It is a truth universally acknowledged that the next face to grace the 10-pound note will be Jane Austen's, the Bank of England announced Wednesday.
The author of the classic novels "Pride and Prejudice," "Emma" and "Sense and Sensibility" is expected to begin gracing British currency sometime in 2016.
The new governor of the Bank of England 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.”
The Bank of England has been embroiled in a controversy over which public figures appear on British money. A move to put Winston Churchill on the 5-pound note, replacing social reformer Elizabeth Fry, meant that no women -- other than the queen -- would appear on British banknotes. More than 35,000 people signed a petition in protest.
"An all-male line-up on our banknotes sends out the damaging message that no woman has done anything important enough to appear," the petition reads. "This is patently untrue."
Austen, who died in 1817, published six novels; they have remained lasting favorites with readers, and they have provided a rich trove of material for film and TV adaptations. In addition to "Pride and Prejudice," "Emma" and "Sense and Sensibility," her books include "Northanger Abbey," "Mansfield Park" and "Persuasion."
Since 1970, the Bank of England has featured 16 historical figures on its banknotes, only two of whom have been women. On Wednesday, the bank announced that it would review its selection process to determine whether it might be more inclusive.
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