizzy, her sensible Eleanor, her steadfast Anne, her delightful scheming Emma, and her patient Fanny influenced the life of a girl just entering her teen years. When others were reading ‘The Babysitters Club’, I was reading Jane Austen.

    Thank you for the giveaway opportunity. That calendar looks awesome.


  3. Happy 236th Bday Jane Austen! Thanks for the gifts of the books, letters, and short stories. Of course, if I could, the gift of many more years for her! A minor gift as well, the book Jane’s Fame.


  4. I think I would write a short note, I would fear her seeing how horribly I write. Just a quick note thanking her for her characters, specifically Capt Wentworth. He is by far the greatest hero from her works in my opinion. He seems more like a man you would meet today. And I would have to ask her where she got the inspiration for his famous letter.


  5. Happy Jane’s Birthday!

    I would love to be able to thank Jane Austen for writing her novels which led me and my friend Darlene to want to read all of them, thus leading us to start our book club which has been a WONDERFUL blessing in our lives and in the lives of the women who read with us each month.

    Along with my thank you note, I’d love to send Jane Austen a laptop!


  6. Oh my goodness, you have so many wonderful things in your “birthday post”. I did not know we had a Jane Austen lovers club here in Wisconsin. Please include me in your drawing for the calendar. I have thought of lots of things I would like to give Jane for her birthday, but after reading your blog today, giving her a lovely copy of Captain Wentworth’s letter seems to be the best. What a wonderful way to show her how much her words mean to us.


  7. Thanks for the opportunity to win the calender!

    I would write to her and thank her for her wit and wisdom, and the many, many lovely hours that I have spent inside her books.


  8. Your letter was a delight! Thank you for sharing!

    I wish I could give Jane the knowledge of how enduring her stories have been over the past two centuries. The success of those published in her lifetime was only modest. I wish she could know that they have only gained in popularity as the years have passed. In particular, I would like her to know that she is now WAAAAY more popular than Sir Walter Scott, who, at the time her books were published, was the most popular author in England. Over the long haul, Jane won!!! Take that, Sir Walter!


  9. That was a great note. I’m afraid my gifts would be generally practical and a little bit selfish- pen, ink, paper. If I can get anachronistic- typewriter or a computer!

    melorabrock {at} gmail {dot} com


  10. Dear Jane, thank you for inspiring generations of women to be graceful but firm; to not shy away from books and reading; and never to give up on their dreams, even if they aspire to rise above their station. Thank you, JAinV, for this chance to win!


  11. Happy Birthday to Jane! And what a tribute to her to have this wonderful blog party! If I wrote Jane a letter, I would first of all THANK her. Thank her for all the joy she has brought to me and all who read her. I would love for her to see one of her books as a film and get a reaction. Can you imagine? Thank you for joining in this wonderful party!



  12. If I were to write a letter to Jane I would thank her for all the joy and entertainment she has brought to my life. I would thank her for going against the grain and putting pen to paper to provide us with a glimpse of her life and times. As I wander around the blogsphere today checking out everyone’s tributes to Jane I’ve been saying that I would give her a nice pen for her birthday but then someone else said that she would just give her a laptop. I’ve decided that’s a much better gift. =D Happy birthday Jane!

    lcsieck at gmail dot com


  13. Happy birthday to Miss Austen! If I could give her a gift, I’d give her the smoothest pen & ink set, with the perfect grain paper for writing.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    Laura Hartness
    CalicoCritic at gmail dot com


  14. Dearest Jane,
    Thank you greatly for all your wonderful works! I appreciate them all! You are an inspiration. You and your sister Cassandra remind me so much of my sister and me. She is older and loves to draw and I am the younger one who loves to write. Happy 236th Birthday Jane!

    And I would love to win the JASNA calendar!


  15. Happy Birthday dear Jane! I would have to thank you for all your lovely (and unlovely) characters and your wit! Your novels have given me many hours of reading enjoyment! Thank you!!=)


  16. My very favorite things are anything and everything JA! Thank you, Jane!!

    And Happy Birthday!!

    This is the best blog hop ever!
    Thank you for the giveaway!


  17. If I could write to Jane, I would thank her for always being so ironic that she’s teaching me the habit of looking at my own disappointments and hurts with gentle irony. I would thank her for teaching me about love and marriage being based on respect and that true love helps you grow, even when it’s painful. I would thank her for the underlying importance of doing right and following principle that pervades her books, which has taught me to as What Would Jane Austen Do? I would thank her for her emphasis on the little things. I would thank her for making me laugh out loud, for teaching me about her era, and for always, always being there for me to learn to love more.


  18. I would love to tell Jane Austen how great her novels are and how they have been translated into so many different languages and people are writing sequels to her stories and modernizing it! It would be fun to know what she would think about all the modern versions of her novels hehe.

