Letters About Literature Writing Contest

Miranda Canniff, Reporter

Have you ever read a book, a poem, or a play that has changed your life? Have you ever wished that you could write a letter to an author explaining how they’ve affected you? If you answered yes to either of these questions, then you’re in luck.


The 23rd Annual Writing Contest for 2015-16, sponsored by The Library of Congress National Reading and Writing Promotion Program, is open to all students from grades 4-12. This year’s contest theme is “How did an author’s work change your view of the world or yourself?” To enter, students must submit a personal letter to an author of their choice reflecting on how the author has influenced them personally.


The three levels of the competition are Level One(grades 4-6), Level Two(grades 7-8), and Level Three(grades 9-12). Submissions for Level 1 and 2 are due by January 11, 2016, and applicants in Level 3  must have their letters mailed by December 4, 2015 in order to qualify. Competition entries will be accepted beginning November 2, 2015.


Letters should be written in letter format and mailed with an entry coupon by the designated deadlines. Awards will be given out for winners from every state. National winners in each level of competition will be awarded a $1000 cash prize, and National Honor winners will receive a prize of $200.


Entries will be assessed in a 2 round process. In the first round, the essays will be graded on format and purpose. If the letter meets the criteria then it will advance to round 2, where letters will be judged on grammar and originality. Entries that meet these standards will advance to state level judging.


This writing contest is made possible by a grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation as well as additional support from Center for the Book in the Library of Congress program.


For more information or to pick up an entry coupon, visit the North Kohala Public Library. If you’re not sure on how to write your letter, you can visit the contest website for ideas and inspiration.