25th Annual Writing Competition
Read. Be Inspired. Write Back.
Polish up your reflective writing skills and write a letter to an author – living or dead – explaining how his or her work changed your view of yourself or your world.
Enter One of Three Competition Levels:
Level 1: Grades 4, 5 and 6
Level 2: Grades 7 and 8
Level 3: Grades 9, 10, 11 and 12
Deadline (all competition levels): January 12, 2018
- Select a book that you have read and about which you have strong feelings.
- Imagine sitting down with the author of this work and sharing your personal
thoughts. Your letter should be personal and sincere, more like a private
conversation rather than a book report or fan letter.
- Share specific details both about the book and about your reaction to
- Keep in mind that
this is a reflective writing contest and that means you need to think about what
you read and the meaning you gleaned from the author’s words.
- Type your
- Complete the entry coupon and staple it to your entry.
- Enclose the
letter in a large, flat envelope 8’ x 10” (or larger). Please do not use
letter-sized envelopes. Teacher’s note: please mail class sets in
one large envelope.
- Indicate the competition level on the envelope – Level 1, or Level
2 or Level 3 – depending on your grade. If you are submitting for more than one
level, use a separate envelope for each level.
- Mail your entry to: Letters
About Literature Library of Congress,
101 Independence Avenue SE,
Washington, D.C 20540-4921
participation certificate at read.gov/letters (available November 1, 2017).
Literature is a reflective writing competition sponsored by the Library of
Congress Center for the Book and presented in association with affiliate State
Centers for the Book with funding provided by the Dollar General Literacy
Teachers: Please go to read.gov/letters to review the online teacher’s resource page for
specific tips and to download the free Teacher’s Guide. Teachers should submit class sets in one envelope rather than submitting letters individually in single
All entries will be judged on the following criteria:
Audience. Is the essay in letter format and does it address the work of the author? Entries that are not in letter format and are written about the author, rather than to the
author will be eliminated.
Purpose. Does the essay address the contest theme of how an author's work changed the reader's view of self or the world? Is personal
reflection evident in the letter? Entries that are book summaries or fan letters
will be eliminated.
Grammatical Conventions. Is the essay written
in a clear and organized way with specific details to support the essay's main
ideas? Single paragraph letters with significant grammatical errors will be
Originality. Does the essay express ideas creatively, communicating
a unique or powerful point of view? Letters that are formulaic without evidence
of a writer's voice will be eliminated.
Letters that meet these criteria advance
to state level judging.
Judges selected by affiliate Centers for the Book
choose the top letters in each competition level for their state and coordinate
recognition ceremonies and awards. The first-place state-level winners advance
to the national level judging.
Each state recognizes and awards prizes to
winning participants. The Library of Congress will announce all National and
National Honor Winners and awards and will list all state-level winners on its
- National Winners in each competition level will receive a $1,000 cash
- National Honor Winners in each competition level will receive a $200
Check read.gov/letters for
details on state awards and ceremonies.
: Each letter must be accompanied by an entry coupon. Staple
the coupon to the last page of the letter. Affiliate Centers for the Book will
contact State Winners using this information, so be sure entry coupons are
complete and legible! Letters without a coupon will be eliminated.
Class Set of
Letter: Teachers must submit their name and contact information with a list of
the names of each student submitting a letter. This list does not take the place
of entry coupons. Each student's letter must have its own entry coupon. Mail
class sets in a flat envelope, 8" x 10" or larger.
Ownership: All letters
become the property of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.
Please keep a copy of your entries, as no letters will be returned.
Address: Letters About Literature Library of Congress, 101 Independence Avenue SE, Washington, D.C 20540-4921