UTK Celebrates AustenFest April 5-7

This week, April 5-7, The UT AuthorFest series presents the long-anticipated AustenFest, a three-day celebration of the work and the Regency world of Jane Austen, whose characters, including Elizabeth Bennett, Mr. Darcy, Emma Woodhouse, and Catherine Moreland, are among the most beloved in English literature.

AustenFest events will range from public lectures by Austen scholars Peter Sabor (McGill University) and Devoney Looser (Arizona State University), to a marathon reading of Austen’s greatest scenes and a Regency Ball with English Country dancing and desserts.

Although the festival itself will occur from April 5-7, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville campus has participated in Austen-related activities throughout the semester. In February and March, the Clarence Brown Theatre presented Susanna Centlivre’s The Busy Body , a 1709 comedy by a playwright Austen loved. First editions of Austen’s works and related items from UT’s Special Collections will also continue to be on display in Hodges Library throughout the month of April.

All events are free and open to the public, unless otherwise noted.
AustenFest Poster

AustenFest Event Schedule

Sunday, April 2

Wednesday, April 5

  • 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM: Film screening of Emma
    L&N STEM Academy Lawn
    401 Henley St, Knoxville, TN 37902
    Reading tent and old-fashioned games for children. Seating provided, parking available in the lower KMA lot, free admission, concessions available for a modest price.

Thursday, April 6

All events will take place in the John C. Hodges Library
(Parking available in Volunteer Hall 1525 White Ave.)

  • 3:30 PM: Austen Special Collections Presentation
    Chris Caldwell, Humanities Librarian
    Special Collections
  • 4 PM: Public Lecture: “Jane Austen and the Common Reader: Contemporary Responses to Emma
    Peter Sabor, Professor
    Department of English at McGill University
    Lindsay Young Auditorium
  • 4:45 PM: Announcement of essay contest winners
  • 5:00 PM: Afternoon tea
    Jack Reese Galleria, Hodges Library (RSVP online)

Friday, April 7

  • 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM and 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM Tea Blending Workshops with Julia Matson of Bingley’s Teas
    The tea blending workshops cost $25 (to be paid during the workshop), and places must be reserved in advance.  These are limited to 25 people per session. (RSVP Online).
  • 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM: Marathon reading of Jane Austen’s greatest scenes
    Lindsay Young Auditorium, Hodges Library
  • 4:00 PM: Public Lecture: “The Making of Jane Austen”
    Devoney Looser, Professor
    Department of English at Arizona State University
    McClung Tower, Room 1210
    (Parking available in Volunteer Hall 1525 White Ave.)
  • 7:30 PM: Regency Ball, with dance demonstrations, teaching, and English Country dancing and desserts for all (RSVP online)
    Southern Depot, 306 W Depot Ave, Knoxville, TN 37902

Ongoing events

  • Jane Austen Essay Contest – UPDATED
    Undergraduate DEADLINE March 15
    High School DEADLINE February 27 
  • April 3 to May 5, 2017
    Display of Jane Austen first editions and memorabilia
    Special Collections, John C. Hodges Library

For more information, please email, follow #AustenFest, or visit the Austenfest event page on UTK’s Department of English website.

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