- Letters About Literature Texas is open to residents of Texas.
- Students must be in grades 4 through 12 during the 2020-2021 school year.
- Entries will be accepted online starting November 4, 2020, and the deadline for all submissions is December 17, 2020, 5:00 p.m. (CST).
- There will be three (3) Levels of Competition:
Level 1: Grades 4-6
Level 2: Grades 7-8
Level 3: Grades 9-12
- Students select a fiction or nonfiction book, book series, essay, play, poem, short story or speech (excluding song lyrics) that they have read and about which they have strong feelings. Note to teachers: Please do not assign a particular work to students; rather, allow students to choose a piece of literature that speaks to them personally.
- Students write a personal letter to the author of their selected piece of literature explaining how the work changed the student’s view of themselves or their world. The letter’s aim is not to flatter the author, summarize the piece of literature, or serve as a book report; rather, the letter creates a conversation with the author in which the student expresses thoughts, feelings, and/or ideas inspired by the author’s writing, as well as its impact on the student’s life. Students should write honestly and from their own perspectives or the world. The letter’s aim is not to flatter the author, summarize the piece of literature or serve as a book report; rather, the letter creates a conversation with the author in which the student expresses thoughts, feelings and/or ideas inspired by the author’s writing, as well as its impact on the student’s life. Students should write honestly and from their own perspectives.
- Entries must use no fewer than 400 words and no more than 800 words.
- Entries must include a date, greeting, body of the letter, closing and name/signature. Please do not include a return address on your letter. Note: These elements will be included in the entry’s word count.
- Entries must be submitted via the online submission platform by December 17, 2020, 5:00 p.m. (CST). Details may be found at the Letters About Literature Texas website at www.tsl.texas.gov/lettersaboutliterature. Entries by/for students younger than the age of 13 without a signed, uploaded permission form are ineligible and will be discarded.
- Each entry a) must be the original creation of the submitting student; b) must be previously unpublished and cannot have been submitted to any other competition; c) must not infringe upon or violate the rights of any third party; and, d) by the act of submission, warrants and represents that the student (and parent/legal guardian if student is a minor) fully and completely conforms to the stated requirements for entry. No other form of participation other than as stated in these Official Rules is valid. If the entry is selected as a winner, the student’s parent/legal guardian will be contacted for permission to publish. The Texas Center for the Book suggests that students keep a copy of their entry. All submitted entries become the sole property of the Texas Center for the Book and will not be acknowledged or returned. Limit one (1) entry per student.
- Per online submission guidelines, students younger than the age of 13 as of November 4, 2020, must obtain and upload a hand-signed permission from parent/legal guardian to be eligible for entry. The downloadable form can be found at www.tsl.texas.gov/lettersaboutliterature. Entries by/for students younger than the age of 13 without a signed, uploaded form are ineligible and will be discarded.
- Judging: Entries are subject to multiple rounds of judging based on the Letters About Literature rubric and contest rules. Decisions by judges are final and binding in all judging matters related to the State Level.
- It is the responsibility of the educator or individual submitting nominations to evaluate the submission materials and take appropriate action if the materials contain any expressions of the intent to self-harm, depression or other sensitive subjects. The educator or submitting individual should follow the policies of their school or educational institution in handling such matters or contact the appropriate local resources to follow up with the student and, if appropriate, with the students and parents or legal guardians, as the local policy and confidentiality guidelines permit. Submitting educators and individuals agree, by submitting materials to Letters About Literature, that they have reviewed the materials for this purpose and taken appropriate action.
- Prizes: Letters About Literature Texas Prize (1 per Level of Competition): Winners receive a $100 cash prize and will be honored at the 2021 Virtual Texas Library Association Conference. Expenses not specified herein are solely the responsibility of the winners. If the winners cannot accept their prize as stated, the prize will be forfeited in its entirety, and an alternate winner will be determined. If the student is a minor, National Winner and National Honorable Mention prizes will be awarded in the name of, or to, the winner’s parent/legal guardian who must execute all documents and agree to all obligations and undertakings of the winner, both on behalf of himself/herself and the winner, or the prize may be forfeited and an alternate winner will be determined.
- Winners’ List: For names of the winners, visit www.tsl.texas.gov/lettersaboutliterature. Winners will be posted in late spring 2021.
Sponsor: Texas Center for the Book at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, 1201 Brazos St., Austin, TX 78701. Letters About Literature Texas writing contest is made possible by the Texas Library and Archives Foundation, Inc. with additional support from gifts to the Texas Center for the Book.