Reading and Writing » Letters About Literature Contest

Letters About Literature Contest

Library of Congress logo

The Letters About Literature Contest is held September through December or January and is sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

Participating students write a personal, reflective letter (not a fan letter or a book report!) about a favorite fiction or nonfiction book, or a short story, poem, essay or speech, about which he or she has strong feelings.

Entry blanks are available at the Letters About Literature website, but interested students should talk to their English teachers. The contest has rules which, if not followed exactly, will result in immediate disqualification, so it is important to follow the rules very carefully. Students' letters will be submitted before winter break. Be sure to turn in your entry before the announced deadline.

See contest tips at the Letters About Literature website and read the winning letters from previous years' contests.

Letters About Literature Contest

Deadline for submissions: usually mid-January, to be announced


You can download a sample application from 2017-2018.

Palms Students Selected for 2016 California State Competition

Letters about Literature finalists
Genevieve Marino, Navy Casady, Tuesday White, and Gabriella Frangiyyeh

7th Graders Shine !

trophy, courtesy lakeshorelearning

Many seventh grade Honors English students enter the Letters about Literature Contest each year.

In 2016, only 44 out of 1117 letters advanced to the California state level, and 4 of them were from Palms students!

  • Navy F. Casady
  • Gabriella Frangiyyeh - finished in the top 10 state-wide!
  • Genevieve Marino
  • Tuesday White

In 2014, Palms student Layla Arjomand was the California State winner for grades 7-8! She read I Am Malala, the autobiography of Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl famous for her campaign for educational rights for girls (and who later won a Nobel Peace Prize).

Palms student Caitlin Chen was a California State semi-finalist after reading the popular young adult novel Maniac Magee and writing to author Jerry Spinelli. The California Center for the Book forwarded Caitlin's letter to Jerry Spinelli and he wrote back to her.

Congratulations to the Palms students who participated and who advanced so far in the contest!