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Jane Austen Society of North America Essay Contest

JASNA conducts an annual student Essay Contest to foster the study and appreciation of Jane Austen’s work. Several hundred students compete for scholarship awards each year.

The contest is open to students world-wide 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.

2019 Contest Topic


In honor of the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s novel Northanger Abbey, we welcome essays on following topic:

Northanger Abbey can be described as a book about books. There is, of course, the well-known “defense of the novel,” but characters also discuss their reading habits, name specific novels, and even consider history books. In her works, Austen often makes use of fiction, poetry or plays, either explicitly or indirectly. Explore how she does this in Northanger Abbey. High school students may bring in another Austen novel but are not required to do so; undergraduate and graduate students must bring in one or more additional novels.