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JASP 2021 Speakers

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* Denotes keynote speaker

Janine Barchas*


Janine Barchas is the Louann and Larry Temple Centennial Professor in English Literature at the University of Texas at Austin. After receiving a B.A. from Stanford University and a PhD from the University of Chicago, her book "Graphic Design, Print Culture, and the Eighteenth-Century Novel" (2003) won the SHARP prize for the best work in the field of book history. Her next book was "Matters of Fact in Jane Austen: History, Location, and Celebrity" (2012). Barchas’s latest, "The Lost Books of Jane Austen" (2019), looks at Austen’s legacy through her numerous reprintings and cheap editions. Barchas also curated several exhibitions on Austen: including the online
re-creation of two Georgian-era blockbusters at “What Jane Saw.

R.B. Bartgis


R.B. Bartgis is a conservator technician with a background in book conservation and exhibits, based in Washington, D.C. Outside of their career in conservation, Bartgis completed a Certificate of Profiency from Rare Book School at the University of Virginia in 2019, and since 2016 has lectured and taught on the material culture of literacy in the long 18th century, as well as leading living history programs and training museum professionals and graduate students in pen cutting and historic penmanship.

Jennie Batchelor 


Jennie Batchelor is a professor of 18th-century studies at the University of Kent. Prior to joining Kent in 2004, she was the inaugural Postdoctoral Fellow at Chawton House Library. Batchelor is the author of six books and many articles and book chapters on 18th-century women's writing and labour, periodicals, dress, needlework and the female body. Her recent publications include (with Nush Powell) “Women's Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain, 1690s-1820s” (Edinburgh University Press, 2018) and the history-craft book, “Jane Austen Embroidery” (2020), co-devised with Alison Larkin. “Jane Austen Embroidery” emerged from Batchelor’s ongoing research on the incredibly popular and influential Lady's Magazine (1770-1832) and her serendipitous discovery of initially six, and then dozens more, presumed lost needlework patterns from the periodical more than a decade after she started her search for them. Jennie has appeared on the New Statesman’s “Hidden Histories” podcast, BBC Radio 4, and was interviewed for Lucy Worsley’s “Jane Austen: Behind Closed Doors.” She is patron of the Kent branch of the Jane Austen Society, UK.

Samantha Bullat


Samantha Bullat is a tailor for the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation in Williamsburg, Va., researching and creating historical clothing from the 17th and 18th centuries for historical interpreters for the foundation. In 2018 she joined the team at Burnley & Trowbridge Company, which specializes in providing textiles, notions and accessories for historical clothing. She is the author of the blog The Couture Courtesan.  

Susannah Fullerton


Susannah Fullerton has been president of the Jane Austen Society of Australia for more than 25 years. She is the author of several books about Jane Austen, including “Jane Austen and Crime,” “Happily Ever After: Celebration Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice” and “A Dance with Jane Austen.” She has spoken often at JASNA conferences and around the world. Susannah leads literary tours to the United Kingdom, the United States and Europe (in non-Covid times). She also publishes a free monthly newsletter, “Notes from a Book Addict,” which you can sign up for on her website.

Jocelyn Harris


Professor emerita Jocelyn Harris, CNZM, Ordre du mérite, gained her PhD from the University of London in 1968, then taught in the Department of English at the University of Otago, New Zealand. In 1971, she published a fully annotated edition of Samuel Richardson's seven-volume novel “Sir Charles Grandison,” and in 1986, “Samuel Richardson.” Since then, Harris has turned her attention to his most famous fan in “Jane Austen's Art of Memory” (1989), “A Revolution Almost Beyond Expression: Jane Austen's 'Persuasion'” (2007), and “Satire, Celebrity, and Politics in Jane Austen” (2017). Until the pandemic, she spoke frequently at the Jane Austen Society of North America events and elsewhere, including the Jane Austen Summer Program, but covid can’t stop her reading, writing, publishing, Zooming into virtual conferences, and dressing up as Dolly Parton to introduce “Rock Stars of the Regency” at JASNA’s 2020 virtual annual general meeting.

KC Hysmith


KC Hysmith is a PhD candidate pursuing a doctoral degree in American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her academic research focuses on historical foodways and its relation to our modern consumption patterns and attitudes toward food, gender, and digital media. Her dissertation looks at how women use food as a means of resistance to disenfranchisement from the era of suffrage to our current digital age of #foodherstory (find some of her recent work on TikTok: @foodherstory). She has an academic and professional background in food writing, food photography, recipe testing, and research, focusing on topics such as political food movements, historical cookbooks, and transnational foodways. You can find more of her work online at and on Twitter and Instagram @kchysmith.

