Letters About Literature
Call for student entries!
Accepting letters now through Jan. 11, 2019!
Humanities Tennessee and The Library of Congress invite Tennessee students in grades 4 through 12 to enter the 26th annual Letters About Literature national writing contest.
Polish your reflective writing skills and write a letter to an author—living or dead— explaining how their work changed your view of yourself or your world.
Enter One of the Three Competition Levels
- Level 1: Grades 4, 5 and 6
- Level 2: Grades 7 and 8
- Level 3: Grades 9, 10, 11 and 12
Letters About Literature satisfies the Tennessee English/Language Arts Curriculum and Common Core Standards. If you’d like more information on ways you can adapt this program to Common Core Standards for Writing, download this teacher’s guide from the national Letters About Literature office.
Humanities Tennessee has its own panel of judges who select the top entries in the state. State winners at each level will receive a cash award from Humanities Tennessee:
- 1st at each level receives $100 and advances to the national judging
- 2nd place receives $50
- 3rd place receives $25
The 1st place winner in Level 3 will also be awarded a full scholarship to attend the TN Young Writers’ Workshop in 2019!
The Library of Congress will announce all National and National Honorable Mention Winners and will publish all state-level winners on its website.
National Winners in each competition level will receive a $2,000 cash award.
National Honorable Mention Winners in each competition level will receive a $500 cash award. Check read.gov/letters for details on state awards and ceremonies.
Be sure to read the official rules prior to submission. To familiarize yourself with the online submission platform, please watch the video below.
TEACHERS: Please visit read.gov/letters/teachers to review the online teacher’s resource page for specific tips and to download the free Teacher’s Guide. Teachers may submit class sets online by using one account and completing the online submission form for each entry
Students Under 13: Students under the age of 13 (as of November 1, 2018) must obtain and upload signed consent from their parent/legal guardian to be eligible for entry. The downloadable consent form can be found at read.gov/letters. Entries by/ for students under the age of 13 without a signed, uploaded form will be ineligible and discarded.
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.
SUBMIT BY MAIL
Complete an entry coupon for each letter and mail to:
Letters About Literature
807 Main Street Ste. B
Nashville, TN 37206
Ownership: Please keep a copy of your entries, as no letters will be returned.
If you have questions about this year’s LAL contest, contact Patrick or call 615.770.0006 x8019. The program is presented by Humanities Tennessee, home of the Tennessee Center for the Book in affiliation with the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.
For questions at the national level, please contact lettersaboutliterature@ loc.gov or Anne Holmes at (202) 707-3498.
2018 LAL Tennessee State Winners
Level 1 (4th-6th Grade)
- 1st Place: Serenity Donnell, Christiana Elementary School, Christiana
Click here to read Serenity’s letter to Francesco Adamo about Iqbal
- 2nd Place: Annabelle Gary, Hutchison School, Memphis
- 3rd Place (Tie): Nuriyah Bilal, Hutchison School, Memphis
- 3rd Place (Tie): Bebe Falkner, Christiana Middle School, Christiana
Level 2 (7th-8th Grade)
- 1st Place: Hamna Tameez, Hutchison School, Memphis
Click here to read Hamna’s letter to Andrea Davis Pinkney about The Red Pencil
- 2nd Place: Lillie Hollabagh, Hutchison School, Memphis
- 3rd Place: Minnu Reddivari, White Station Middle School, Memphis
Level 3 (9th-12th Grade)
- 1st Place: Sukanya Barman, White Station High School, Memphis
Click here to read Sukanya’s letter to Laurie Halse Anderson about Catalyst
- 2nd Place: Xinyi Tan, White Station High School, Memphis
- 3rd Place: Name withheld upon request.
Past National Letters About Literature winners from Tennessee
- 2018: Sukanya Barman was a National Honor winner for her letter to Laurie Halse Anderson about Catalyst.
- 2010: Siori Koerner for her letter to J.D. Salinger about Catcher in the Rye. Siori earned Christiana Middle School in Christiana a $10,000 reading grant from Target.
- 2010: Malli Swamy won a National Honorable Mention for her letter to Paolo Coelho about The Alchemist. Malli earned White Station High School in Memphis a $1,000 reading grant.
- 2009: Caroline Hoskins for her letter to Cynthia Lord about Rules. Caroline earned St. Mary’s Episcopal School in Memphis a $10,000 reading grant.
- 2008: Ayesha Usmani for her letter to Amy Tan about The Joy Luck Club. Ayesha earned White Station High School in Memphis a $10,000 reading grant.
- 2006: Martha Park for her letter to J.D. Salinger about Catcher in the Rye. Martha was invited to read her letter at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C.