    That calender sounds wonderful. I´ve never had a Jane Austen calender, that would deffinitly be something! :)


  19. Dear Jane Austen,

    How I thank you for your wonderful characters and for what you’ve taught me about life through them. More specifically, I thank you for the “second-string” cast of Persuasion. What a rollicking good time I’ve had working with the so-opinionated Elizabeth Elliot (as heroine, how’s that for a shocker?), and with whiny Mary, baffled Charles, pompous Sir Walter, and I-can-fix-this Lady Russell. Keeping your people true-to-character has been a challenge –okay, so I made Elizabeth smarter, I confess — and has made all the difference to my growth as a writer. Though I will never write as beautifully as you.

    To Deb, thank you for the giveaway opportunity. And I don’t think there’s a better letter in fiction than Captain Wentworth’s to Anne. *sigh*


  20. That is an interesting question, considering Mary and Charles weren’t exactly one of her couples who were destined to be. I think if they were alive in today’s world, they would’ve divorced a long time ago – as they would say in Jane’s time, they just didn’t suit.



  21. Your letter was lovely….a lost art is the writing of letters, not sending tweets and emails….
    I would thank Jane for her wit, her keen insight into human nature and the hours I’ve spent in her world…


  22. Thank you for joining Maria and me in the Soiree and for sharing the letter with us, Deb. :) I’m still shamefully behind on visiting all the blogs– catching up one by one. Hope this year has been treating you well! No need to enter me in the giveaway. ;)


  23. thank you for make me remember that the perfect man, sometimes is quite imperfect, and that good relationships doesn’t mean perfect relationships… and thanks for make me realize the importance of a good letter…


  24. Pingback: All I Want for Christmas ~ Anything Jane Austen ! « Jane Austen in Vermont

  25. I would tell Jane that she brought hope to me after I was diagnosed with Lupu, a chronic illness. It was at Christmas and we were graduate students just graduated with no money and insurance that had just kicked in. Our plan to go to China as ESL teachers was thwarted with my diagnosis. Then a really good friend brought over the 1995 series and insisted I watch it with her. After the 1st episode I was hooked and read all of the books, The Juvenilia, and all of her smaller works. Jane has brought me comfort, delight, laughter, and a passion for her and her times. She’s my hero!


  26. I would thank dear Jane for giving me a passion for not only her words but the world of classic literature in general. Jane herself was one of the reasons that I became an English major in college and another reason that I chose to become a librarian and help spread my love of the written word to all. Thank you Miss. Austen! And thank you for the lovely giveaway!

    stilettostorytime at gmail dot com


  27. your letter is full of love and admiration for the dear jane austen :)
    i am so happy to see so mnay fans in the world…don’t feel alone in this adventure XD jane austen gave me hope and cheer me up
    i’m very happy for YOU and yoru children
    merry christmas


  28. What an informative but fun post.Thank you for the chance to win your giveaway.I would give her a beautiful pen and journal set,and tell her how important and famous she became in the future.How she was so influential in the growth and development of women.We would sit and have tea and just talk for hours.Denise’s Delights in her Coffeeberry Cottage


  29. My dear Miss Austen,
    God bless you for your prodigious mind, for I could enjoy it more delicicosas hours with the most beloved books. What a pleasure to know you through your writings. What a delight and fascinating pleasure is travel every word, every phrase, every name so memorable.
    Persuasion, this word sounds so harmonious in my ears. What sweet sentiments were able to create characters so sublimes?
    If I were a book one of my chapters would be called Jane Austen.
    Deeply grateful I wish you the happiest of birthdays in a heaven surrounded by friends.
    Sincerely, Diana.

    Happy Birthday Miss Austen and congratulations to all who celebrate it like a dear friend’s birthday.
    My e-mail address is


  30. I don’t know what to get for Jane Austen because I think she has everything there is in heaven. But if she is still with us, I am thinking of giving her an eBook reader (such as Kindle) with most of JA fan fiction downloaded on it and hear what she says about the quality of the writing, etc.


  31. Dear Jane,

    I wish a could find the words to express you all I have to thank you.
    You influenced my life and my personality and every little detail and I could not be more thankful for your kindness, even if you don’t know it.

    May you be blessed for being so positive in people’s life around the world.


    PS.: If i could give you a bday present that would be a date with a gentleman, one that really desearves you.

    My email is:


  32. Dear Jane Austen,

    Thank you for being such an astute and accurate observer of the behaviour of your times. As a Psychology student (a student of science who studies human behaviour and thought processes) I strongly believe that modern Psychology and behavioural science has so much to learn from your observations. Thank you for writing characters like Elizabeth Bennet (who I so strongly identify with) and Anne in Persuasion. I hope to spend many years re-reading your works and passing on the love for your writing to all my children. Today, on your birthday, I would like to end you a lifetime supply of pens and sheets of clean white paper to spend many more pleasurable hours writing without getting your hands smudged with quill and ink. Thank you for inspiring me and so many other grateful readers across the world:)

    Yours truly,
    Sarah Bibi Setar


  33. Pingback: Jane Austen Birthday Soiree Giveaway Reminder! « Jane Austen in Vermont

  34. “My idea of good company is the company of clever, well-informed people who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company.”

    Thank you, Dear Jane, for always being good company. Happy birthday!


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