JASNA St. Louis Programs


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The Metropolitan St. Louis Region enjoys exploring not only the works of Jane Austen, but also her life and times. We work hard to bring educational and diversified programs to our members and the public. As always, there is the “company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation” at each of our gatherings, whether in person or virtual.


We have official quarterly meetings:

  • March and September – speaker presentations
    • Literary in nature (often presented by a professor or another academic)
    • A special area of interest to JASNA members
    • Open to the public
  • June (members and their guests) – often a book review or discussion or another topic delivered by one of our region members
  • December (members and their guests) – a birthday celebration for Jane Austen – mostly light and entertaining in nature, also delivered by one of our region members

JASNA members also meet for virtual presentations and book or film discussions.


Past Programs

Learn more about programs and topics we have covered in previous years.

2022 Past Events

  • February 26. Book Discussion: Joanna Trollope’s Sense and Sensibility: A Novel. Hosted by Ellen Kunkelmann. Virtual.
  • March 5. Tour of Jane Austen’s House at Chawton Cottage. Hosted by Jane Austen’s House. Virtual.
  • April 30.Sanditon, Bridgerton, and David Copperfield: Modernizing the Representation of Black People in 18th- and 19th-Century England.” Presented by Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina (North American Friends of Chawton House speaker series). Virtual.
  • June 4. Picnic luncheon in Forest Park, plus Sense and Sensibility Discussion. Presented by Sheila Hwang. In person.

2021 Past Events

  • February 20. What Kitty Did Next Book Discussion. Hosted by Christine Rosica-Smith. Virtual.
  • March 27. “What Jane Saw.” Presented by Anastasia Biermann, Kathie Bassett, and Ellen Kunkelmann. Virtual.
  • June 5. “Just Plain Jane: What Did Jane Read?” and “Jane’s Greatest Reader Contest.” Presented by Bettye Dew and an ensemble cast. Virtual.
  • July 18. “The Lady’s Magazine and the Making of Jane Austen.” Presented by Jennie Batchelor (North American Friends of Chawton House speaker series). Virtual.
  • September 26. “What Jane Heard.” Presented by Rose Nester. Virtual.
  • October 23.Ayesha at Last: Remixing Pride and Prejudice.” Presented by Uzma Jalaluddin (North American Friends of Chawton House speaker series). Virtual.
  • December 4. “JASNA-STL Presents Our 40th Anniversary Celebration.” Presentation by Founding Members Phyllis Thorpe, Nancy Kaprelian, Cathy Reilly, and Bettye Dew. Virtual.

2020 Past Events

2019 Past Events

2018 Past Events


2017 Past Events 

  • February 26. University City Library. Curtis Sittenfield discussed her book Eligible, her updating of Pride and Prejudice. A University City Library event to which Region Members were invited.
  • March 26. “Leadership Skills of Lizzie Bennett (and Others).” Presented by Robert Mai. University City Library. Open to the public.
  • May 19. Region members attended First Impressions, an adaptation of Pride and Prejudice by the Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble.
  • June 3. “Music from Jane Austen’s Time.” Elaine Pontious (harp) and Rose Marie Nester (vocals) offered selections from the era, plus music Austen copied into her own songbooks. Members only.
  • June 6. At Oasis, a lifelong learning program for adults ages 50 and over, Region member Sheila Hwang, associate professor of English at Webster University, taught a class on the card game Speculation. JASNA St. Louis members and other class members learned to play this game, as well as how Austen used this game in Mansfield Park to reveal the inner workings and motivations of her characters.
  • September 22. Our regular fall meeting. Lunch at and a tour of the historic Oakland House.
  • November 16. Members were invited to hear Curtis Sittenfeld read and discuss Eligible at Webster University.
  • December 3. Members were invited to attend the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis’ production of Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, a play that seeks to answer this question: “Will Mary Bennet find romance and love during a Christmas visit to Pemberley?” Some three dozen Region members planned to attend this production.
  • December 9. Annual Austen Birthday Luncheon at the Gatesworth. Members only.

2016 Past Events

  • March 13. “Highbury and Cranford: Food and Community.” Presented by Sheila Hwang, PhD, and Jennifer Frangos, PhD, both of Webster University.  Slideshow presentation comparing food, settings, and company in Emma’s Highbury and Mary Gaskell’s Cranford. Webster University’s Pearson House. Open to the public.
  • April 23. “A Facilitated Conversation.” Presented by Bob Mai. Buder Library. Open to the public.
  • June 4. Summer Luncheon at the Gatesworth. “Bending Little Minds: Harriet Smith and Henrietta Belfield.” Presented by members of JASNA St. Louis. Members only.
  • Sept. 17. “Readings from Emma” at the Tavern of Fine Arts. Optional lunch was at 11am. Program was from 1pm–3pm. Open to the public.
  • Dec. 10. Annual Austen Birthday Luncheon at the Gatesworth. “A Partial Knowledge of Circumstances”: Chapter XIII: Christmas Scenes in Emma.” Presented by Bettye Dew. Members only.

2015 Past Events

  • April 26. “The Material World of Jane Austen’s Time.” Presented by Anne Woodhouse, PhD, Curator of Domestic Life, Missouri Historical Society. Slideshow presentation. University City Public Library. Open to the public.
  • June 6.  Summer Luncheon. “Information Leads to Inspiration.” Presented by author Kara Louise. Members only.
  • September 26. “Jane Austen’s Portsmouth.” Presented by Toby Benis, PhD, Professor, Department of English, Saint Louis University.  Slideshow. University Public Library. Open to the public.
  • December 12.  Annual Austen Birthday Luncheon at the Gatesworth. Games led by Lynn Fields and Bettye Dew. Members only.

2014 Past Events

  • March 29. “Reading Mansfield Park.” Lunch at Tavern of Fine Arts from 11am to 3pm. Open to the public.
  • June 7. Summer Luncheon. “What Was Fanny Reading? Exploring Fanny’s Reading List.” Members only.
  • September 27. “Did Jane Austen Prefer a Plain Dish to a Ragout?” Presented by Julienne Gehrer, Regional Coordinator, JASNA Kansas City. University City Library. Open to the public.
  • December 13. Annual Austen Birthday Luncheon at the Gatesworth. Members only.

2013 Past Events

  • February 24. Sense and Sensibility. Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Virginia Jackson Browning Mainstage Theatre in Webster Groves. Open to the public.
  • June 1. Summer Luncheon and Book Review. Presented by Rose Nester. Members only.
  • September 14. “Jane Austen, Publisher: Writing Herself into Money and Longing for More.” Presented by Liz Cooper, JASNA Wisconsin Region member. University City Library. Open to the public.
  • December 14. Annual Austen Birthday Luncheon at the Gatesworth. Members only.

2012 Past Events

  • March 11.Sense and Sensibility as Austen’s Problem Novel.” Presented by Joan Klingel Ray, PhD, Professor of English and President’s Teaching Scholar, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. University City Library. Open to the public.
  • June 2. Summer Luncheon and Book Review. Members only.
  • September 23. “Opposites (Don’t) Attract: Same-Sex Desire in Austen’s Novels and Heritage Cinema.” Presented by Toby Ruth Benis, PhD, Professor of English, Saint Louis University. University City Public Library. Open to the public.
  • December 15. Annual Austen Birthday Luncheon at the Gatesworth. Members only.

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