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This year is the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's death. To mark this, we are running a short story competition, which is open to college/sixth form students, both years 12 and 13.

Competition background

Much as it may seem like Austen's works were all about dances, piano-playing and marriage, her novels often had a lot more to them. She showed her contempt for the patriarchy by writing ironically. A great example of this can be found in the first line of Pride and Prejudice, where Austen wrote: "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." This is despite the fact that it is the Bennet sisters, not the men, who are looking for someone to marry. 


We'd like students to choose between three themes that can be found in Austen's novels:

  • Romance
  • Slavery
  • Feminism

Students must choose one of these themes to base their story on. It must be vaguely Austen-related and set in Southampton, but otherwise their imagination can run riot. What if Mr Darcy had a Tinder profile? What if someone went back to Jane Austen's time and introduced feminism? This is your students' chance to tell us!

How to enter the competition

We'd like between 1,500 and 2,000 words written entirely be the student, and which have not been published anywhere else before. Students must include the following at the end of their story:

  • Word count
  • Their name
  • Age, course, level and college
  • Tutor's name and email address to notify if they've been successful
  • Which book(s) inspired their story, and how

To enter, students must save their story and the above details with their name as the file name, and send to by 10pm on Sunday 22 October 2017.

We can only accept one entry per person. Entries will be published in a small anthology* that will be made available on 7 December 2017 at the Festive Lunch.

Winners and runners up will be announced on Friday 24 November 2017.

There will be a winner from both year groups (12 and 13). Each winner will receive a free copy of the anthology, as well as prize. Everyone else will be able to buy a copy of the anthology at a small cost.

* If students do not wish their entry to be included in the anthology, they must state with in their email with their entry.

Competition prizes

First place: £50 book token, free copy of anthology
Second place: £25 book token
Third place: £10 book token

The winners' colleges will also receive an anthology and set of Jane Austen novels.

Key competition dates

Sunday 22 October 2017: deadline for entry submission
Friday 24 November 2017: winners and runners up announced
Thursday 7 December 2017: anthologies go on sale

If you have any further questions about the competition, please contact us.

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