A BRONZE, life-sized sculpture of Jane Austen, believed to be the first in the world, is due be unveiled next month.

The sculpture of the author, originally from Steventon, will be unveiled at midday on July 18 in Market Place. The statue of Austen is one of the many parts of the 200th commemoration of the author’s death, taking place all throughout the summer this year.

Claire Tomalin, author of the biography Jane Austen: A Life, said: “Nothing could be better than a statue of Jane Austen hurrying across Market Place to collect library books, do a little shopping or pick up her mother from Dr Lyford’s house – living the busy family life into which she fitted the writing that has made her world famous. It is an inspired idea and will be welcomed by everyone who reads her novels and cares for her memory.”

Adam Roud, from Basingstoke, is making the statue, that will stand over five feet tall and aim to represent Austen not only as an author, but as an independent woman in her own right.

Maria Miller, who has been working with the Hampshire Cultural Trust, said: “Jane Austen is a writer of worldwide repute. Born in the borough, she is a woman who broke the mould in her generation.

“I am delighted that she is to be recognized in a sculpture by Adam Roud. It is a fitting tribute to her status not just as a local writer, but as one of the finest and most-loved authors the world has known.”

Janet Owen, Chief Executive of Hampshire Cultural Trust, said: “We are delighted to be associated with this incredible project in this, the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death.

“Jane Austen has enduring appeal, and we, along with our many partners in Jane Austen 200, have really thrown ourselves into the bicentenary celebrations. There are an astonishing number of events taking place across the county in 2017 celebrating not only the writings of this extraordinary woman, but her life in her home county of Hampshire.”