Book is final chapter in Sitting With Jane story

It was the most high-profile event in the Jane Austen 200 celebrations in Hampshire – and now a special souvenir book has been produced as a lasting memento of the Sitting With Jane project.

A Wild in Art event, delivered by Destination Basingstoke and in association with Festival Place, thousands of people enjoyed going around the Sitting With Jane public art BookBench trail between June 17 and August 30 – and the popularity of the benches, which celebrated the life of local author Jane Austen, was reflected in a very successful charity auction.

Twenty-two BookBench lots were sold on September 15 for a total of £95,750 – and 75 per cent of the proceeds went to Ark Cancer Centre Charity, leaving a lasting legacy that will help and support cancer patients and their families as Ark is raising £5million towards a unique local NHS cancer treatment centre that will be built in the Basingstoke area.

Now, some of the organisations that were involved in the Sitting With Jane project have teamed up again to produce the Sitting With Jane book – and it will only cost a Jane Austen! (otherwise known as £10).

The team from The Typeface Group, who were a driving force behind the Sitting With Jane social media coverage, have designed and compiled the book, with the help and support of Destination Basingstoke and Ark Cancer Centre Charity.

The limited edition 500-print run has been sponsored by Festival Place – headline sponsor of Sitting With Jane – and Greenhouse Graphics, based in Bramley, which has also printed the book.

The generous support of the production team and the sponsors means that the proceeds from the book sale will go to Sitting With Jane charity partner, Ark.

Steven Connolly, chairman of Destination Basingstoke and centre director of Festival Place, said: “The Sitting With Jane book is a lovely memento of a special celebration of Jane Austen.

“Sitting With Jane brought together our community as part of a fantastic summer, attracting thousands of visitors, generating income for our local economy, making our community proud of its heritage, and delivering a great result for a local charity.”

The book was unveiled at the ‘Girl Power’ BookBench in The Discovery Centre, in Festival Place, Basingstoke. This bench was bought at the auction after a successful crowdfunding campaign by the NorthHantsMums group, and it has now been located in The Discovery Centre for mums, children and others to enjoy.

The Sitting With Jane book is on sale for £10 cash only at the Information Desk, in Festival Place, Basingstoke. Online orders, for which there is an additional package and postage fee, can also be placed by going to and following the instructions on that page.

Picture caption: Some of the Sitting With Jane book team and bookbench owners at the launch of the souvenir book in at The Discovery Centre. Picture credit: Grace Jeffreys, of The Typeface Group