By Jennifer Abella
Thinking about registering for the fourth annual Jane Austen Summer Program? Whether you’re new to the program or a returning attendee, here’s an FAQ just for you!
So … what exactly happens at the Jane Austen Summer Program?
For four days, participants listen to presentations (some academic, some not) on a wide variety of topics — including history, film adaptations and period clothing — all centered on one of Jane Austen’s novels. This year’s theme is: “Mansfield Park & Its Afterlives.” The program also includes small-group discussions on the book and the presentations, as well as activities. Oh, and the ball. Cannot forget the ball.
But I’m not a scholar or teacher or anything.
You don’t have to be! The program aims to be a mix of history, literature and entertainment meant for Jane Austen fans of all backgrounds.
What if I am a teacher?
Good news! You can get credit for attending the program. JASP offers 30 hours of CEU credit. There are also K-12 teacher discounts when you register online: Registration for teachers is $250 (instead of the regular $400). The program also offers scholarships for K-12 teachers. Last week we caught up with two of last year’s scholarship recipients to see what they thought of the program and how they applied what they learned in their classrooms.
I should probably read “Mansfield Park” before I get to Chapel Hill, right?
If you’ve read “Mansfield Park” a million times, one more time won’t hurt, right? Maybe you’ll discover something new. If you’ve only read once or twice, a refresher can help you in the small discussions.
But there are SO MANY VERSIONS of the book! Which one do I read?
You’re right, there are a bajillion editions — and you can get a free e-version on the Gutenberg Project site. But the program will use the Penguin Classic edition (pictured here) in its discussions for ease of reference. So if, say, someone cites a page or chapter number, we can all be on the same page, literally. But feel free to read whatever version you’re comfortable with.
Anything else I should read?
We’ve got a couple of supplementary readings, which you can find here.
There’s a ball? Um, I can’t dance like they do in “Mansfield Park” and “Pride & Prejudice”!
Bring your dancing shoes anyway: There are dance lessons during the program, so by the time the ball rolls around you’ll be ready to hit the dance floor. It’s a great way to meet fellow participants. And don’t worry, you won’t be the only one in need of lessons. Plenty of folks will be on equal, uh, footing. And during the ball, you can play whist or people-watch if you don’t feel like dancing.
Do I have to dress up in Regency wear for the ball?
Definitely not. While some attendees dress in Regency wear, it’s not required. A nice outfit you can move in is the best option. And if you do want to dress up, remember what costume designer and professor Jade Bettin said: “Don’t worry if every little detail isn’t historically accurate! Just capture the essence of it and have fun.”
What’s in this silent auction?
There are always fun Jane Austen items; previous years’ auctions included DVDs, books, tea, etc. The silent auction benefits our teacher scholarships, so make sure to bid!
I heard from a friend you’re in a new location this year, is that right?
Yup, this year we’re at the newly constructed Hampton Inn-Chapel Hill/Carrboro, 370 E Main St #100, Carrboro, N.C. It’s right in the middle of Carrboro, which has great restaurants and boutiques nearby, plus grocery stores just walk away. Plus there’s free parking there, whether you’re staying at the hotel or not.
But there are events at other locations? How do you get to those?
We plan to carpool or shuttle attendees to the UNC campus to see our exhibits and for our ball. Here’s more parking info.
I’m a returning attendee. What’s new this year?
Besides our new location, we’ve got some new activities, including a mixer and a pub crawl. Plus, this year we’ll have an emporium!
Tell me more about this emporium…
We’re aiming to have a number of vendors available this year with a variety of Austen/Regency-related items for sale. We’ll have more info for you later on that!
Okay, so I think I am interested in coming! What are the important dates to keep in mind?
Yay, we can’t way to see you! Here’s what you need to know: We’ve extended early-bird registration to March 31. That gives you a few more days to sign up at our one-time discount price. Remember, starting April 1, the price goes up, so you’ll want to take advantage of our early-bird discount now. [REGISTER HERE]
If you’re a teacher, our deadline to apply for scholarships is April 4, and we’ll announce winners April 15.
Got a question not listed here? Leave it in the comments!