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Letters About Literature

Letters About Literature


Letters About Literature

Letters About Literature is an Indiana reading and writing contest for students in grades 4-12. Students are asked to read a book, poem, essay, or speech and write to the author (living or deceased) about how the work affected how they see themselves or how they see the world. State winners are announced each spring. Indiana’s winners receive cash prizes and are published in an annual anthology. If you are in grades 4-12 and live in Indiana, you are eligible to enter the Indiana Letters About Literature reading and writing contest.

The Indiana Letters About Literature contest is a program of the Indiana Center for the Book, an affiliate of the Library of Congress. The contest is supported by the James and Madeleine McMullen Family Foundation and the Indiana State Library Foundation. To support the Indiana Letters About Literature program, donate here.

Contest Information

The Indiana Letters About Literature contest is now closed for the 2021-2022 school year. Check back for the 2022-2023 contest!

2022  About Literature Awards Ceremony

The 2022 Indiana Letters About Literature Awards Ceremony will be held virtually.

Registration links can be found on your 2022 Indiana Letters About Literature Invitation.

Virtual Ceremony – Thursday, April 21st 7:00-8:00 PM Eastern Via Zoom

Please join us for the 2022 Virtual Ceremony to celebrate our Letters About Literature winners! The event will last approx. 50 minutes via Zoom. In the event you cannot attend, the ceremony will be recorded. Our special guest speaker is:

Margaret Peterson Haddix


Margaret Peterson Haddix grew up on a farm in Ohio. She graduated from Miami University (of Ohio) with degrees in English/journalism, English/creative writing and history. Before her first book was published, she worked as a newspaper copy editor in Fort Wayne, Indiana and a newspaper reporter in Indianapolis. She has since written more than 40 books for kids and teens, including Running Out of Time; Double Identity; Uprising; The Always War; the Greystone Secrets series; the Shadow Children series; the Missing series; the Children of Exile series; the Under Their Skin duology; and The Palace Chronicles. Her books have been honored with New York Times bestseller status, the International Reading Association’s Children’s Book Award; American Library Association Best Book; and numerous state reader’s choice awards. They have been translated into more than twenty different languages. Haddix and her husband, Doug, now live in Columbus, Ohio. They are the parents of two grown kids.

2022 In-person Writing Workshops

Click here for information about the In-Person Writing Workshops at the Indiana State Library.

About the Program

There are three competition levels:

  • Level I: Grades 4-6
  • Level II: Grades 7 & 8
  • Level III: Grades 9-12

Prizes are awarded to the following winners in each level:

  • All winners are published in our Annual Indiana Letters About Literature Anthology
  • First Place: $100.00 + publication
  • Second Place: $50.00 + publication
  • Third Place: $30.00 + publication
  • Honorable Mentions: $20.00  + publication
  • Finalists: publication

All winners are announced in late March and receive an invitation to the Indiana Letters About Literature Awards Ceremony.

LAL supports educational standards established for reading and language arts as recommended by the International Literacy Association and the National Council for the Teaching of English.

History of the Program

In the past, the Letters About Literature program was sponsored by the Library of Congress. The Library of Congress concluded its 27th and final year of the contest with the 2018-2019 program. However, the Library of Congress gave permission to all state Centers for the Book to continue the program on their own if they so desired. Indiana is proud to be able to keep offering this contest for Indiana students. While there will be no national winners, our winners will continue to be honored with cash prizes, publication in our annual anthology and an annual event. Information about past winners is available by visiting Read.gov/letters. Indiana is particularly proud of our two students who took national awards in the Library of Congress program. Yael Epstein won the National Award for Level II in 2019, the last year of the Library of Congress’s involvement in the program, and Paw Soe won an National Honorable Mention for Level III in 2012.

IYRC SW 3-29-2022