Letter Writing

Jane Austen was a consummate letter writer. Much of what we know about her life is due to the correspondence that survives – mainly written to her sister Cassandra.

Austen’s letter writing style is light, sharp and witty. She engages with small household and family matters, often describing meals she has had, walks she has taken, and people she has met. In a few lines she summons up the world she lived in, and makes us feel like she is speaking to us directly.

‘I have now attained the true art of letter-writing, which we are always told, is to express on paper exactly what one would say to the same person by word of mouth; I have been talking to you almost as fast as I could the whole of this letter.’ (Jane to Cassandra, Saturday 3 – Monday 5 January 1801)

In the difficult times we are currently living through, staying in touch with loved ones is more important than ever.

For this category, we are asking you to pen a letter to a friend, or family member, or to Jane Austen herself, describing your day, your environment, your natural surroundings (as seen from home), or other daily domestic matters that interest you. Following in Jane Austen’s footsteps, make your letter fun, readable and engaging, with limited subject matter.

Word limit: 500 words