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2020 Essay Contest
Winners Selected

August 30, 2020

JASNA is pleased to announce the winners of our 2020 Essay Contest, an annual event open to high school, college/university, and graduate school students worldwide.

This year participants were asked to discuss Lady Susan, Jane Austen's early unpublished epistolary novel whose main character is a female villain. We received submissions from students in the United States and Canada, as well as China, France, India, Nigeria, Singapore, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. The entries were evaluated in two rounds by 27 judges, and the top 3 essays in each division were selected for scholarship awards. The first-place winners have also been invited to attend JASNA's 2020 Annual General Meeting.

The winners are presented below, and we invite you read their essays, which have been published on this site. A list of the students awarded Honorable Mention is also posted online.

High School Division

  • First Place:  Charity Ford

    "Happier Than They Deserve: The Justice of Jane Austen Within and Behind the Pages of Emma and Lady Susan"

  • Second Place:  Talitha C. Murphy

    "Gray Morality in Lady Susan and Mansfield Park: When the Villains Aren’t so Villainous, What Makes the Heroines so Good?"

  • Third Place:  Julia V. McGibbon

    "Sirens of Society: The Seduction of Moral Men by Austen’s Female Villains"

College/University Division 

  • First Place:  Katya M. Garcia-Israel

    "The 'Artful' Lady Susan: Austen’s Most Powerful Female Villain"

  • Second Place:  Sebastian C. Anastasi

    "Austen’s Aberration: The Unconventional Character of Lady Susan"

  • Third Place:  Jessica L. Hunt

    "Lady Susan: The Coquette, Machiavellian, and Villain of Jane Austen’s Novels"

 Graduate School Division    

  • First Place:  Fatma Shahin

    "The Art(s) of the Coquette: Dramatizing the Duplicitous in Lady Susan and Northanger Abbey"

  • Second Place:  Augusta Hardy

    "Moral Growth and the Heroine in Lady Susan"

  • Third Place:  Percy Verret

    "A Matter of Judgment: or An Examination of the Unanswerable Motives of Lady Susan Vernon"

Many thanks to all the participants and judges, and congratulations to the winners for their excellent work!