The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, in partnership with and in cooperation with affiliate state centers for the book, invites readers in grades 4 through 12 to enter Letters About Literature, a national reading-writing contest. To enter, readers write a personal letter to an author, living or dead, from any genre– fiction or nonfiction, contemporary or classic, explaining how that author’s work changed the student’s way of thinking about the world or themselves. Each year the Ohio Letters About Literature contest is coordinated and planned by Timothy Phillips, Subject Department Librarian and Amy Dawson, Manager, Literature Department/Ohio Center for the Book at Cleveland Public Library.
On Saturday, May 13, 2017, Ohio Center for the Book held its annual Letters About Literature awards ceremony. Students, their family, and guests gathered in the Louis Stokes Wing Auditorium at Cleveland Public Library (CPL) for the ceremony. One of the highlights of the program is the reading, by each student, of his or her winning letter. As Mr. Phillips observes, in the art of writing one often bears the soul, articulating “pain, fear, isolation, loss, rejection, disillusionment, a desire of love, a prayer for peace. In the letters they penned, students in the Letters About Literature program wrote to an author or poet who inspired them, someone they felt would understand.” During the Letters About Literature award ceremony each year the students’ letter readings never fail to move audience members. Having coordinated the Ohio Letters About Literature program over the years, Mr. Phillips says, “Beyond a talent for writing well advanced beyond their years, Ohio students in the Letters About Literature program demonstrate they are not without a character trait which many others admire–that of courage.”
Our deepest thanks are extended to each and every teacher and parent who sponsored a student. We’d also like to thank the judges of this year’s contest: Linda Feagler, Senior Editor, Ohio Magazine; Shayna Muckerheide, Manager, CPL Lorain Branch and William Spencer, CPL Librarian, docent and concierge. Finally, we thank Cathy Gourley and the staff of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, Dollar General Literacy Foundation, and Friends of the Cleveland Public Library for their support.
To read the 2017 winning letters, click here. Learn more about the Ohio’s 2016/2017 Letters About Literature contest–click here to download/view the awards ceremony commemorative booklet. View images of present and past Letters About Literature ceremonies: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017