Essay Submissions

The judges value original insights and clear, correct writing.  Essays should be directed to a well-informed general audience of JASNA members rather than to a strictly academic audience.  Essays should be based primarily on the students’ own observations, with adequate support from the Jane Austen work(s) under discussion.  Since JASNA members are very familiar with Jane Austen’s works, plot summary is unnecessary.

Essays written for coursework may be submitted but must be submitted individually by the essay’s author.  If research is used as support, students should rely on no more than five sources and should avoid academic terminology unless terms are clearly defined in the body of the essay.

Reading previous winning essays will give entrants a very good idea of the sort of essay JASNA is seeking.  Answers to frequently-asked questions are also available on this site.

Contest Rules

  1. Entries must be submitted by the student on the official Essay Contest entry website.  Click on this link to visit the entry website.  Duplicate entries are not allowed, but a successful submission will be confirmed by e-mail to the address supplied.
  2. The student must complete the above entry form, which includes a stipulation that the essay is the student’s original work and has not been published elsewhere.
  3. Entries may include a statement about the student’s mentor; however, a mentor statement is not required.
  4. Entries must be submitted before midnight PDT on May 21, 2017.
  5. Contest judging is conducted anonymously.  Personal information about the student, school, and mentor must appear ONLY on the entry form and not in the essay.  Make sure your software does not automatically put your name on each page.
  6. Your essay must uploaded along with the entry form on the Essay Contest entry website.  In the event of technical difficulties, contact Meg Levin at

Essay Format

  1. The essay must be written in English.
  2. The essay must be 6-8 pages in length, not including the Works Cited page.
  3. The title of the essay should appear at the top of page one; further pages should be numbered on the top right; the student’s name must not appear on the essay.
  4. The essay must be in MLA format (double-spaced and in 12 point type throughout, with one-inch margins on all sides of each page).
  5. The essay must use MLA documentation, including a Works Cited page and parenthetical citations.  Use end notes only for substantive notes.  Note that source material which is directly quoted as well as that which is paraphrased or summarized must be cited.  Note also that quotations from the Jane Austen work under discussion should be cited.

Entries that do not conform to the above requirements or arrive after the deadline will be disqualified.

Please review the Essay Contest FAQs.  If you still have questions, contact Meg Levin at You must use “JASNA Essay Contest” in your subject line.