Letters About Literature contest welcomes Washington State students

Washington students are invited to take part in an annual national competition in which they write about a favorite or influential book. The Letters About Literature contest asks students to write letters to their favorite authors, living or dead, and explain how a particular book by the author changed their view of the world or themselves. The contest, sponsored by the Washington Center for the Book, is for school children and home-schooled students in grades 4-12.

“Letters About Literature is a great contest for kids and teens because it encourages them to look within themselves to find the reasons why they were inspired by a favorite book or why it made them think in different ways,” said Secretary of State Kim Wyman. “Students submit so many incredible, heartwarming letters, and I look forward to reading them each year.“

This is the 25th year for the national contest and the 13th year that the Washington State Library has been part of it. The 2017-18 contest marks the first year for the Washington Center for the Book to sponsor the competition. WCFB is a new partnership between The Seattle Public Library and the Washington State Library and is an affiliate of the Library of Congress. WCFB’s mission is to promote literacy and a love of books, reading and libraries. The contest’s other sponsors include the Office of Secretary of State and the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.

Students who enter can write about works of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. They cannot write about music lyrics. Entries in Spanish are welcome and will be translated for the Washington state judges.

Letter writers compete at three levels: Level 1 for grades 4-6; Level 2 for grades 7-8; and Level 3 for grades 9-12. Entrants must be at least 9 years old. One letter from each level from each state is entered into the national competition. Entries will be accepted starting Nov. 2. This year’s contest has only one deadline for all levels – Jan. 12, 2018.

An entry coupon must accompany each letter. Entry coupons and contest guidelines can be found at: https://www.sos.wa.gov/_assets/archives/lal-flyer-jan-12-9×12.pdf. Completed forms should be stapled to the last page of the letter. Entries should be mailed in a large envelope (at least 9 inches by 12 inches)  to:

Letters About Literature Contest
Competition Level
(Indicate Level 1, 2 or 3 on envelope)
Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave. SE
Washington, D.C. 20540-4921

National winners receive a $1,000 cash prize and national honor winners in each competition level receive $200 in cash.

The state’s winners will be announced in April. A ceremony to honor the Washington champions, runners-up and honorable mentions will be held at the State Capitol in Olympia later in the spring.

Nearly 3,000 Washington students submitted letters for the 2016-17 competition. Seventy-one schools across the state had entries.

For information about the contest, please visit the State Library’s webpage: https://www.sos.wa.gov/library/lal/Letters-About-Literature-2018.aspx, or contact Nono Burling at (360) 570-5576 or nono.burling@sos.wa.gov.

- Washington’s Office of Secretary of State