A writing contest for youth, grades 4 through 12

The Washington Center for the Book, in cooperation with The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, invites young readers in grades 4 through 12 to enter Letters About Literature, a national reading-writing contest.

To enter, students read a book and write a 400 to 800 word letter to the author (living or dead) about how the book changed their view of the world or themselves. Students may write about works of fiction, nonfiction, a short story, poem, essay, or speech.

Letter writers compete at three levels:

Level 1: Grades 4-6
Level 2: Grades 7-8
Level 3: Grades 9-12

State winners, runners up and finalists, announced in April each year, will be honored at the Letters About Literature Awards Ceremony at the State Capitol in Olympia. The top winner in each category will receive a $125 cash award and go on to the national competition at the Library of Congress.

How to Enter

(Please note that the process and parameters have changed for the 2018-2019 contest)

For Teachers

Letters About Literature 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.

Teacher Guide to Letters About Literature
What would you say? – Writing prompt
Video tutorials from the Library of Congress for teachers and students

More About the Program

The 26th annual writing contest for young readers is made possible by a generous grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, with additional support from gifts to the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, which promotes the contest through its affiliate Centers for the Book, state libraries and other organizations.

To learn more about the Letters About Literature contest at the national level, visit the Letters About Literature national homepage

Previous Winners: See winning letters and list of finalists in Washington state.

For more info: wacenterforthebook.org