Letters About Literature

Published: 12/15/2014 6:50 AM

Letters About Literature (LAL)​ is an annual reading and writing contest for students in grades 4-12 sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Students are asked to read a book, poem or speech and write to that author (living or dead) about how the book affected them personally. 


Letters About Literature

Sponsored in association with Affiliate State Centers for the Book

Theme: How did an author’s work change your view of the world or yourself?

Deadlines: Entry must be postmarked by 

  • Level 3 (high school, grades 9-12) December 15, 2014
  • Level 2 (middle school, grades 7 & 8) January 15, 2015 
  • Level 1 (upper elementary, grades 4-6 ) January 15, 2015

State & National  Awards

  • Each state center has its own panel of judges who will select the top essayists in the state. State Winners will receive a cash award and advance to the national level judging.  
  • A panel of national judges for the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress will select 1 (one) National Winner per competition level to receive a $1,000 cash award. The judges will also select 1 (one) National Honor winner per competition level to receive a $200 cash award.

Mail your entry to:

Letters About Literature Contest

P.O. Box 5308

Woodbridge, VA 22194

Need some tips to get started? Not sure how to write a personal letter? Visit read.gov/letters to read winning letters from past competitions. 

P.S.  Remember, 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!


Cindy Parker
Office of Next-Generation Learners
500 Mero Street, 19th Floor CPT
Frankfort, KY 40601
(502) 564-9850
Fax (502) 564-9848