Jane Austen lived and wrote 200 years ago, but her books are still avidly read and her plain life studied today. What is it about her novels and Jane herself that continue to fascinate readers? Danine Cozzens, co-chair of the Jane Austen Society, Northern California Region, will speak to this point at Word Week's A Celebration of Jane Austen. In addition, four local authors will read from some of Jane's finished work. New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors Cara Black and Mary McNear will read from Northanger Abbey and Pride and Prejudice, poet and novelist Marylee McNeal from Mansfield Park, and short story author Richard May from Persuasion. The event is free. Jane Austen inspired door prizes will be awarded, and Netherfield punch will be served. A free Word Week 2017 event www.facebook.com/Word-Week-314929538630095biographies:Danine Cozzens fell in love with Jane Austen while a graduate student in English at UC Berkeley. For the past 30 years Danine has pursued hands-on research into Regency era life, including music, food, dancing and costume. Her previous board stints include the Bay Area English Regency Society, the Greater Bay Area Costumers Guild, and the Art Deco Society of California. She currently serves as co-coordinator of the Northern California Region of the Jane Austen Society of North America. Cara Black is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of 16 books in the Private Investigator Aimée Leduc series set in Paris, beginning with Murder in the Marais (1999). Cara has received multiple nominations for the Anthony and Macavity Awards, a Washington Post Book World Book of the Year citation, and the Médaille de la Ville de Paris—the Paris City Medal. Her love of all things French was kindled by the French-speaking nuns at her Catholic high school, where Cara first encountered French literature and went crazy for the work of Prix Goncourt winner Romain Gary.Richard May writes short stories. His work has been published in his two short story collections Inhuman Beings and Ginger Snaps: Photos & Stories with photographer David Sweet, his short story series Gay All Year on Amazon Kindle, and numerous literary journals and anthologies like Never Too Late, Best Gay Erotica, and the Lambda Literary nominated Outer Voices Inner Lives. He first read Jane Austen in the 10th grade and is the proud owner of extensive Jane Austen paraphernalia.MaryLee McNeal studied Jane Austen for her oral exams at San Francisco State, where her novel Home Again, Home Again won the Clark award in 1989. Since then she has been writing both fiction and poetry. She has completed a collection of linked short stories, Another Wyoming, and is presently working on a second novel. Her two poetry chapbooks are The Space Between Us, which won the Bear Mountain Press Award, and The Way We Fall. She lives and teaches in the San Francisco Bay Area.Mary McNear is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Butternut Lake series from William Morrow, beginning with Up at Butternut Lake in 2014. Mary writes in a local doughnut shop, where she sips Diet Pepsi, observes the hubbub of neighborhood life, and tries to resist the constant temptation of freshly made doughnuts. The inspiration for her novels comes from a lifetime of summers spent in a small town on a lake in the northern Midwest. The sixth Butternut Lake novel will be published this June.