Home ›   |   Programs ›   |   Essay Contest
Essay Contest Banner2

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.


 The 2022 Essay Contest is closed, and the winning entries will be posted in August

The 2023 contest topic and rules will be available here in November 2022, and
we will begin accepting submissions in February 2023.

2022 Contest Topic

Illustration of Mrs Jennings teasing Marianne

Mrs. Jennings teasing Marianne at dinner. Illustration by Hugh Thomson.

The 2022 Essay Contest topic focused on the theme of this year's Annual General Meeting, Sense and Sensibility.

Family relations loom large in this novel, and Austen has more than one story to tell, with four sets of siblings and notable mothers. We invited students to submit essays about the relations between siblings or pairs of siblings, relations between mothers and their offspring, or the characteristics (apart from sense and sensibility) embodied by a related or unrelated pair.

Family trees for the main characters are available here. 


The deadline for submissions was Thursday, June 2, 2022. Come back this fall for the 2023 Essay Contest topic and rules; we will begin accepting submissions in February 2023.

Essay Contest Awards

JASNA awards scholarships to winners in each of the three divisions: 

  • First Place:  $1,000 scholarship and 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 each receive one year of memberships in JASNA and a set of Norton Critical Editions of Jane Austen's novels. The winning essays will also be published on this website.


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.

Winning Essays ›

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

Essay Contest FAQs ›

Get answers to frequently asked questions about the contest.

“I would not have missed this meeting for the world.”