New Jane Austen resources inspired by her teenage writings
Professor Kathryn Sutherland, a trustee at Jane Austen’s House, has worked with Palma Studio and students from RADA to create exciting online resources inspired by Jane Austen’s teenage writings. These writings, which Austen composed between the ages of 11 and 17, were often irreverent spoofs of the novels and school textbooks that formed her own education. Austen's teenage stories are also brilliant little exercises for understanding how fiction works and for launching new creative improvisations.
The Teenage Writings Hub, which features on the Jane Austen’s House website, includes an interactive writing game and short film adaptations and responses to Austen's stories. Visitors to the website can also access extracts from the original stories, which have been published by Oxford University Press. The project was funded by a grant from the Heritage Lottery.
Professor Sutherland is now working with the St Anne's Outreach Officer to promote the Teenage Writings site to 16-19-year-olds in state schools. Her aim is eventually to get these stories onto the school syllabus as they offer a fun, accessible, and creative way for teenagers to engage with Jane Austen’s writing. As Professor Sutherland writes in her introductory essay on the Teenage Writings site: “The teenage writings are little experiments in the art of the novel; they are also critical tools by which to open up and discover, in a different light, Austen’s six famous adult novels.”