The Santa Monica Public Library will present Austen Variations, a panel discussion featuring authors influenced by the life and literary work of Jane Austen, on Saturday, March 7, at 2 p.m. in the Main Library’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Auditorium, 601 Santa Monica Blvd.

Join organizers as they welcome authors Diana Birchall (Mrs. Darcy’s Dilemma), Syrie James (Jane Austen’s First Love), Sally Smith O’Rourke (The Man Who Loved Austen) and Shannon Winslow (The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen) to discuss Jane Austen, the fertile world of her characters and settings, and the challenges of creating a unique story out of something so familiar. A book sale and signing follows their discussion.

This special event is a part of Santa Monica Reads, the city’s annual community reading program. Now in its thirteenth year, Santa Monica Reads encourages everyone in Santa Monica to read and discuss the same novel. This year’s book selection is “Longbourn” by Jo Baker, itself a variation on Jane Austen’s work. Set in the Bennet household made famous in Pride and Prejudice, Baker’s novel takes us below stairs and follows the equally compelling lives of the servants working there. For more information on all Santa Monica Reads 2015 programming, visit http://smpl.org/Longbourn2015.

This program is free and open to the public. Seating inside the auditorium is first come, first served. Santa Monica Public Library is wheelchair accessible. For special disabled services, call Library Administration at (310) 458-8606 at least one week prior to event. The Main Library is served by Big Blue Bus routes 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9 and 10. Ride your bike. Bicycle parking racks are available at the library.

For more information on this and other public programs, visit www.smpl.org or contact the Santa Monica Public Library at (310) 458-8600.

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