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Letters About Literature

Letters About Literature

Introduction

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 will begin accepting entries via our online platform on November 12, 2019. The last day to submit entries will be January 13, 2020.

2020 Youth Literary Day & Awards Ceremony

All Indiana Letters About Literature winners will be invited to the Indiana Youth Literary Day & Awards Ceremony sponsored by the James & Madeleine McMullan Family Foundation on April 18, 2020. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in creative writing workshops presented by Indiana writers and will be honored at a ceremony. All winners in attendance will receive free books and will be invited to an exclusive book-signing reception following the ceremony.

About the Indiana Program

There are three competition levels:

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

Prizes in Indiana are awarded to the following winners in each level:

  • All Indiana winners are published in our Annual Letters About Literature Anthology
  • First Place: $100.00
  • Second Place: $50.00
  • Third Place: $25.00
  • Honorable Mentions (Multiple Honorable Mentions are selected each year. Honorable Mentions do not receive prize money, but are invited to the Indiana Literary Day & Awards Ceremony and are published in our Anthology.)

All Indiana winners are announced in late March and receive an invitation to the Indiana Literary Day & Awards Ceremony

LAL supports educational standards established for reading and language arts as recommended by the International Reading 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 10-9-2019