Woman holding books


Letters About Literature

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


Kyle Volland
Program Assistant
(207) 773-5051


How Do I Enter?

Teacher and students
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 letter and the required entry coupon from official Guidelines document to:

Letters About Literature
Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave. SE
Washington, DC 20540-4921

Contest Deadlines

The deadline is January 12, 2018, for all levels. 

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Offered by:

Dollar General Literacy Foundation Logo



The 23rd annual writing contest for young readers is made possible by a generous grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, with additional support from gifts to the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, which promotes the contest through its affiliate Centers for the Book, state libraries and other organizations.

Support for the program in Maine is generously provided by the David Royte Fund.