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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 2023-2024 contest cycle. Congratulations to our winners! We encourage you to check back in fall of 2024 for our next cycle.

2024 Letters About Literature Awards Ceremony

The 2024 Indiana Letters About Literature Awards Ceremony will be held virtually.
Directions to attend the virtual ceremony have been emailed to winning students, parents, and teacher. Please reach out to Suzanne Walker at if you have questions.

Our special guest speaker for 2024 is:


Rob Harrell

Rob Harrell wrote and drew the syndicated daily comic strip “Big Top” through 2007 and currently creates the long-running strip Adam@Home. Harrell wrote and illustrated the graphic novel Monster on the Hill, published by Top Shelf. Monster was the inspiration for the animated movie Rumble (2021) from Paramount Pictures.

He also wrote the Life of Zarf trilogy of hybrid novels published by Dial Books for Young Readers. Harrell’s next book is Wink, the funny but heartfelt story of Ross Maloy, a seventh-grader dealing with a horrible diagnosis and cancer treatments – all while trying to just blend in and survive middle school. Popcorn, Harrell’s next book will be out in the fall of 2024. As an illustrator, Harrell has worked with clients including Mad, Simon and Schuster, American Greetings, Time, Inc. and Volkswagen. His figurative paintings have been shown in solo shows in San Francisco, Austin and Indianapolis. Rob lives in Zionsville, Indiana with his wife Amber and their two dogs, Cooper and Kasey.

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 by 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 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 4-11-2024