About me

Sarah Emsley

Photo by Alex MacAulay

Welcome, and thanks very much for visiting! I’m a Nova Scotia writer and editor with a particular interest in the lives and works of Jane Austen and Edith Wharton. I hope you’ll join the conversation here about these two brilliant writers and the ongoing popularity of the fictional worlds they created.

To make sure you don’t miss updates about Austen and Wharton-related news and events, you can follow my blog or subscribe via email, follow me on Twitter, and connect with me on Facebook, Pinterest, and Goodreads. From time to time I also post about the books I review, about other writers I admire, such as L.M. Montgomery, and about places I love (especially Nova Scotia and Alberta).

2014 is The Year of Mansfield Park — three cheers for Austen’s strongest heroine, Fanny Price! I’m working on an exciting project to mark 200 years of this complex and controversial novel, and you can read more about “An Invitation to Mansfield Park” here.

The Custom of the Country

2013 was an exciting year in the world of Austen and Wharton, as it marked the 200th anniversary of the publication of Austen’s famous and beloved novel Pride and Prejudice, and the 100th anniversary of the publication of Wharton’s novel The Custom of the Country, which her biographer Hermione Lee calls “her greatest book.”

You can find my series of posts about the experience of rereading Pride and Prejudice here, and you can read my series of posts celebrating 100 years of The Custom of the Country here.

Mainstreet logoYou can listen to me talking about Jane Austen’s letters, what makes Pride and Prejudice so appealing, and what I love most about Austen in this interview with Stephanie Domet on CBC Radio’s Mainstreet.

Click here for more information if you’re interested in inviting me to speak to your group about Austen and/or Wharton.

If you’re interested in writing a guest post for my blog, click here to read more about submissions.

Favourite Posts

Oxford World's Classics P&P

Jane Austen’s “Darling Child” Meets the World

Why is Mr. Darcy So Attractive?

Mansfield Park is a Tragedy, Not a Comedy

Books as Children

What Edith Wharton Tells Us About the Way We Live Now

L.M. Montgomery’s Literary Pilgrimage to Concord, Mass.

Books

Jane Austen's Philosophy of the VirtuesMy books include literary criticism (Jane Austen’s Philosophy of the Virtues and Jane Austen and the North Atlantic), Nova Scotia history (St. Paul’s in the Grand Parade), and a critical edition of Edith Wharton’s 1913 novel The Custom of the Country. You can find details about my essays and reviews on Austen, Wharton, and contemporary Canadian fiction here. The archives for The New Compass, the journal I co-founded and co-edited with Michael John DiSanto, are available here.

Bio

Many years ago, when so many Maritimers were going west for work, my family left Alberta for (academic) work in Nova Scotia. I grew up in Halifax, and while I’ve moved away a few times and I still feel a strong attachment to Alberta, I keep coming home to Nova Scotia. I guess that makes me an Albertan by birth and a Maritimer by choice.

After an undergraduate degree at the University of Alberta, I came home for graduate school, and received an MA and a PhD in English Literature from Dalhousie University in Halifax. My PhD supervisor was Rohan Maitzen, who blogs at Novel Readings. I held a SSHRC postdoctoral fellowship at the Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford, where I worked on Edith Wharton and the novel of manners with Hermione Lee as my advisor. For a few years I taught classes on Jane Austen in the Writing Program at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and then I came home to Halifax to write a novel.

I’m a member of The Writers’ Union of Canada and the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia (WFNS). I’m on a few WFNS committees and served as Vice President in 2013-14. I’m also one of the organizers for the Nova Scotia Region of the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA).

Blue Beach, Nova Scotia

Blue Beach, Nova Scotia

When I’m not reading, writing, volunteering with WFNS and JASNA, or buying books at Woozles and Bookmark, I’m usually running, biking, meeting friends for coffee, or spending time with my family. Nova Scotia beaches, Alberta grain elevators, Boston and Cambridge bookstores and the Museum of Fine Arts, coffee, and salted caramel ice cream: these are a few of my favourite things.

Jane Austen in Nova Scotia (JASNA NS)

I’m always interested in hearing from fans of Austen’s work. If you’re in or near the Halifax area and you’re interested in Jane Austen, please consider coming to one of our JASNA Nova Scotia meetings. To get updates about our events, you can subscribe to my blog, follow me on Twitter (@Sarah_Emsley), and/or “like” my author page on Facebook.

If you live elsewhere in NS (or New Brunswick or PEI, which are also included in our Region), and are interested in planning a JASNA event in your area, please let me know, either here on my website or on the group’s website, Jane Austen in Nova Scotia.

You can also reach me by email at semsley at gmail dot com.

© Sarah Emsley, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of material from this website without express and written permission is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sarah Emsley with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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