Jane Austen remembered - Renowned professor to give 'Birthday Address' in Tonbridge

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Last Updated: 06 Nov 2017 2:09pm

One of the foremost authorities on Jane Austen is to give a special Address on Wednesday 13 December in Tonbridge to mark the author’s birthday.

John Mullan, Professor of English at University College London, has given lectures about Jane Austen all over the world and tickets are now available to hear him give a special one-hour Birthday Address, entitled “Jane Austen’s Tricks”, which will take place at 2.30pm on 13 December at the Church of St Peter & St Paul, Church Lane, Tonbridge TN9 1HD.

Jane Austen is one of the world's most famous authors and was a frequent visitor to Kent. Although John Mullan’s lecture is in celebration of her birthday (16 December 1775), this year, 2017, also marks the 200th anniversary of her death at the age of just 41, making the event especially poignant.

The Austen family had many links to Kent, which can be traced back to the 16th century. Jane’s father, George, was born in Tonbridge, and went to Tonbridge School where he later became a teacher.  A circular walking tour entitled ‘In Austen Family Footsteps’ is available from the Church of St Peter and St Paul, where the family worshipped and where some are buried, and from Tonbridge Gateway at Tonbridge Castle.  There is also a leaflet in the Church, which describes the monuments to the Austen family.  Jane’s connections with Kent provided inspiration for some of her most famous novels of romantic fiction including Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion.

Tickets cost £6 (to include the Birthday Address, tea and cake and the opportunity to meet Professor John Mullan) and are available from:

  • Sevenoaks Bookshop, 147 High Street, Sevenoaks Tel: 01732 452055
  • Susan Adams Business Services, 161 High Street, Tonbridge Tel: 01732 357872

Maria Heslop, Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Services, says: “We are delighted to welcome Professor John Mullan to Tonbridge to celebrate Jane Austen’s birthday and to mark the 200th anniversary of her death.  We are very proud of the strong links that the Austen family had to our borough and I hope that people will come along to enjoy this event, which is sure to provide a fascinating insight in to Jane Austen’s life and work.”