BoE confirms novelist Jane Austen to grace new £10 notes

The Bank of England (BoE) yesterday confirmed that renowned English novelist Jane Austen will feature on the new £10 banknote, opposite Her Majesty the Queen, replacing Charles Darwin who had been on the note since 2003.

Austen will follow the other new personality in the British banknote Winston Churchill who will replace social reformer Elizabeth Fry in the £5 note in 2016. The new £10 note featuring Austen is likely to be released a year later.

The author of classic creations like Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility had been picked up as a front runner for the new £10 note last month by the BoE. (See: Novelist Jane Austen may replace Charles Darwin on £10 note)

Commenting on the new design, the BoE's new governor Mark Carney who took office from Mervin King in June, said: ''Jane Austen certainly merits a place in the select group of historical figures to appear on our banknotes.  Her novels have an enduring and universal appeal and she is recognised as one of the greatest writers in English literature.''

''As Austen joins Adam Smith, Boulton and Watt, and in future, Churchill, our notes will celebrate a diverse range of individuals who have contributed in a wide range of fields,'' Carney further said.

The BoE periodically swaps historical figures on currency notes, partly as a security measure, and invites public suggestions for selecting the replacement

The governor also agreed to review the central bank's process for selecting historical figures to appear on banknotes.

Besides a portrait of Jane Austen, the new banknote design will feature the famous quote from Pride and Prejudice ''I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!''

Austen's books, which depict the lives of early 19th century women of the English middle and upper classes, have earned for her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature, thanks to her remarkable social observation and the wit and insights she brought to her work.

There was a row over the choice of Winston Churchill to appear on £5 notes in place of prison reformer Elizabeth Fry, one of only two women selected following the introduction of historical figures in 1970.

A high profile campaign led by women's rights advocate Caroline Criado Perez ensued thereafter and ensured that a female character remained on the British banknotes, apart from Her Majesty the Queen.

''This is a brilliant day for women and a fantastic one for people power. Without this campaign, without the 35,000 people who signed our petition, the Bank of England would have unthinkingly airbrushed women out of history,'' Perez said.