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Jane Austen Summer Program holding two essay contests for Triangle students

The Jane Austen Summer Program is holding two essay contests for local middle and high school students: PlayMakers-JASP Essay Contest and the JASP Jane Austen Essay Challenge. Winners will receive full admission to JASP. See below for information on the contests.


The Jane Austen Summer Program is pleased to announce its second-annual PlayMakers-Jane Austen Summer Program essay contest, co-sponsored by the Jane Austen Summer Program and PlayMakers Repertory Company. Open to any student enrolled in Grades 6-12 who has seen the PlayMakers performance of Life of Galileo, this contest seeks to combine both theater and writing by challenging students to write a short essay on the play.

Entries for the JASP-PlayMakers essay contest are now open. To enter, students should write a 250-500 word essay regarding the PlayMakers performance of Life of Galileo. Students can choose to write on one of the two prompts listed below.

  1. Life of Galileo is a fictional portrayal of one man’s life. Through this play, biographies, and movies, Galileo lives on, and audiences today can learn more about him. Writing about the life of another person is a large responsibility, as the writer can determine the subject’s reputation for years to come. Research Galileo’s life to find one element of his biography that is different from how the play portrays it. Describe the difference, and then consider why Bertolt Brecht made this change for the play. (Hint: Virginia’s life was very different!)

  2. Throughout Life of Galileo, Galileo has alternatively loving and tense relationships with Andrea and his daughter Virginia. What do these relationships tell us about Galileo as a father and a teacher? Why does Galileo’s identity as a mentor matter so much to him?

Contest winners will be announced in April. The first-place winner will have the chance to receive free admission to the Jane Austen Summer Program “Pride and Prejudice & Its Afterlives,” which will take place from June 20-23 in Chapel Hill and Carrboro, N.C. Winning students will also receive two tickets to any PlayMakers performance in the 2018-19 season.

Entries for the essay contest will begin being accepted now through April 1, 2019, and should be sent to The top of the essay entry should include the student’s name, grade, age, school name, date the student attended the play, title of the essay, as well as whether or not the student can attend JASP if selected as the first-place winner.

PlayMakers Repertory Company’s Life of Galileo, by Bertolt Brecht and adapted by Joseph Discher, runs Feb. 27-March 17 at the Joan H. Gillings Center for Dramatic Art, 120 Country Club Rd., Chapel Hill, N.C. For information, visit

The Jane Austen Summer Program is an annual, award-winning 4-day symposium for all Austen readers. For information about this year’s program, please visit

For any additional questions about the PlayMakers-Jane Austen Summer Program essay contest, please reach out to Emily Sferra at easferra (at) live (dot) unc (dot) edu.


Win a FULL scholarship to the Jane Austen Summer Program by answering the question…

What is it that makes Jane Austen so timeless and relevant today?

  1. Your essay should be between 500-1000 words, MLA formatted.

  2. Strong essays will cite outside sources to support the central argument.

  3. All middle and high school students in the Triangle region are eligible.

All submissions due by April 1. Please send essays to kedelstein (at) chccs (dot) k12 (dot) nc (dot) us.

Submissions should include your name, the name of your school, and your rising grade.

Please do not apply if you are unable to attend JASP 2019.

GRAND PRIZE: Full admission to this year’s Jane Austen Summer Program, June 20-23, where this year’s topic is “Pride and Prejudice and Its Afterlives.”  

Additional book awards will be offered for 1st and 2nd runners-up.


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