JASNA conducts an annual student Essay Contest to foster the study and appreciation of Jane Austen's work. Several hundred students compete for scholarship awards each year.
The contest is open to students world-wide in three divisions:
High School: students and home-schooled students enrolled at the high school level during the contest year
College/University: students enrolled in at least six credit hours of course work at a junior college, college, or university during the contest year
- Graduate School: students enrolled during the contest year in at least three credit hours of graduate course work at a college or university leading to an advanced degree
Membership in JASNA is not required to enter the contest.
2019 Contest Topic
Reading Abbey Gatehouse, where Jane and Cassandra Austen attended school from 1785-1786
In honor of the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's novel Northanger Abbey, we welcomed essays on following topic:
Northanger Abbey can be described as a book about books. There is, of course, the well-known "defense of the novel,” but characters also discuss their reading habits, name specific novels, and even consider history books. In her works, Austen often makes use of fiction, poetry or plays, either explicitly or indirectly. Explore how she does this in Northanger Abbey. High school students may bring in another Austen novel but are not required to do so; undergraduate and graduate students must bring in one or more additional novels.
The deadline for 2019 Essay Contest submissions was June 3, 2019. JASNA will begin accepting submissions for the 2020 contest in November when the new essay topic and the latest contest rules are posted.
Submissions page for important rules about formatting and submitting an essay.
Essay Contest Awards
JASNA awards scholarships to winners in each of the three divisions:
- First Place: $1,000 scholarship and free registration and two nights’ lodging for JASNA’s upcoming Annual General Meeting (Transportation to the conference is not provided.)
- Second Place: $500 scholarship
- Third Place: $250 scholarship
Winners and their mentors each receive a one-year JASNA membership. In addition, each winner receives a set of Norton Critical Editions of Jane Austen's novels. The winning essays are published on this website.
Please review the Essay Contest FAQs. If you still have questions, contact Meg Levin at firstname.lastname@example.org. Use “JASNA Essay Contest” in your subject line.