Letters About Literature

A national reading-writing contest for grades 4-12.


Kyle Volland
Program Assistant
(207) 773-5051


Letters About Literature

Read. Be inspired. Write back.

Letters About Literature is an annual, national reading and writing program offered by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. To enter, students in grades 4-12 write a letter to the author (living or dead) of their favorite book, poem, or short story, explaining how that author’s work changed their way of thinking about the world or themselves.

There are three competition levels: Level I for children grades 4-6; Level II for grades 7 and 8, and Level III for students in grades 9-12. Teachers play a central role, using Letters About Literature as an assignment and working intensely with the students to refine their thoughts and improve their writing skills.

Winning letters tend to be personal, self-reflective, and deep-thinking, relating ideas, characters, and lessons learned to how the reader views or navigates through the world. Do you look up to a character for something that they’ve done? What about what that character has gone through—have you seen that in your own life? What parts of your book, story, or poem do you see in your life here in Maine? Has that made an impact on how you think or act?

Each state chooses a winner in each level, and the Library of Congress chooses a national winner from the state winners in each level. State winners receive a cash prize of $100. National winners receive a prize of $2,000.

Please read the official entry guidelines and information about the program.