Alabama Libraries help co-sponsor Writing Contest

Ashanka Kumari

The Alabama Center for the Book, housed at the University of Alabama’s libraries, is co-sponsoring “Letters About Literature,” a state and national reading and writing contest for schoolchildren in fourth through 12th grade.

The contest asks students to select a fiction or nonfiction book, short story, poem, essay or speech and write a personal letter to the author of the book in which they explore their reactions to the piece of literature they read.

“Students write a letter to their favorite author explaining how the author’s work influenced his or her life,” said Donna Adcock, public relations director for the Alabama Center for the Book.

Letters About Literature is a national reading promotion program of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, presented in partnership with Target and affiliate state Centers for the Book, according to the contest website.

There are three levels of entry. Level one consists of fourth through sixth graders; level two is made up of seventh through eighth grade students and level three students range from ninth through 12th graders.

The deadline for entering the contest is Dec. 10 and all submissions must be sent by mail. For more information regarding this contest, visit or

The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress will select six national winners—two from each level—and 12 national honorable mention winners, comprised of four students from each level. The national winners will receive a $500 Target gift card and secure a $10,000 LAL grant in his or her name for a community or school library so that others can continue to experience personal relationships with authors and the stories they tell.

The national honorable mention winners will each receive a $100 Target gift card and secure a $1,000 LAL Reading Promotion Grant in their name for his/her community or school library.

Along with this, there are different length requirements for each of the different levels of entry. Level one entries must be between 100 and 400 words; level two entries must be between 300 and 600 words; level three entries must be between 500 and 800 words.

The Alabama Center for the Book moved to the UA campus this year after being housed at Auburn University for the last 10 years.

“The contest encourages students to write honestly as if they were having a conversation with the author,” Adcock said. “They would be reflecting on the different characters and they may feel bonded to a character in the book.”