Essay Conference


  1.  Essays should focus on any aspects of the Africana experience, i.e. art, education, history, literature, politics, psychology, social issues, and policy issues.
  2. The essay must be:
  • Typed in Microsoft Word software
  • 12-18 pages in length
  • Double-spaced with one inch margins-left to right and –top to bottom.
  • Students are asked to document sources with either MLA or the APA style guide.
  1. A cover sheet is a must. On your cover sheet (separate from the rest of the essay) only include: your name, mailing address, telephone number, name of the college you attend, and your class status i.e., freshman, sophomore, junior, senior or graduate student and name of faculty advisor).
  2. DO NOT type your name on all pages. Reviewers must NOT have any identifying clues from your paper.
    DO NOT reveal your college or location of where you are based.
  3. Submit your essay electronically to Daphney Thomas Coordinator Special Projects/ OR mail to National Council for Black Studies, French Hall West, Room 3514, PO Box 210370, Cincinnati, Ohio, 45221
  4. Submission deadline is 12pm EST JANURY 08, 2018

A note to our student submitters:

Thank you for submitting your essay for consideration.

We deeply appreciate the time and effort in preparing the essay. All essays are considered through a blind process. If your essay is not selected as a winner, please do not be discouraged, you can submit again the following the year. Essays that do not win are not an indication of poor quality as we receive stellar essays, but just a reflection of the competitive nature of the program. We would like to provide feedback to all submitted essays, but due to the sheer volume of essays received, this is not possible.

Winners of the competition are strongly encouraged to attend the NCBS conference to participate in the celebratorial luncheon.

NCBS National Office

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.

2018 Contest Topic

Jane Austen's Persuasion was first published in 1818, and to commemorate the anniversary JASNA is inviting essays that address the following:

The trio of faith, hope and charity all feature in Jane Austen’s novel Persuasion. Discuss how possessing or lacking these qualities affects a character's behavior and drives the plot. You may focus on one quality or examine the interplay of two or all three. You may include more than one character in your discussion.

Teachers and Mentors:  Please download the 2018 contest poster/flyer to display in your classroom or distribute to interested students.


The deadline for 2018 Essay Contest submissions is May 20, 2018.  

Visit our Submissions page for important rules about formatting and submitting an essay. 

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 and their mentors each receive a one-year JASNA membership. In addition, each winner receives a set of Norton Critical Editions of Jane Austen's novels. The winning essays are published on this website.


Please review the Essay Contest FAQs. If you still have questions, contact Meg Levin at   You must use “JASNA Essay Contest” in your subject line.


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