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In 2005, members of the Jane Austen Society and the Jane Austen Society of North America held a conference in Halifax under the motif 'Hands across the Sea' to celebrate the connections of Jane Austen's family with Halifax, in particular the sailor brothers, Francis and Charles. The meeting was a great success and many have requested that a similar conference should be held. Details of the programme proposed for June 2017 are given here.

The conference (limited to 80 participants) is organised by 'Perram Events', managed by Patrick Stokes. Distinguished lecturers including

Professor John Mullan
Professor Peter Sabor
Dr Cheryl Kinney
Dr Sarah Emsley and
Sheila Kindred

Charles Austen

Charles Austen,
as Post-Captain

will join us for the whole week, and we will look at Jane Austen's life and writings from a transatlantic perspective, as well as examining the naval historical influences resulting from the stationing in the North Atlantic at different times of both of Jane's sailor brothers, Charles and Francis. We will also be taking stock of this being the 200th anniversary year of Jane's death and also the 200th anniversary of the publication of Persuasion, in which novel Jane's naval knowledge and understanding featured so prominently.

Charles Austen was in the North Atlantic from 1805 to 1810 in his first command, HMS Indian, an 18-gun sloop built in Bermuda. In 1826 he was once again on this station as Captain of HMS Aurora.

Francis Austen, elder brother of Charles, was Commander-in-Chief North Atlantic and West Indies Station with his flagship HMS Vindictive, based at Halifax and Bermuda, from 1845 to 1848.

Halifax is rich in connections with Jane's naval brothers including Admiralty House (now the Maritime Command Museum), one-time residence of Francis Austen, and Government House (opened in 1805). A reception will be held there for us by the Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia.

The opportunity will be taken during the conference to explore and understand the history and importance of Halifax and Nova Scotia against the backdrop of Jane Austen's sailor brothers' associations with it. It provides the perfect location for the conference.

Included in the programme will be a visit to the Grand-Pre National Historic Site, a park set aside to commemorate the Grand-Pre area of Nova Scotia as a centre of Acadian settlement from 1682 to 1755. We will also explore the famous vineyards in that part of the province.

Francis Austen

Francis Austen
as Admiral of the Fleet