Boyle Library Library hosting ‘Jane in July’ events to honor author Austen

The life and works of Jane Austen will be celebrated this month at the Boyle County Public Library, in honor of the 200th anniversary of her death.  

The first event will be the film “Sense and Sensibility,” shown at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, with an introduction by Centre College film professor Stacey L. Peebles.

Austen, who lived from 1775-1817, had six published novels set in early 19th century England. Her stories have been turned into countless movies, stage adaptations, musicals and TV shows. 

Jane in July events will be held throughout the month, and include a tea on Sunday, July 9, where Bruce Richardson will explain the role tea played in Austen’s life and stories. 

“Emily Clark is a local artist and has always been a big Jane Austen fan,” Sarah Vahlkamp, library board member, said. A few years ago, Vahlkamp said Clark took a trip to England where she photographed Austen’s tomb in Winchester Cathedral. 

“She came home and created a beautiful panting of the tomb, and she’s willing to donate it to the library,” Vahlkamp said. An unveiling will be held during the tea, as well as a special presentation by Bruce Richardson about the importance of tea in Austen’s time and stories. 

There will be an informal group, calling themselves the Not-Ready-For-Primetime Players, serving as the characters Mr. and Mrs Bennet from “Pride and Prejudice.” Participants in the tea will also hear what writers as diverse as Virginia Woolf and Mark Twain think about Austen. 

“Emily is really the one who alerted me and Betsy Wilt, who is president of the board of trustees, to the anniversary of Austen’s death,” Vahlkamp said. So they presented an idea to the library, who bought in. 

“Turns out there are many, many Austen fans out there,” Vahlkamp said. She said they’ve had an excellent response so far. One of the library’s book clubs just finished reading “Pride and Prejudice” and two other clubs are reading it now and planning to come to the events.

Vahlkamp said she feels anyone from any walk of life could learn something from any one of Austin’s books. 

 “Her particular viewpoints on life, love and relationships cross cultural boundaries,” Vahlkamp said. “Her viewpoints highlight the difficulties of women achieving independence in society.” 

The rest of the series’ schedule is:

• 3 p.m. Sunday, July 9 — Tea with Jane and Friends: Participants may bring a favorite tea cup and saucer, if they wish, to drink tea provided by Elmwood Inn Fine Teas and hear a presentation by Bruce Richardson. 

• 6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 13 — The film “Pride and Prejudice” will be shown.

• 3 p.m. Sunday, July 16 — A book discussion on “Pride and Prejudice” will be led by Centre College English professors Helen Emmitt and John Kinkade. Multiple copies of the book are available at the library’s circulation desk. 

• 6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 20 — The film “Emma” will be shown.

• 6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 27 — The film “Becoming Jane” will be shown.