September 20, 2016 – In New York City and Brooklyn in particular, there are several signs that fall is in the air: the kids are going back to school, the weather is starting to change, and the Brooklyn Book Festival is open for business.
Held this year on September 18 at the steps of the courthouse in Downtown Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Book Festival featured writers, publishers of all sizes, educational writing programs, literary societies, and bookstores from all over the city. The Brooklyn Book Festival is a bookworm’s waking dream, offering bibliophiles the chance to explore the many literary opportunities that only come together once a year. For the first time in three years, JASNA-NY made a triumphant return to the festival.
Led by program chair Kerri Spennicchia, members of JASNA-NY (myself included) volunteered throughout the day. In addition to selling books, DVDs, Christmas ornaments, a Jane Austen action figure, coffee mugs, and other Jane related memorabilia, we were there to sell JASNA and Jane to the masses.
While engaging with Janeites and would-be Janeites (and hopefully new members of JASNA), it was discovered the Jane is universally beloved. Her books, as many of us know, have a universal appeal. That universal appeal was loud and clear by the many visitors to the JASNA table. Many were excited to see JASNA, to purchase an item, and perhaps take the membership flier to learn more about the society.
As an active member of Juvenilia, I was excited to see a good amount of young people learning about the organization. All in all, it was a great day, and the turnout was more than satisfactory. I look forward to seeing new faces at the next meeting.
JASNA-NY is grateful to the many donors who supported our booth, including members Rachel Brownstein, Elizabeth DeMayo, Beverly Francis, Elinor Gipfel, Amanda Larrick, Meg Levin, Nili Olay, Valerie Peterson, and Samiha Matin.
Several authors also contributed copies of their books to enhance the selection of offerings at the JASNA-NY booth: Ada Bright & Cass Grafton (The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen), Melanie Stanford (Sway), Laura Hile (Darcy By Any Other Name), Abigail Reynolds (“Intermezzo: A Pride & Prejudice Variation”), S.J. Scheuermann (Say It Like Miss Austen: A Jane Austen Phrase Thesaurus), Monica Fairview, Georgina Young-Ellis (Elizabeth, Darcy, and Me), Caitlin Williams (The Coming of Age of Elizabeth Bennet), Jennifer Becton (Holidays with Jane series), Dori Salois (Mrs. Bennet’s Sentiments), and Jessica Evans (The Muse: A Pride and Prejudice Variation).
JASNA-NY’s booth was also filled with selections from corporate donors. Penguin Classics supplied copies of Classic Penguin: Cover to Cover and Emma: 200th-Anniversary Annotated Edition along with Penguin Classics Pride and Prejudice mugs and Penguin Classics Pride and Prejudice notebooks. Random House Books for Young Readers shared Darcy Swipes Left while Doubleday Books for Young Readers provided copies of Pride and Prejudice: A Coloring Classic. Also on hand were wares from NovelTeas and William & Jane’s Jane Austen Pantins. Rounding out the books available were The Jane Austen Writers’ Club from Bloomsbury USA and The Bad Miss Bennet, published by Pegasus Books.
A sincere thank you to our volunteers—Adina Bernstein, Amanda Forker, Amee Shah, Caitlyn Sellar, Cathy Kawalek, Hanane Dbajat, Kathleen Flynn, Mary C M Phillips, and Monica Alverez—and to Kerri Spennicchia for leading the charge to ‘talk Jane.’
– Adina Bernstein
Photo courtesy of Amanda Forker.