The Jane Austen Centre has declared Dec. 16 Jane Austen Day. Austen, the beloved novelist, was born on Dec. 16, 1775, in Hampshire, England.
The Jane Austen Centre, in Bath, hosts the annual Jane Austen Festival. This year it's expanding its celebration of all things Austen with the new Jane Austen Day as an unofficial, worldwide, social-networked event.
Austen fans across the globe are already making plans. In Canberra, Australia, there will be a brunch; in Nova Scotia, lunch; and fans in the Ukraine and Idaho will be gathering for tea. In Colorado, they'll be trying out a Regency-era costume ball.
Of course, not everyone has Regency garb or a Mr. Darcy at hand. For the more casual fans of Jane Austen, the easiest way to celebrate her birthday on Dec. 16 is to read (or re-read) one of her books: "Sense and Sensibility" "Pride and Prejudice," "Emma," "Mansfield Park," "Northanger Abbey" or "Persuasion." Print editions of the books are widely available, and now even Austen's original handwritten manuscripts are online.
A spokesperson for the Jane Austen center said in a release, "The Jane Austen Centre is pleased to be part of what is sure to be a wonderful day for the worldwide Austen community and it is fantastic Jane now has a day in her honour, so reflecting her status as one of the world's greatest ever writers."