Letters About Literature

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


Kyle Volland
Program Assistant
(207) 773-5051


How Do I Enter?

The deadline to enter was January 11, 2019

Step One

Determine your competition level. Letters About Literature welcomes entries from all readers — reluctant as well as enthusiastic — on three levels of competition. Entrants must be at least 9 years old and fall into one of the following categories:

  • Level 1 — Grades 4–6
  • Level 2 — Grades 7-8
  • Level 3 — Grades 9-12

Step Two

Select and reflect! Choose a fiction or nonfiction book that really resonated for you. Explore those feelings and why you reacted the way you did during or after reading the author’s work. Consider these questions when writing your letter:

  • What did the book show you about your world that you never noticed before?
  • What did you realize about yourself as a result of reading this book?
  • Why was this work meaningful to you?
  • How do you know the author’s work influenced you?

Step Three

Write a persuasive letter stating your opinion and supporting that opinion with specific details. A letter is less formal than an essay or research paper. Write honestly and in your own voice, as if you were having a conversation with the author. Those are the best letters to read and the most fun to write! Keep in mind these two tips:

  • Correspond, don’t compliment! Your letter should inform rather than flatter the author. All FAN letters will be eliminated!
  • Do not summarize the book’s plot! The author wrote the book and knows what happened. What the author doesn’t know is how the book affected you and why it did so. Only YOU can explain that unique relationship you experienced while reading the book.

Step Four

Submit your letters via the online platform on the Library of Congress website.

Because every entry is a potential winner on the national level, the Library of Congress requires participants to give permission for publication as a part of the submission process. Any student entering the contest that is under the age of 13 on 11/1/18, is required to upload a permission slip hand-signed by their parent or guardian at the time of submission.


View the full contest rules and guidelines for the 2018-2019 competition.
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