Plenary Speakers

“Sir Walter Elliot . . . could read his own history with an interest which never failed.”
                                                                                                                  Persuasion, Vol. III, Ch. 1

Even the Baronet of Kellynch Hall would find much to admire in reading the accomplishments of our distinguished speakers.

John Mullan
Carol Medine Moss Keynote Speaker

Dr. John Mullan is Professor of English at University College in London.  He has published widely on eighteenth-century literature and is currently writing the Oxford English Literary History volume covering the period from 1709-1784.  His books include Sentiment and Sociability: The Language of Feeling in the Eighteenth Century (Oxford University Press, 1988) and Eighteenth-Century Popular Culture: An Anthology (Oxford University Press, 2000), How Novels Work (Oxford University Press, 2006), Anonymity: A Secret History of English Literature (Faber and Faber, 2007), What Matters in Jane Austen? Twenty Crucial Puzzles Solved, (Bloomsbury, 2012).

In his 2013 AGM plenary address, Dr. Mullan intrigued the audience with new insights into the reasons characters find themselves “Speechless in Pride and Prejudice.” We’re eager to hear his unique perspective on Jane Austen’s Persuasion.


Sheryl Craig
North American Scholar

Sheryl Craig has been a faculty member in the English Department at the University of Central Missouri for more than twenty years.  She is a popular speaker with both JASNA and JAS audiences, and is frequently published in Persuasions and Jane Austen Regency World Magazine.  Sheryl served as JASNA Traveling Lecturer for 2011-12 and is Editor of the JASNA News.  She is currently writing a book entitled Jane Austen and the Plight of Women.

Sheryl will take inspiration from her book Jane Austen and the State of the Nation (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015) to deliver a lecture entitled “The Persuasion of Pounds,” focusing on the economic backdrop of the novel.


Sheila Hwang
Saturday Plenary Speaker

Sheila Hwang is Associate Professor of English at Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri.  She has spoken widely at JASNA Regional events and at conferences for the American Society of Eighteenth Century Studies.

Sheila herself is drawn to the waters from a scholarly perspective, having researched and presented frequently on watering places in British novels including The Secrets of the Bath Experience.  Her lecture will emphasize both Bath and Lyme Regis, key locations in Persuasion.



Gordon Laco
Sunday Plenary Speaker

Gordon Laco served as Head Technical Advisor and Historic Consultant for the feature film Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. The film is set aboard a Royal Navy frigate in 1805. He has also consulted on over 60 projects including many for CBC and History Television. Like Captain Wentworth, Gordon had numerous opportunities to earn his sea legs. He served as Captain of HMS BEE, a replica 1812 warship. He was also Executive Officer aboard FRIENDS GOOD WILL, an historic replica (circa 1812) sailing ship operated by the Michigan Maritime Museum. He recently retired as a Commissioned Officer in the Royal Canadian Navy.


Pomona Fountain, Country Club Plaza