Pennsylvania Center for the Book honors 2018 'Letters About Literature' winners

May 08, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. —The Pennsylvania Center for the Book recently recognized the Pennsylvania winners of the 2018 Letters About Literature Contest. The annual contest invites students in three grade levels to write letters to authors — living or dead — about how an author’s words affected them or changed their world view.

The Level I winner in grades four through six, Owen A. Wagner of Elizabethtown, was honored for his letter to Erin Entrada Kelly about “Hello Universe.” The Level II winner from grades seven and eight, Claire Venanzi of Pottstown, wrote her letter to Misty Copeland about “Life in Motion.” And the Level III winner, representing grades nine through 12, Ellen Poplavska of Allison Park, was honored for her letter to Stephen King about “Mr. Mercedes.” Winners receive $200 and will be honored at a celebratory luncheon with their families on Saturday, June 2, at the Nittany Lion Inn at Penn State’s University Park campus.

An additional honor of high distinction is also being awarded to Level 1 contest participant Clare A. Troll of Somerset, who will receive $50, for her letter to E. B. White about “Charlotte’s Web.”

The Pennsylvania Center for the Book’s 2018 Letters About Literature contest judges included Alia C. Gant, diversity resident librarian, Penn State University Libraries, University Park, Pennsylvania; Linda Oatman High, author of books for children and teens, journalist and playwright, Narvon, Pennsylvania; Theresa M. Hoover, assistant professor of education, Wilson College, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania; Pat Hughes, author of books for children and young adults, Narberth, Pennsylvania; and Erica King, curriculum specialist, Penn State University Libraries, University Park, Pennsylvania.

The Letters About Literature Contest is sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. For participation guidelines, visit Letters About Literature at the Library of Congress at

The Center for the Book was established in 1977 as a public-private partnership to use the resources of the Library of Congress to stimulate public interest in books and reading. Since 2000, the Pennsylvania Center for the Book has been sponsored by the Penn State University Libraries.

In addition to providing space and administrative support for the Center’s offices, the University Libraries and the Center’s co-sponsor, Dean of University Libraries and Scholarly Communications Barbara I. Dewey, provide in-kind contributions that include staff and faculty time as well as the Pennsylvania Center for the Book alcove in 201-A Pattee Library.

Along with Letters About Literature, the Pennsylvania Center for the Book also administers the Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize; Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award; Public Poetry Project; A Baker’s Dozen: The Best Children’s Books for Family Literacy; Poems from Life; and the interactive Literary & Cultural Heritage Map of Pennsylvania.

For more information about the Letters About Literature contest in Pennsylvania, contact Nicole Miyashiro, editor, at, or visit the Pennsylvania Center for the Book website.

  • PA Center for the Book logo
    IMAGE: Penn State

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Last Updated May 31, 2018