As a controversy rages about the literary legacy of Jane Austen, novelist Stephanie Barron has written a special dispatch from the Jane Austen Society of North America conference.

Barron (pictured) is the author of the Jane Austen Mysteries series. Last week Oxford University professor Kathryn Sutherland made headlines for her analysis of more than 1,000 handwritten Austen pages, uncovering a trail of writing errors.

We’ve reprinted her entire literary op-ed below. Barron wrote: “It’s Sunday afternoon, and the end of the annual Jane Austen Society of North America’s Annual General Meeting–which was rife, this year, with outrage. Six hundred and fifty Janeites in one Portland ballroom, all venting about the same thing: that Kathryn Sutherland’s attempt to promote her online database of Austen manuscript pages has gone decidedly wrong.”
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