Students Invited to Participate in Literature Competition

The Texas Center for the Book has launched the 2019-2020 Letters About Literature Texas contest, a program that invites Texas students in grades four through 12 to respond to authors of books or poetry who have touched their lives. The contest opened November 4, 2019 and entries are accepted through December 17. 

Participants select a book, book series, essay, play poem, short story or speech that has made a lasting impact on their lives. They then write a personal letter to the author that reflects how they have been changed, inspired or motivated by the work they selected. State winners receive $100 and a trip to the 2020 Texas Library Association Conference.

All submissions for the 2020 contest must be submitted on the new online submission platform ( by 5 p.m. on December 17, 2019 (CST). A permission form ( is required for all students who will be younger than 13 on November 4, 2019.

To learn more about the contest, how to submit, and to view winning entries from previous years, visit The website also features an Educator Resources page including printable bookmarks and student handouts, participation certificates, key dates, permission forms, and a step-by-step teaching guide featuring writing prompts. The site also includes a Frequently Asked Questions page, student and teacher submission guidelines, letters from past winner, videos from authors, and the official contest rules.

After administering the contest for 27 years, the Library of Congress (LOC), has decided to give state centers full control over their Letters About Literature programs. Texas is committed to continuing the contest at the state level using the LOC’s rubric, standards and judging framework. Although there will not be a national prize, Texas tradition awards a $100 cash prize to winners in all three levels, as well as providing travel assistance to the LAL Texas award ceremony at the Texas Library Association Annual Conference.

Established in 1987, the Center for the Book seeks to stimulate public interest in books, reading, literacy and libraries. The Center builds partnerships with library professionals, educators, authors, publishers and booksellers who provide support to the mission of promoting a love of literature throughout the Lone Star State. The Texas Center for the Book is under the direction of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission at the Lorenzo De Zavala State Archives and Library Building in Austin, Texas.

For more information on Texas Center for the Book initiatives, a project of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, visit, contact Ms. Manley at, or call 512-936-2505.

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