The winners of our 2023 Essay Contest have been revealed, and their outstanding entries have been published here on our website. The results of this year's competition demonstrate once again that the study and appreciation of Jane Austen is alive and well among new generations of readers, fans, and scholars.
This was a banner year for JASNA's Essay Contest. We received more entries than ever from students in the US, Canada, and 25 other countries—the most submissions and the widest reach to date. Some of the finalists were from China, South Africa, the UK, Turkey, and India, and students from the latter two countries placed second and third in the High School Division.
The students who received top honors are:
High School Division
- First Place: Jessica T. Liu
"Like Aunt, Like Niece: Generational Patterns of Marriage in Pride and Prejudice"
- Second Place: Almila Dükel
"'What Are Men to Rocks and Mountains?' Examining Environment in the Proposals and Courtships of Pride and Prejudice"
- Third Place: Nisha Ramakrishnan
"'In the Quest For Some Amusement': The Role of Card Games, Dancing, and Walks as Precursors, Metaphors, and Measurements of Compatibility in Pride and Prejudice
- First Place: Kiri L. Kenman
"Love, Convenience, and the Pursuit of Happiness for Austen’s Spinsters"
- Second Place: Emily K. Aycrigg
"'An Active, Useful Sort of Person': Mr. Bennet, Charlotte Lucas, and Want of Sense in a Marriage Partner
- Third Place: Rylee C. Thomas
"Passion Mired in Pragmatism: The 'Maneuvering Business' of Marriage in Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park"
Graduate School Division
- First Place: Katherine Tencza
"The Relationship Road to Self-Awareness"
- Second Place: Linne E. Marsh
"Growing into Love: A Comparison of Adolescent Marriage in Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility"
- Third Place: Amy R. Eversole
"Character, Contemplation, and Counteraction: Jane Austen’s Three Keys to Extraordinary Marriages"
Inspired by the 2023 AGM's Pride and Prejudice theme, this year's essay topic was Marriages and Proposals. In Pride and Prejudice and Jane Austen's other novels, we see proposals and marriages that are motivated by love, as well as those that are better described as arranged marriages or marriages of convenience. Many cultures today also expect arranged marriages. Students were asked to compare and discuss the different types of marriages or courtships found in the novels, whether those relationships are new or longstanding. High school students could focus on Pride and Prejudice only or bring in other Austen works as well. Undergraduate and graduate students were asked to discuss at least two Austen novels of their choice.
The entries were evaluated in two rounds by 34 judges, and the top 3 essays in each division were selected for scholarship awards. The first-place winners were also invited to attend this year's Annual General Meeting in Denver, CO.
All nine winning essays have been published on our website, and you can read them here. A list of the students awarded Honorable Mention is also posted online.
Congratulations to our winners, and many thanks to all the contest participants and judges!
JASNA sponsors the Essay Contest each year to foster the study and appreciation of Jane Austen's works in new generations of readers. The 2024 contest topic and rules will be published in late November, and we will begin accepting submissions in February 2023.