Jane Austen Society Essay Contest

JASNA (Jane Austen Society of North America) conducts an annual student Essay Contest to foster the study and appreciation of Jane Austen's works in new generations of readers.
Interested in the competition?
Jane Austen Society Essay Contest

Competition Overview

High school students and home-schooled students
Entry fee
June 1, 2024
Submission deadline

Competition Details

1. Eligibility
High school students and home-schooled students enrolled at the high school level during the contest year. In addition, there are two other divisions for College/University and Graduate School. 

2. Contest topic
If you have ever attended a formal debate, you know that both sides of a “resolution” are presented, giving everyone an intellectual workout. Here’s yours.

Resolved: That Jane Austen’s novels are still relevant and speak to us after 200 years .

In the first part of the essay you should attack this claim; in the second part defend it. You will be expected to back up each position with quotations and examples from Austen’s works. High school students must cite at least one novel; undergraduate and graduate students will be expected to cite at least two. Citing Austen’s unfinished works is also permitted.

3. Prizes

  • 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.

Jane Austen Essay Contest Past Winning Essays

Submission details

All entries must be submitted by June 1, 2024

1. Essay format
6-8 page essay, following MLA format guidelines. Include a title at the top of the first page, without the student’s name appearing in the essay. Ensure all quotes, paraphrases, and summaries from Jane Austen’s work under discussion are properly cited within the text.

2. Essay language

3. Citation format
Use MLA documentation, including parenthetical citations and a Works Cited page for all sources referenced, with endnotes only for substantive notes.

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