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Essay Contest

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.

2023 Contest Topic

2023 Essay Contest Image2The 2023 Essay Contest topic is inspired by the theme of our upcoming 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). In your essay, compare and discuss the different types of marriages or courtships found in the novels, whether those relationships are new or longstanding.

High School Students: You may focus on Pride and Prejudice only, or also bring in other Austen works.
Undergraduate and Graduate Students: Discuss at least two Austen novels of your choice.

Teachers and Mentors
Please help us spread the word about the Essay Contest. Download the 2023 contest flyer to display in your classroom and distribute to interested students.


The deadline for submissions is Thursday, June 1, 2023. We will begin accepting submissions in February 2023. In the meantime, it is essential that you visit the Submissions page to review the contest rules and eligibility requirements before entering.

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 2023 Annual General Meeting in Denver, CO, Nov. 3-5. (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.

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