Thank you for your interest in the JASNA Essay Contest.
Our judges value original insights and clear, correct writing. Essays should be directed to a well-informed general audience, not a strictly academic one, and should be based primarily on the student's own observations, with adequate support from the Jane Austen work under discussion. You may assume that the reader is familiar with Jane Austen’s works; plot summaries are unnecessary.
An essay written for coursework may be submitted, but it must be submitted by the student author and in the required format. If research is used as support, students should rely on no more than five sources and should avoid academic terminology unless terms are clearly defined in the body of the essay.
Reading previous winning essays will give you a very good idea of the sort of essay JASNA is seeking. Answers to frequently-asked questions are also available.
Contest Rules and Submission Website
- Entries must be submitted by the student through the official Essay Contest Submission website. (The link is posted here.) Duplicate entries are not allowed. Each submission will be confirmed by e-mail using the address supplied.
- The student must complete the official online entry form, which includes a stipulation that the essay is the student’s original work and has not been published elsewhere.
- Entries may include a statement about the student’s mentor; however, a mentor statement is not required.
- Entries must be submitted before midnight PDT on the published deadline date.
- Contest judging is conducted anonymously. Personal information about the student, school, and mentor must appear ONLY on the entry form and not in the essay. Make sure your software does not automatically put your name on each page.
- Your essay and the entry form must be uploaded to the Essay Contest Submission site. If you have difficulties, please contact Meg Levin at email@example.com.
Entries that do not conform to the following requirements or arrive after the deadline will be disqualified.
- The essay must be written in English.
- The title of the essay should appear at the top of page one; further pages should be numbered on the top right; the student’s name must not appear on the essay.
- The essay must be in MLA format (double-spaced and in 12-point type throughout, with one-inch margins on all sides of each page).
- The essay must be 6-8 pages in length, not including the Works Cited page.
- The essay must use MLA documentation, including a Works Cited page and parenthetical citations in the body of the text. Use end notes only for substantive notes. Source material that is directly quoted, paraphrased, or summarized must be cited. Quotations from the Jane Austen work under discussion should be cited as well.
Please review the Essay Contest FAQs. If you still have questions, contact Meg Levin at firstname.lastname@example.org. You must include “JASNA Essay Contest” in the subject line.
The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition is the world’s oldest schools’ international writing competition, managed by The Royal Commonwealth Society since 1883. Every year, it offers all Commonwealth youth aged 18 and under the opportunity to express their hopes for the future, opinions of the present, and thoughts on the past, through the written word. The competition is used by individuals and teachers to build confidence, develop writing skills, support creativity and encourage critical thinking, using literacy to empower young people to become global citizens.
All entrants receive a Certificate of Participation and one Winner and Runner-up from both the Senior and Junior categories will be invited to attend Winners' Week in London. Past winners include author Elspeth Huxley, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Mei Fong, and the Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong.
Towards a Common Future
Building upon the 2017 theme of 'A Commonwealth for Peace', this year’s theme 'Towards a Common Future' and its topicsask young writers to explore how the Commonwealth can address global challenges and work to create a better future for all citizens through sub-themes of sustainability, safety, prosperity and fairness, in line with the theme of the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London.
Download the 2018 Flyer
Born between 2nd June 1999 and 31st May 2004 (14-18 years of age)
- The road to a safer future.
- How does education contribute to a fairer future?
- ‘Healthy, Wealthy, Happy, and Free’: is one more important than the others?
- Future generations have rights too, which must be defended. Discuss.
Born after 31st May 2004 (under 14 years of age)
- What does a 'safer future' mean to you and your community?
- Write a recipe for a common future: what ingredients will you need? What is the best method for making it? What will it look like?
- ‘A Day in the Life’. Imagine you are your country’s Head of Government for the day: how will you build a better future for young people?
- Our Common Earth.
Judges described entries to the competition in 2017 as ‘emotive’ ‘hauntingly assuring’ ’striking’ and as having ‘powerful narratives’, that ‘this letter should be read by everyone’. We expect a similiarly high calibre of writing for 2018.
The competition is open to all citizens and residents of the Commonwealth aged 18 and under until 1 June 2018. All entrants receive a Certificate of Participation and one Winner and Runner-up from the Senior and Junior categories will win a trip to London for a week-long series of educational and cultural events. For more information about the competition, please visit Terms and Conditions and Frequently Asked Questions.
Don’t forget to stay in touch with the RCS by signing up to our newsletter.
History of the Essay Competition
The RCS has a rich history of nurturing the creative talents of young people around the Commonwealth. We endeavour to promote literacy, expression and creativity among young people by celebrating excellence and imagination. Run by the RCS since 1883, this international schools’ writing contest – the world's oldest – is a highly regarded and popular international education project.
In 2015, the contest was renamed ‘The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition’, in honour of HM Queen Elizabeth II’s role as both Head of the Commonwealth and Patron of the Royal Commonwealth Society.