London, Sept 20 : Chawton in Hampshire, the village in which Jane Austen spent the last years of her life and produced some of the best-loved novels, is fighting to retain its rightful place in history after the city of Bath laid claim to be the author's "true home". The organizers of Bath's Jane Austen Festival claim that the city is now "internationally recognised" as the writer's home because it features so heavily in her books.
As far as Chawton is concerned, Austen lived there from 1809 until her death in 1817.
It was in Chawton Cottage that she completed all of her novels, including Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Persuasion.
The cottage is now run as Jane Austen's House Museum and attracts 30,000 visitors each year. However, it is in danger of being overshadowed by Bath, where the festival opens this weekend for the seventh year running.
"I think of Bath as Jane Austen's true home and people who come here year after year from all over the world certainly recognise it as such," Telegraph quoted David Lassman, festival director until 2007 and a leading authority on the novelist, as saying.
"A lot of the buildings are still here from her day which is why, when international fans think of Jane, they picture her here. If a casual reader of Austen picked up one of her books they would never read about Chawton, whereas Bath is mentioned time and again as a setting.
"Whatever the details of her life, I think these days Bath has got the bigger claim to be her home and that's not going to change," he added.