Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Jane Austen Literacy Foundation Birthday!

On October 30th the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation celebrated their first birthday. Below is a copy of the newsletter I received from the Foundation. It gives much information on the success of their first year. I do hope you will take a few minutes to look over this newsletter and read about all the wonderful projects that are helping to 'create confident readers and proud writers in honour of Jane'.

I want to share a picture of the bookplate I received by taking part in the Bookplate program.  I have mine in the hardbound Annotated Edition of Pride and Prejudice published by Harvard University Press in 2010. These are such special keepsakes for a prized book.

My eleven year granddaughter wanted to donate to the foundation so she could help other children learn to read and write. She is an avid reader herself and already a big fan of Jane Austen.  She is so excited to have her very own bookplate and is planning to put it in her hardbound copy of Pride and Prejudice as soon as the book arrives. 

There is a link to the Bookplate program here and below in the Bookplate information section for any of you interested in getting your own bookplate.


My version of the newsletter is not nearly so nicely done as the original but I was unable to post the original in Blogger. You may click on the JALF Website link if you prefer to read their website version of the newsletter there. 

Jane Austen Literacy Foundation

On 30th October 1811, Jane Austen published her first novel Sense & Sensibility. On 30th October last year, we published our website and the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation was born. 

Our First Birthday

The first 12 months have been exciting to say the least, with thousands of pounds and dollars raised by scores of volunteers across multiple countries.

First and foremost, thanks to the generosity of our donors, we have been able to fund FREE reading and writing materials to children in need, both in Syria and in remote indigenous Australia.

These supplies are vital in supporting literacy development in our most vulnerable communities and we would like to thank both UNICEF and ALNF for making sure the money we raise is helping to create Confident Readers and Proud Writers, in honour of Jane.

Reading and writing are essential skills for those who want to understand, enjoy and influence the world around them.

Literacy is the key to self-improvement and unlocking potential.

The Jane Austen Literacy Foundation was the brainchild of Jane’s fifth great niece, Caroline Jane Knight, who was raised in Chawton, where Jane herself lived and wrote her most famous novels.  Jane’s works are out of copyright and free for all to enjoy.  Jane’s legacy continues to grow as we reach the bicentenary of Jane’s death in 2017.  

The foundation aims to raise money to provide FREE reading and writing resources to communities in need, in honour of Jane. If you have ever enjoyed, been inspired by or gained from Jane Austen and her writing, please support the foundation in her honour.

Our Ambassadors

We have been honoured to have the support of our Ambassadors, who have helped promote the foundation within the Jane Austen community and raise vital funds for JALF.  We would sincerely like to thank Simon Langton, Sophie Andrews, Jane Odiwe, and Amanda Jacobs for supporting our organisation.


A number of events have been held throughout the year to raise money for the foundation.

The High Tea for Literacy events were a major highlight, with a talk by our founder Caroline proving so popular, we had to stage the event twice!  We were thrilled to be joined by JALF Ambassador Amanda Jacobs, who came from the USA to join us in Melbourne.

A feature of the high tea was an original recipe by close Austen friend, Martha Lloyd, who lived with the Austen ladies at Chawton Cottage, now known as Jane Austen’s House Museum.  Martha Lloyd was a well-regarded cook, and her cheesecakes were proudly presented as part of the afternoon’s fare.  Funds were raised through ticket sales, donations, raffles and from the sale of the popular 'Martha’s Cheesecakes'.

In May, we were delighted to be invited to attend the 15th annual Simultaneous Storytime, featuring ‘The Brothers Quibble’ read by author Aaron Blabey at the Royal Children’s Hospital.

Our newest Ambassador, Sophie Andrews (aka blogger ‘Laughing with Lizzie’) held a delicious afternoon tea party to raise funds for the foundation with donations and a raffle.  This event was held during the annual Jane Austen Festival in Bath, at 4 Sydney Place, where Jane Austen lived from 1801-1805. (The location was kindly donated by Bath Boutique Stays). Our founder, Caroline Jane Knight announced Sophie’s ambassadorship during the tea party, and a short video about the event was seen by thousands on social media.


The Jane Austen Literacy Foundation Room was opened at the Austen Tea Rooms in Melbourne, giving visitors a chance to engage with the foundation and help support fundraising efforts.


