Letters About Literature National Essay Contest

The Center for the Book invites Minnesota’s 4th through 12th grade students to enter the 23rd annual writing contest.

Letters About LiteratureSeptember 14, 2014 –The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, as the Minnesota Center for the Book, along with local co-sponsors the Minnesota Council of Teachers of English and Common Good Books, calls all Minnesota students in grades 4-12 to share their love of literature.

The 23rd annual contest 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. Letters About Literature asks student readers to write a letter to an author describing how his or her work touched their life in a personal way. Authors can be of any genre or time period, living or deceased, and can come from any country.

The contest focuses on reader response and reflective writing and has three competition levels: Level 1 for students in grades 4-6; Level 2 for students in grades 7 and 8; and Level 3 for students in grades 9-12. State level judges choose the top letter writers from each of the three competition levels who will advance to the National Level Judging. Prizes will be awarded to the top three winners of each competition level.

A panel of national judges for the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress will select one National Winner per competition level to receive a $1,000 cash award. The judges will also select one National Honor per competition level to receive a $200 cash award.

Entries in each state will be assessed on three criteria: content, or the writer’s achievement in addressing the contest theme; exposition, or the writer’s use of language skills; and voice, the writer’s style and originality of expression. Last year’s contest attracted 1,179 participants from Minnesota!

There are two deadlines for the competition:

December 4, 2015 is the deadline for Level 3: grades 9-12

January 11, 2016 is the deadline for Level 1: grades 4-6, & Level 2: grades 7 & 8

Click here for official guidelines and last year’s winning letters.

Leave a Comment