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26th Letters About Literature Writing Contest Announces Winners


​​The West Virginia Center for the Book at the West Virginia Library Commission held the 2019 Letters About Literature awards ceremony at the state Culture Center on Thursday, May 16, 2019.  166 West Virginia students were honored with Top Honors, Honors, Honorable Mention, and Notable Mention recognition.

Letters About Literature is a national reading and writing program, supported locally by the State Library Commission and the West Virginia Center for the Book, an affiliate of the National Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.  Students in grades 4-12 (divided by Levels 1-3) wrote letters to authors (living or dead) telling them how a book, poem, or play by that author affected them personally. 

This year 629 students from West Virginia were among the more than 25,000 students nationwide who wrote Letters About Literature.  National screeners selected 166 of the West Virginia entries for state level judging, where judges, chosen by the West Virginia Center for the Book, determined the top letters in each competition level for the state.  Entries for state level judging were selected on how well they met the required criteria of: audience, purpose, grammatical conventions, and originality. 

Those receiving Top Honors will advance to national level judging.  The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress then selects a panel of judges to award national winners and national honor winners.  West Virginia Top Honor winners also receive a cash prize of $100.  Honor recipients receive $50.  These cash prizes are generously supplied by the West Virginia Humanities Council.

“It is exciting to see these gifted young students display their talents for writing and their enthusiasm for books,” Karen Goff, WVLC Executive Secretary, said.  “The Library Commission is proud to support the Letters About Literature program.”

The West Virginia Library Commission is pleased to announce the following state level recipients:

Level 1: Grades 4-6
TOP HONORS: Tessa Moore (The Linsly School, Wheeling)
HONORS: Bridget Zimmerman (The Linsly School), Ella Landini (Wheeling Country Day School)
HONORABLE MENTION: Rachel Rutherford (The Linsly School), Caroline Higginbottom (The Linsly School)

Level 2: Grades 7-8
TOP HONORS: Clare Seibert (The Linsly School, Wheeling)
HONORS: John Michael Zimmerman (The Linsly School), Caleb Otte (Beckley Stratton Middle School)
HONORABLE MENTION: Amanda Herndon (The Linsly School), Sara Campsey (The Linsly School), Luke McGhee (John Adams Middle School)

Level 3: Grades 9-12
TOP HONORS: Bethany Nutter (Nicholas County HS)
HONORS: Sarah Hashman (Tyler Consolidated HS), Gage Huffman (Tyler Consolidated HS), Alex Vance (Washington HS)
HONORABLE MENTION: Cecily Dyer (Washington HS), Nachelle Probst (Tyler Consolidated HS), Kassandra Berg (Petersburg HS), Creed Ammons (Tyler Consolidated HS), Madisyn Eller (Washington HS), Ava Kilmer (Washington HS), Kayden Upton (South Charleston HS)

The Library of Congress will announce all National and National Honor Winners and awards and will list all state-level winners on its website: The annual Letters About Literature writing contest for young readers is made possible by a generous grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation with additional support from the West Virginia Humanities Council, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, and the West Virginia Library Commission.

The 2019 Letters About Literature Anthology, which includes a complete list of winners and the award winning letters, is available on the WVLC Letters About Literature page.

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