A NEW one-woman play written by a Basingstoke man explores a relatively little-known part of Jane Austen's life.

Twelve Hours, written by Phil Howe, recounts in a dramatic way that the author was proposed to, and story that occurred in the 12 hours.

Jane Austen lived in Steventon in her formative years and it is where she wrote the drafts for her first three novels, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Northanger Abbey.

The incident was in 1802, and Jane Austen is visiting her friends Catherine and Alethea, members of the Wither family on the Manydown estate.

Their brother, Harris Bigg-Wither, proposes to Jane, and she agrees, but what follows is the subject of the book.

Phil said: "This was a pivotal time for both of them, and it is one of the less well-known areas of her life.

"It does add to the mystery, and even though we do have all these facts in play, there is still an awful lot that we don't know about what happened."

The book was three years in the making, with Phil taking inspiration from the people that he gave tours to around Basingstoke.

Phil runs Hidden Britain Tours, and conducts tours of Basingstoke and the surrounding area, including information on Jane Austen.

Phil added: "I didn't have any idea how big Jane Austen is worldwide, people from all over have come here for the tour."

This marks the first book from new author Phil, who took inspiration from what the people on his tours imagines what happened in the time period.

Phil said: "When we get to this part on the tour, I'd ask people what they thought might have happened, and we would try and think what would have been going through her mind at the time."

There will be a costumed read-through of the play at St Mark's Church on July 18, the anniversary of the day she died.

The book is available from: ypdbooks.com/the-arts/1954-twelve-hours-YPD02132.html.