Soniah Kamal


Soniah Kamal​ ​is an award-winning novelist, essayist and public speaker. Her novel,​ “Unmarriageable” was ​a 2019 Financial Times Readers’ Best Book Pick, a People’s Magazine Pick, a Library Reads Pick and Austenproses’s “dream retelling.” Publisher’s Weekly’s starred review said, “If Jane Austen lived in modern day Pakistan, this is the version of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ she might have written,” and Jane Austen Books declared it the store’s “favorite retelling.” Kamal gave a TEDx talk on redefining dreams and speaks frequently on writing, immigration, post-colonialism, and Jane Austen. She delivered the keynote address at 2020 Jane Austen Festival, was a plenary speaker at the Jane Austen Society of North America’s 2020 annual general meeting, and is a frequent guest speaker at JASNA chapters nationally. Kamal’s work appears in critically acclaimed anthologies and publications including The New York Times, Buzzfeed, Catapult, The Georgia Review and more.

Sarah Rose Kearns

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Sarah Rose Kearns is a writer, performer, and lifelong Jane Austen enthusiast. She studied acting with Dan Daily, Ragnar Freidank, Austin Pendleton, and many others; and she holds a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Columbia University. Her stage adaptation of “Persuasion” (which she discussed in an adaptations panel at the 2017 Jane Austen Summer Program) will debut off-Broadway in New York City when theaters reopen, directed by Eric Tucker for his company Bedlam. In summer 2022, Rose will travel to Chawton as the JASNA International Visitor; there, she will conduct research for another biographical play about the Austen sisters. To learn more about Kearns, visit and find her on Twitter: @Persuasion_JA.

Mary Robinette Kowal*


Mary Robinette Kowal’s historical short stories and novels have earned her numerous awards for excellence in science fiction and fantasy. Set in a Regency England in which magic is an essential accomplishment for a lady, her 2010 novel “Shades of Milk and Honey” (the first in her “Glamourist Histories” series) was nominated for a Nebula Award for Best Novel. Her 2018 book “The Calculating Stars,” about “lady astronauts” in the 1950s, is one of only 18 novels to win Hugo, Nebula and Locus awards in a single year. Kowal’s other novels include “Ghost Talkers,” a supernatural tale set in World War I, and “The Fated Sky,” her follow-up to “The Calculating Stars.” Kowal is also a professional puppeteer and voice actor. 

Adam McCune


Adam F McCune has taught at Baylor University and worked on digital humanities projects such as the William Blake Archive and Jane Austen’s Desk. In addition to writing academic articles, he has co-written “The Rats of Hamelin” (a young adult fantasy novel), reads classic poems aloud on YouTube, and adapts Jane Austen for the stage each year for the Jane Austen Summer Program.

Blanche McCune 


Blanche Conger McCune is an instructor in classics at the College of Charleston and teaches both Latin language courses and courses on Greek and Roman literature and civilization. Her research and publications focus on the Roman poet Horace and Latin pedagogy. For many years she has also overseen the staging, set design, and costumes for the Jane Austen Summer Program’s theatricals.

Robert Morrison*


Specializing in 19th-century British literature and culture, Robert Morrison is the British Academy Global Professor at Bath Spa University in Bath, England, and a Queen’s National Scholar at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. His 2009 book “The English Opium-Eater: A Biography of Thomas De Quincey” was short-listed for the James Tait Black Prize for biography. In 2011, Morrison annotated an edition of Jane Austen’s “Persuasion” for the Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

The Economist listed Morrison’s latest book, “The Regency Years, During Which Jane Austen Writes, Napoleon Fights, Byron Makes Love, and Britain Becomes Modern,” as one of its Books of the Year. “The Regency Years” also was longlisted for the RBC Taylor Prize, Canada’s most prestigious award for nonfiction. In addition it was shortlisted for the Historical Writers’ Association Non-Fiction Crown Award.

Damianne Candice Scott

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Damianne Candice Scott (Dami) teaches English composition at University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College and Cincinnati  State Technical and Community College. Scott graduated from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she earned a BA and MA in English, and, more important, garnered her love for Jane Austen after her beloved high school English teacher declared that Austen was too sappy for a person who loved reading Thomas Hardy. After many years of having to defend her love of Austen and other Regency and Victorian authors, Dami decided to create a Facebook Page dedicated to her beloved Jane, and to the idea that it was perfectly wonderful to be an African American woman who loves Austen novels.  Black Girl Loves Jane (BGLJ), therefore, was born in 2018.  Since then, Dami has become a member of the Jane Austen Society North America, has gained over 800 followers through her BGLJ page, has been a guest speaker for Jane Austen Society of India, has participated as a panelist for the Virtual Teel House Regency Retreat this past January, and, and has become more evolved into the pure mission of celebrating and encouraging diversity in Austen, and other classic literature in whatever variation fashioned, including Dami’s first novel, "Persuaded," aimed to be published in late 2021. You can check out her page, Black Girl Loves Jane, on Facebook.

Jasmine A. Stirling


Jasmine A. Stirling lives in San Francisco with her husband, two daughters and their dog. From a young age, she loved to write poems and stories and worked her way through nearly every children’s book (and quite a few for grownups, too) in her local library. Jasmine first fell in love with Jane Austen as a student at Oxford, where she read her favorite of Jane’s six masterful novels, "Persuasion." "A Most Clever Girl" is her first book. Visit her at and follow her on Instagram, where she posts about kidlit and life with two young girls.

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