Letters About Literature

Until 2019, Letters About Literature was a national reading and writing contest for students in grades 4-12, run through the Library of Congress at the national level, and by Nevada Humanities at the state level. Students across the country were asked to read a book, poem, essay, or speech and write to the author (living or dead) about how the book affected them personally. Letters were then judged on state and national levels with Nevada winners announced in May of each year and national winners announced by the Library of Congress in late spring.

The Library of Congress recently decided to step away from its administration of Letters About Literature with the conclusion of the 2019 program year. They have discontinued support for this program to the states, including Nevada. The Library of Congress will now focus on developing new reading programs that fulfill its new strategic plan. This program has touched the lives of thousands of students in Nevada and sparked a lifelong love of reading among students. At Nevada Humanities, we have been delighted to provide this meaningful program to Nevada youth and we are disappointed that the Library of Congress has chosen to discontinue the program. If a new program arises to replace Letters About Literature, we will make that publicly known. 

2019 Letters About Literature Winning Letters

Congratulations to the 2019 Letters About Literature winners from Nevada. The following students won first place in their competition level.

Robert Chondro, Level 1 winner, from Hyde Park Middle School in Las Vegas for his letter to Norton Jester, author of The Phantom Tollbooth.
Ellie Lakatos, Level 2 winner, from Lawrence and Heidi Canarelli Middle School in Las Vegas for her letter to Maya Angelou, author of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
Gavin Markovic, Level 3 winner, from Veterans Tribute Career and Technical Academy in Las Vegas, for his letter to Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird.

Nevada’s 2019 Letters About Literature winners includes the letter written by high school student Gavin Markovic to author Harper Lee, a letter to Maya Angelou by middle-schooler Ellie Lakatos, and a letter to Norton Jester by elementary student, Robert Chondro. These letters can be found on the Double Down blog.

Nevada's first place winners will advance and be judged at the national level by The Center for the Book at the Library of Congress. National-level judging concludes in late spring 2019. Read about the 2019 Letters About Literature program and the winners by downloading our press release. Next year’s competition will be announced in Fall 2019. Visit read.gov/letters for details on national awards and ceremonies.

2018 Letters About Literature Winning Letters

Nevada’s 2018 Letters About Literature winners included letters written by high school student Gus Pappas to author Connor Franta, a letter to Plato by middle-schooler Katelyn Lee, and fifth-grader Elise Choi’s letter to Victor Hugo. These letters can be found on our Double Down blog.

Read about the 2018 Letters About Literature program and winners by downloading our press release.

Nevada Reads and Nevada Center for the Book are programs of Nevada Humanities and are made possible with support from Nevada State Library, Archives, and Public Records; the Institute of Museum and Library Services; and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Library of Congress Center for the Book promotes books and libraries, literacy and reading, and poetry and literature. Library of Congress programs include a diverse range of events, series, lectures, partnerships, prizes, contests, and awards.