Sitting with Jane 2017

Celebrating Basingstoke’s connection to a literary great!


Wild in Art and Destination Basingstoke, in association with Festival Place, are presenting Sitting With Jane to celebrate Jane Austen’s connections with Basingstoke and her birthplace, Steventon, as part of the 2017 global commemoration of the 200th anniversary of her death.

Artist Jane Veveris Callan has created the event’s inaugural BookBench, The House that Jane Built.

Artist Jane Veveris Callan has created the event’s inaugural BookBench, The House that Jane Built.

Jane Austen, one of the most enduringly famous novelists in the world, was born in Steventon, just a few miles from Basingstoke in north Hampshire. She lived there for more than half her life and the places, people and landscapes of the area had an enormous influence on her novels. She drafted Pride and Prejudice whilst living there. Incredibly, this local heritage is not well-known. The Sitting With Jane public art trail (from June – September 2017) is about to change this overlooked connection to a literary genius!

Wild in Art’s popular BookBench sculpture will form the 3D canvas for the artists’ designs – inviting trail-goers to admire the creativity, have a seat, contemplate Jane Austen, or simply take in the scenery and watch the world go by!  There will be 25 BookBenches in total, located in and around Basingstoke.

Regional artists with innovative designs, in any suitable medium, that are inspired by Jane Austen are invited to submit ideas by 1st December 2016.

Sitting With Jane is the first Wild in Art event to have a specific literary theme and Wild in Art’s Director, Sally-Ann Wilkinson said:

“We look forward to a wide range of designs and different interpretations of all aspects of Jane Austen’s important contribution to literature being brought to life and celebrated by artists. The BookBench sculpture offers artists the opportunity to tell Jane Austen’s stories visually; the characters, as well as her life, and to bring enjoyment to thousands of people from around the world.”

At the end of this high-profile event, the BookBenches will be auctioned to raise money for Ark Cancer Centre Charity.

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