Bookplate Program

In September, we launched the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation Bookplate Program, giving each and every donor their very own personalised bookplate, complete with their name written in Jane’s handwriting. We have been delighted to see JALF bookplates in some very special hands during this 20th year anniversary of the BBC's iconic television production of ‘Pride & Prejudice’.

Ambassador Simon Langton,                               Susannah Harker, aka Jane Bennet
Director Pride & Prejudice 1995                          Pride & Prejudice 1995, with Ambassador
                                                                                Sophie Andrews, aka Laughing with Lizzie

We were thrilled to see the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation bookplate featured in the ongoing Facebook story of Elizabeth Bennet Darcy, attracting over 23,000 readers, in which Jane Austen herself gave Lizzy a first edition of Sense & Sensibility, complete with her own bookplate.


It was wonderful to see the resources that Janeites have funded being delivered, complete with a JALF bookplate. Together we have the power to make a real difference.

You can receive your own personalised bookplate by making a donation here.

Our Team

All of this would not be possible without our network of passionate Volunteers. To you, we are grateful and we thank you for your support.  

We would also like to thank our Board, who give freely of their time and expertise, helping us to grow into a strong, vibrant and trusted foundation globally.  You can meet these talented individuals by going to the 'Our Board' page on our website.

Some of the Board members of the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation.

Finally, YOU can help us by donating, raising money for the foundation and spreading the word. The Jane Austen Literacy Foundation raises money to fund FREE reading and writing resources for communities in need, in honour of Jane. We are a registered, not-for-profit charity, run by volunteers. We are always looking for volunteers and pro-bono professional services.  If you have any special skills you would like to contribute, please contact us via

We have some big plans coming up for our second year of operation.  So please 'like' our Facebook page, invite your friends to do the same, and you will be the first to hear our news and events.

Here’s to the future!

With many thanks,

Caroline and Amanda

For the first birthday of the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation, I am giving away one 2016 Peacock Edition Calendar, Jane Austen Illustrated. The giveaway will end on the 24th of November at 11:59 PM. To be entered in the giveaway, you need to leave your contact information and tell me something that impresses you about the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation or one of their projects for the past year. I want to hear your share in the conversation on this worthy endeavor and its first year. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you will consider helping to make a difference.


  1. Such a great endeavor! I'm sure Jane would be proud to have her name on this outstanding organization. Thanks for giving us all this info, Janet, and tell your sweet Emily she looks adorable!

    1. Thank you, Jan, for stopping by. I think that Jane would be proud too. I will tell Emily and I know she will be thrilled with your compliment. You know I agree completely!

  2. It's neat to see the Tea Parties and the launch programs, but what really touches me is to see the books and learning tools in the hands of the children. Thanks for sharing this with us, Janet! That's great that your granddaughter is learning early the importance of literacy.

    sophiarose1816 at gmail dot com

    1. Isn't it touching to see those books being held by the children and then seeing the huge smiles on their faces! I hope this foundation has much success. I am happy that my granddaughter loves to read so much and loves Jane Austen. It is a neat thing to share with her. Thanks, Sophia, for stopping by.

  3. Such a wonderful program in our dear Jane's name! So appropriate!
    cherringtonmb at sbcglobal dot net

  4. I love the tea parties organised by the foundation. Anything with food always get my attention. I've heard of Sophie Andrews's work but would like to know more about the other three ambassadors' contribution to the program like what exactly they do to help promote reading and literacy besides attending the parties and giving talks and speeches.


    1. That tea party did look fantastic, didn't it Sylvia. I would have liked to sample some of those goodies. Jane Odiwe is donating sales of one of her books to the foundation. You might check her website for more info. I do not have info for the other two. I will get the link to you if you are interested in reading about it.

    2. I just read the announcement on Jane Odiwe's blog on Monday. Thanks for letting us know, Janet.

    3. You are welcome, Sylvia. Also, I know that Sophie had a raffle with prizes. The proceeds from the raffle went to the foundation. Sophie will also be having more giveaways and/or raffles to raise awareness and money for JALF.

  5. "Literacy is the key to self-improvement and unlocking potential". That quote says it all. For those unable to read and write, so many doors remain closed to them. This is a wonderful cause and worthwhile supporting.

    1. Oops, forgot to add email address, again!

      angmardee (at) hotmail (dot) com

    2. Thanks, Anji. I liked what you chose to quote and you are so right! I cannot imagine being unable to read and write. This is a very worthy cause and one I hope to continue to support.