Letters about literature contest

The Maine Center for the Book of the Maine Humanities Council in Portland is the statewide sponsor of Letters About Literature, a national writing contest. Now in its third year in Maine, the contest is open to students from grades 4-12, and invites participants to write a short letter to an author living or dead explaining how that author’s book changed their way of viewing the world and themselves. The deadline for entries is December 5.

The letters offer a chance for student readers to reflect on the work of their favorite authors, and think about why reading their work was such an engaging experience. According to Dorothy Schwartz, Director of the Maine Humanities Council, “We had a tremendous response from around Maine for last year’s contest, with 765 students taking part. The Council considers this a great opportunity to bring recognition to young readers across Maine”. All students who participated last year received a dollar coupon redeemable at any of twelve bookstores throughout Maine.

This year there will be three contest divisions: Level I for students in grades 4-6; Level II for students in grades 7-8 and Level III 9-12. There are cash awards of $500 for national winners at the three levels; the three Maine winners will receive cash awards of $100. A panel of distinguished Maine citizens will review Maine finalists and select the winners in the spring. The contest is sponsored nationally by The Weekly Reader Corporation and the Center for the Book of the Library of Congress.

The contest is free and open to all young readers. Entries can be made through schools or as individuals, and the postmark deadline for entries is December 5. For more information, visit the contest website for the Library of Congress loc.gov/loc/cfbook/ or www.mainehumanities.org or call the Maine Humanities Council at 773-5051. Established in 1976, the Maine Humanities Council is a private nonprofit and an independent affiliate of the National Endowment of the Humanities.

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