Pa. Center for the Book seeks submissions for Letters About Literature contest

October 23, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Center for the Book has announced the 2019 Letters About Literature contest, a nationwide event sponsored by the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress. The contest invites students in three grade levels to write persuasive letters to authors — living or dead — about how a specific piece of literature, be it fiction, nonfiction, a poem or play, affected them or changed their worldview.

Students in grades four to 12 are invited to submit to the annual Letters About Literature writing contest, and each state will recognize and award prizes to its winners. Librarians and teachers are encouraged to take advantage of this valuable exercise in reading, reflection and writing by motivating students to write and submit their very best work.

Pennsylvania winners will receive a $200 prize and celebratory lunch with his/her family and the other winners’ families near Penn State's University Park campus.

Entries for the 2019 contest will be accepted online only beginning Nov 1. The deadline for entries is Jan. 11, 2019. The three qualifying levels include:

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

With the new, online-only submission process, the following guidelines apply to comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act:

  • Participants under 13 years of age as of Nov. 1, 2018, must also submit a permission form signed by a parent/guardian with their online entry.
  • Letters must be a minimum of 400 words and a maximum of 800 words.
  • Entries must be submitted online by Friday, Jan. 11, 2019.

Official rules and guidelines are available on the Letters About Literature information page on the Library of Congress website; review the list of 2018-19 documents and select Pennsylvania for more information. The annual nationwide Letters About Literature contest is sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

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 Patrick and Candice Malloy Exhibit Room in 201-A Pattee Library.

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,, where the 2019 contest winners will be announced in the spring.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated October 23, 2018