The annual Letters About Literature competition encourages students in grades 4-12 to read a book, poem, or speech and write to that author (living or dead) about how the book affected them. Sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, Letters About Literature provides a creative way for students to engage with books while also providing teachers a method for incorporating the contest into classroom curriculum.
Letters About Literature is sponsored nationally by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress and is organized in Virginia by the Virginia Center for the Book.
- 2016-2017 Winners and Honorable Mentions (pdf)
- Annnouncing the 2015-2016 Winners and Honorable Mentions (pdf)
- 2014-2015 Winners Announced (pdf)
- We love the Envelope Art also!
Teacher’s Guide (pdf) with tips for connecting Letters About Literature to curriculum
Helpful tips on reflective writing, for teachers (pdf)
The 2018 contest will open in November 2017.
Who is eligible?
Any student throughout Virginia in grades 4-12 enrolled in public or private schools or home schooled. Students may enter independently or through a school or library.
Guidelines and application forms will be posted here, upon availability.
How many winners will there be?
At the state level, independent judges select three state winners, one each at Level I (grades 4, 5, 6); Level II (grades 7, 8); and Level III (grades 9, 10, 11, 12). We also award Honorable Mentions.
What do the winners receive?
The three state winners in Virginia will receive $100 cash, a book donated in their honor to their school or local library, and advance to national judging. In addition, they are invited to be a guest author at the March Opening Ceremony of the Virginia Festival of the Book in Charlottesville.
How are the letters judged?
In Virginia, independent judges review letters submitted by Virginia students, with student information removed. Winning letters and honorable mention letters are announced here in late March/early April.
At the national level, a Center for the Book in the Library of Congress panel review the top letters from all participating states, with announcements usually in May at the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress website.
Note to Teachers and Parents
Letters About Literature supports national standards for teaching language arts and reading as recommended by the National Council of Teachers of English and the International Reading Association.