Dancing with Mr Darcy and Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice Question 16
(a collection of short stories inspired by Jane Austen and Chawton House)
Yesterday I attended the launch of Dancing with Mr Darcy at "London's most famous bookshop," which is... Foyles, of course (established 1903). Before the event, I met up with fellow author Jane Odiwe (Lydia Bennet's Story and soon to be released Willoughby's Return) in Leicester Square. I really enjoyed comparing notes and discussing our reasons for choosing less popular characters in Jane Austen's cannon to write about.
We sauntered down full-of-life Charing Cross Road, narrowly avoiding being run over by the abundant bicycle rickshaws (pedicabs) on our way to Foyles. I couldn't help reimagining the scene in my mind, with the rickshaw runners carrying ladies to the theatre or a ball amidst the bustle of carriages instead of cars.
At the entrance to the Gallery at Foyles we were met by Helena Earnshaw, from Honno, the Welsh publishers of the book, and, wine glasses in hand, Jane (Odiwe, not Austen) and I took our seats.
Award winning author Sarah Waters talked to us about the judging process and her rather tough criteria for selecting the entries (I have to say I was quite intimidated), and introduced the winner of the competition, Victoria Owens.
An excerpt from the winning short story followed, with Victoria giving us a wonderfully dramatized reading of Jane Austen being judged in the afterworld (no spoilers here) which revealed a quirky sense of humour and a wonderfully creative look at JA.
Afterwards, we got a chance to take photos of a number of the authors with stories in Dancing with Mr Darcy.
It was a lovely occasion, with a definite air of excitement prevailing around the room. I obtained signatures from a number of contributors as well as from Sarah Waters, and I also met Tom Carpenter, trustee of Chawton House. There's a picture of Tom with Jane Odiwe on her blog.
And now for the daily ritual:
Pride and Prejudice Question 16
Jane Austen has her share of youthful male villains, from Willoughby (sorry, Jane!) to John Thorpe and Henry Crawford, though generally she tends to underplay their villainy. What do you think of Wickham as a villain? How is he presented?