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Essay Contest

JASNA conducts an annual student Essay Contest to encourage 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 2023 Essay Contest is closed, and the winning entries will be posted in August

The 2024 contest topic and rules will be available here in November 2023, and
we will begin accepting submissions in February 2024.

2023 Contest Topic

2023 Essay Contest Image2The 2023 Essay Contest topic was inspired by the theme of our 2023 Annual General Meeting: Pride and Prejudice.

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 (not the same as forced). 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 also bring in other Austen works.
Undergraduate and Graduate Students: Discussed at least two Austen novels of their choice.


The deadline for submissions was Thursday, June 1, 2023. Come back this fall for the 2024 Essay Contest topic and rules; we will begin accepting submissions in February 2024.

Essay Contest Awards

Essay Contest Medal webJASNA awards scholarships to winners in each of the three divisions: 

  • First Place:  $1,000 scholarship, plus 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 will also receive one year of membership in JASNA, publication of their essays on this website, and a set of Norton Critical Editions of Jane Austen's novels. 


Please review the Essay Contest FAQs. If you still have questions, contact Meg Levin at essay-contest@jasna.org. Use “JASNA Essay Contest” in your subject line.


Submission Guidelines ›

Learn about Essay Contest rules and formatting requirements.

Essay Contest FAQs ›

Get answers to frequently asked questions about the contest.

Winning Essays ›

Read the insightful essays that placed first, second, and third in past Essay Contests.

“For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors and laugh at them in our turn?”

Pride and Prejudice