ME Student Wins National Letters About Literature Competition

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Leah Kuehn, Maine Humanities Council, 207-773-5051


Letters about literature, LALJune 22, 2015

WATERVILLE, Maine- Gabriel Ferris, 13, of Waterville Junior High School, beat 21,713 national submissions to win first place in Level 2 of the national Letters About Literature contest. He will receive $1000 for his letter to Walter Isaacson, author of the biography Steve Jobs.

The contest asks students grades 4-12 to write a letter to any author, living or dead, whose work deeply changed their view of the world or themselves.

Gabriel’s letter poses a question highly relevant for modern culture: “Is excess a requirement for extreme success? Your story leaves me wondering if this is the case – and struggling with the balance between still wanting to do something great while still being someone great. Consequently, your story created more questions in my life than it answered.”

Gabriel competed in Level 2, which includes grades 7 – 8. There were 564 submissions from Maine at this level. The Maine Humanities Council is delighted to have had three Maine students as national winners in past years.

“There are so many young, engaged readers in this state,” says Hayden Anderson, Executive Director of the Maine Humanities Council. “We are proud of their achievements and love that there is this much energy and enthusiasm around reading.”

The Maine Humanities Council, which is the Maine affiliate of the Library of Congress’s Center for the Book, holds this competition with national sponsorship from the Library of Congress and local sponsorship from the David Royte Foundation. Maine students submitted a total of 1,104 entries in this year’s contest.

Letters About Literature is an annual contest. Deadlines for 2016 will be announced in early fall.


About Maine Humanities Council
The Maine Humanities Council is an independent, statewide, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping the people of Maine deepen their understanding of themselves, their communities, and the world. The Council works with volunteer literacy programs, educators, school systems and libraries to promote the power and pleasure of ideas through its programming; the Council also provides grants supporting projects in community history, exhibits, workshops and other areas of study.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this press release do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.