Hungerford Arcade never ceases to amaze us. We had a very talented lady, Diana Birchall visit us on her way back from the Chawton House Library in Alton, Hampshire, where she had acted out a play written by her for the bicentennial celebration of the works of Charlotte Bronte. Diana played the role of Charlotte and Syrie James played a witty Jane Austen.
Diana Birchall worked as a story analyst for Warner Bros Studios, reading novels to see if they would make movies. Her years of reading popular manuscripts have been conducted side by side with a lifetime of Jane Austen scholarship, and have resulted in her writing Austenesque fiction both as homage and as close study of the secret of Jane Austen’s style. She is the author of Mrs. Darcy’s Dilemma and the story collection Mrs. Elton in America, both published by Sourcebooks, as well as In Defense of Mrs. Elton, published by JASNA. Her play The Courtship of Mrs. Elton has had reading performances in ten cities, and in New York featured Tony Award winning actress Kathleen Chalfant. She also has a story in the Random House anthology, Jane Austen Made Me Do It.
Diana is a very vibrant, happy lady. She said one of her favourite sayings is, “You are passionate Jane” from the famous Charlotte Bronte novel, Jane Eyre.