Letters About Literature

Polish up your reflective writing skills and write a letter to an author—living or dead—explaining how his or her work changed your view of yourself or your world.


  • Level 1: Grades 4, 5 and 6
  • Level 2: Grades 7 and 8
  • Level 3: Grades 9, 10, 11 and 12

Video Guides

  • Watch our video series for guidance on participating in Letters About Literature and writing your letter. Watch here
  • A video walkthrough of the online submission process for students, teachers and parents is embedded in the instructions section of each online submission form and is also available at this link: https://youtu.be/DEjkwyfTPY4.


  1. Select a fiction or nonfiction book, book series, short story, poem, essay, or speech (excluding song lyrics) that you have read and about which you have strong feelings.
  2. Imagine sitting down with the author of this work and sharing your personal thoughts. Your letter should be personal and sincere, more like a private conversation rather than book report or a fan letter.
  3. Share specific details both about the book and about your reaction to the book. Write honestly and from your own perspective.
  4. Keep in mind that this is a reflective writing contest. Think about what you read and the meaning you gleaned from the author’s words.
  5. Type your letter, which must use at least 400 words and no more than 800 words.
  6. Make sure your letter includes a date, greeting, body, closing, and your name or signature. Please do not include a return address on your letter. Note: All letter elements are included in the total word count.
  7. Read the official rules, and find submission details and your state-specific deadline by selecting your state from the drop-down menu above.
  8. If you are under the age of 13 (as of November 1, 2018), you must must obtain and upload a permission form signed by a parent or legal guardian to be eligible for entry (download permission form here).
  9. Submit your typed letter via the Letters About Literature online submission platform at lettersaboutliterature.submittable.com. You can upload your letter as a PDF or Word document, or you can type your letter directly into the submission form.
  10. Remember to complete all required information fields on the entry form before submitting your letter online.


  1. Find your state’s entry form by selecting your state in the above drop-down menu, or navigate directly to lettersaboutliterature.submittable.com/submit and choose your state’s entry form.
  2. On lettersaboutliterature.submittable.com/submit, click the Submit button next to your state. Once you have selected your state’s entry form, scroll down and click Create your account / Have an account? Sign in.
  3. If you don't have a Submittable account, create a free account by filling out the Create your account form.
  4. Click the Create Account and Continue button to continue with the Letters About Literature submission process.
  5. Read the full submission instructions, including the 2018-19 Letters about Literature rules, before you complete your entry.
  6. Enter your address and contact information before clicking Save Address and Continue.
  7. On the submission page, under “Who is submitting this form?”, choose “a student” or “a parent,” as appropriate.
  8. Complete all required fields for submission, upload or type your letter entry, and click Submit.
    • If you are under 13 before November 1, 2018, you will be prompted to pause, save your progress, and upload a scanned pdf or image of a hand-signed parent permission form. This form is required.
  9. You will receive an email confirming your entry.
  10. Congratulations! You have successfully submitted to the 2018-19 Letters About Literature contest.

For further submission details or questions, please consult the FAQ.

Dear Sana Amanat and G. Willow Wilson:

...I felt that I was able to connect to Kamala, not only through our shared cultures and religion, but also through our shame. Whenever Kamala is questioned about her religious views or cultures, she feels immense embarrassment and a fierce desire to be able to fit in with the rest of her town. Her situation reminded me of my own. The conspicuous looks and double-takes I receive for wearing the hijab and the never-ending questions about my culture and religion put me in the same state as Kamala. I felt alone, an outsider in my own neighborhood...

Amatullah Mir
Hickory Hills, Illinois
2019 National Winner – Level 3