2017 JASNA Essay Contest

Dear Essay Writers,

As you know, JASNA (National level) sponsors an essay contest every year, with three categories: high school, undergraduate and graduate. The topic is usually tied to the theme of the upcoming AGM, in this case, it is the “afterlife” of Jane Austen’s novels. Our 2017 Essay Contest is now open — the deadline is May 21, 2017.  We have no budget for publicity and so we are asking you to help us get the word out.

Attached is a color poster for the contest, suitable for downloading and posting to a physical bulletin board. The link is: http://jasna.org/essaycontest/poster-2017.pdf  We would ask you to feature it on your school’s bulletin board, newspaper, or other popular venue.  Also note that the details about prizes, eligibility, style and submission, as well as links to previous winning essays, are available at  http://jasna.org/essaycontest/

We look forward to your submissions.  If you have any questions about this contest please contact our Regional Coordinators at HERE.


Essay Contest Topic:

On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, JASNA is looking for short essays that address the following questions: Let us have lights, camera and action. “Imagine that you are adapting an Austen novel for stage or film. What elements might you be tempted to change – especially for a modern audience – that should not be tampered with if the integrity of the work is to be preserved? These elements could be scenes, characters, dialogue or something else. Explain why they are so crucial to the novel. How does what can and cannot be changed shed light on Austen’s popularity and influence?

Who Is Eligible: Students at the high school, college and graduate levels.

Awards: Judges select first-, second-, and third-place winners in each of the three divisions.

Winners will receive:

  • • Cash scholarships ranging from $250 to $1,000
  • • Paid registration and two-nights’ lodging for the JASNA Annual General Meeting in Huntington Beach CA, October 6-8 (first place only)
  • • One-year free membership in JASNA
  • • Publication of the winning essays on the JASNA website.

Entry Deadline: May 21, 2017

For Details/How to Enter: Visit the Essay Contest page at www.jasna.org



Hotel Reservations Running Out for the 2015 AGM


214The Steering Committee of the 2015 AGM would like to share information about the conference hotel with those of you who may be planning to attend. We recently learned that the Galt House will be used as the headquarters of Louisville’s Iron Man Competition, occurring at the same time as the AGM.  The triathlon has been held during the summer every year, but the organizers decided this past year to move it to October 2015.

While it is not JASNA’s practice to make announcements regarding reservations, you should be aware that competition for rooms at the Galt House is very likely. Remember that once our room block is full, the Galt House is not required to honor JASNA’s reduced rate for additional rooms outside the block. Also, there may not be as many additional rooms available to our members due to the influx of triathlon attendees.

You may use this link to learn more about the conference hotel and making reservations. Please read the tips and directions carefully before reserving a room.

Bonny Wise & Alana Gillett
Co-Coordinators, 2015 AGM


For for information on this year’s AGM in Louisville, KY please visit JASNA Louisville AGM.

Miss Manners Channels Miss Austen

In today’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch (June 24), Miss Manners (a.k.a. Judith Martin), our favorite advice-giver, tackles the tricky question of courtship now and then (the Regency era, of course). We offer a link to Miss Manners’ observations in the hope that they will put a smile on your face, as they did ours:


We wonder if anyone has considered inviting Miss Manners to an AGM. Were she to accept, of course, we would all have to be on our very best behavior. Indeed.

Jane Austen on Parade: the 2012 Brooklyn AGM


When I asked Bettye Dew what the AGM was like, she told me it was hard to describe.  “You’ll see,” she said, mysteriously.  And I did:  the rousing plenary speakers, excellent breakout sessions, and dozens of women (plus a few men), dressed as Austen characters.  An Elizabeth Bennet lookalike sat next to me, and I admired her dress.  “I’ve got 34 more at home,” she confided.

The convention unfolded like clockwork.  At Brooklyn’s Marriott Hotel, meeting rooms hosted reticule workshops, quilling sessions (I took one, and it has nothing to do with quills), and the astonishing Emporium.  There, vendors from all over the world sold Austen-related fans, jewelry, books, clothing, tea sets, stationery, and fascinators.  One did a brisk business in baseball shirts with numbers on the back and names like Darcy or Knightley, instead of Jeter or Rodriguez.

My favorite moments?   I was enthralled by Cornel West’s high-energy riff on Jane Austen.  A Vassar College concert, held at Henry Ward Beecher’s historic Plymouth Church, was truly glorious, with some Austen-related poems set to music for the occasion.  I loved a walking tour of Brooklyn Heights, led by an architectural historian, on which we saw early 19th-century homes and some only-in-New York oddities, such as a group of Japanese tourists, dressed as wolves.

With such sights a part of their daily diet, jaded New Yorkers scarcely blinked at the lovely “promenade” of costumed Janeites.  Another highlight for me was a play — the “Austen Assizes,” written by Syrie James and Diana Birchall — in which a series of Austen defendants square off against their rivals in an 1816-era courtroom.  It was hilarious.  Mrs. Bennet accused Lady Catherine of defamation; Col. Brandon berated Willoughby for stalking his wife; Fanny insisted that Lucy Steele had entrapped her brothers – and then, in a surprise ending, Robert took the stand to accuse Lucy of attempted murder!

For this first-timer, the conference was a hoot, with lots of entertainment and dozens of friendly people.  Next year is Minneapolis!  I urge you to give it a try, costumed or not.  Believe me, you’ll see…


The 2013 Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held in Minneapolis, MN, September 27th-29th.  Please visit JASNA for further information.