This contest celebrates the “life and work of Jane Austen by inspiring and encouraging new writers” and follows the very successful 2009 competition in honor of the bicentenary of Jane Austen’s arrival in the Hampshire village of Chawton in 1809. Twenty stories from the 2009 Award were published in Dancing with Mr. Darcy, edited by Sarah Waters, which I reviewed here last month. It was delightful!
We are looking for short stories of 2,000-2,500 words in length. This year the theme is ‘the heroes and villains in Jane Austen’s novels’. You can draw inspiration from any character or characters, male or female, whom you perceive to be heroic or villainous. Stories can have a historical or a contemporary setting – anything goes as long as it is well written and you state on the entry form how your idea originated.
First prize will receive £1,000 and two runners up £200 each! Twenty stories will again be included in an anthology of winning and shortlisted stories from the competition. The deadline to submit your story is March 31st, 2011 and the complete submission rules can be found on the Chawton House Library Short Story Competition web page.
I had the august pleasure of meeting Mr. Stephen Lawrence, Chief Executive Officer of the Library, and Dr. Gillian Dow, Chawton Lecturer at the JASNA conference in Portland last week. Besides having “dream jobs” at the grand country estate formerly owned by Jane Austen’s elder brother Edward Austen Knight, they are wonderful advocates of the contest and are very excited for the next book of the collection of stories that will be available in print in October 2011. I am so happy to see more Jane Austen anthologies in the queue inspiring writers and honoring our Jane.