Essay Contest

The 2017 Essay Contest is closed.  Check back in August to see the names of the winners and to read the winning essays.

To foster the study and appreciation of Jane Austen, JASNA conducts an annual student Essay Contest.  Support is generously provided by a grant in memory of the late Russell Clark and in honor of William Phillips, educators and leaders in JASNA’s Greater Chicago Region.

Students interested in the life and works of Jane Austen are encouraged to enter.  The Essay Contest is open to students world-wide at the high school, college/university, and graduate school levels of study.  Entrants do not need to be members of JASNA.  Students must be enrolled full-time or part-time in coursework during one or more semesters/quarters of the contest year.  Home-schooled students at the high school level are also eligible.  Part-time is defined for the college/university level as a minimum of six credit hours and for the graduate level as a minimum of three credit hours leading to an advanced degree.

Attention teachers: Click here to download a poster suitable for printing and displaying in your classroom.

2017 Essay Contest

Essay Contest Topic: In keeping with the theme of our annual meeting, “Jane Austen in Paradise: Intimations of Immortality,” JASNA is looking for essays that address the following:

Imagine that you are adapting an Austen novel for stage or film.  What elements might you be tempted to change—especially for a modern audience—that should not be tampered with if the integrity of the work is to be preserved?  These elements could be scenes, characters, dialogue or something else.  Explain why they are so crucial to the novel.  How does what can and cannot be changed shed light on Austen’s popularity and influence?

The Submissions page includes important rules about format and submission of essays and a link to the official Essay Contest entry form.  Entries must be submitted online by May 21, 2017.

Essay Contest Awards

JASNA awards scholarships to the winners in each of three divisions: High School, College/University, and Graduate.

First Place

Second Place

Third Place

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.