JASNA conducts an annual student Essay Contest to foster the study and appreciation of Jane Austen's works in new generations of readers.
Students world-wide are invited to compete for scholarship awards 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.
The 2021 Essay Contest is closed, and the winning entries will be posted in August.
The 2022 contest topic and rules will be available here in November 2021, and
we will begin accepting submissions in February 2022.
2021 Contest Topic
"Indulged with his favorite instrument."Illustration by C.E. Brock, Mansfield Park, 1908 (Internet Archive)
The 2021 Essay Contest topic was tied to the theme of our Annual General Meeting: "Jane Austen in the Arts." It encompassed a wide variety of the arts, including fine arts, performance arts, decorative arts, and crafts.
Jane Austen played the piano, embroidered, and attended art exhibits and the theater. The arts also played a role in her novels. In your essay, discuss how Austen uses the arts, whether to reveal character, address social standing, advance the plot, or otherwise make a point. High school students: you may discuss her use of the arts in just one of her novels, though you are welcome to refer to more. Undergraduate and graduate students: you must discuss Austen's use of the arts in more than one novel. You may use the same art form in each or contrast different arts.
The deadline for 2021 Essay Contest submissions was June 1. Come back this fall for the 2022 Essay Contest topic and rules; we will begin accepting submissions in February 2022.
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.