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Letters About Literature Winners Announced

LAL Student Art

After two months of reading and two rounds of judging the winners of this year's Letters About Literature contest have been selected. Congratulations! And the winners are...

Level 1 (4th-6th grade)

  • 1st place: Haley Wright, 6th grader at Siegel Middle School in Murfreesboro. Haley wrote to Edgar Allan Poe about Annabel Lee. Haley’s teacher is Teri Beck. 
  • 2nd place: Kayla Laymance, 5th grader at Sunbright School in Sunbright. Kayla wrote to Heather Hepler about The Cupcake Queen. Kayla’s teacher is Debbie Slack.
  • 3rd place: Nathaniel Hall, 4th grader at New Market Elementary in New Market. Nathaniel wrote to Laura Ingalls Wilder about Farmer Boy. Nathaniel’s guidance counselor is Carrie Trent.

Level 2 (7th-8th grade)

  • 1st place: Kara Delbridge, 8th grader at Siegel Middle School in Murfreesboro. Kara wrote to Margaret Wise Brown about Goodnight Moon. Kara’s teacher is Sonya Cox.
  • 2nd place: Nathan Kiefer, 8th grader at Sunbright School in Sunbright. Nathan wrote to Kristin Cashore about Graceling. Nathan’s teacher is Debbie Slack. 
  • 3rd place: Kelsey Keith, 7th grader at Christiana Middle School in Christiana. Kelsey wrote to Markus Zusak about The Book Thief. Kelsey’s teacher is Carol Haislip. 

Level 3 (9th -12th grade)

  • 1st place: Daniel Zuo, 11th grader at White Station High School in Memphis. Daniel wrote to Dr. Seuss about The Cat in the Hat. Daniel’s teacher is Suzanne Wexler. 
  • 2nd place: Hanna Lustig, 12th grader at Houston High School in Germantown. Hanna wrote to Ray Bradbury about Dandelion Wine. Hanna’s teacher is Natalie Parker-Lawrence.
  • 3rd place: Victoria Gray, 11th grader at Germantown High School in Germantown. Victoria wrote to Dr. Seuss about Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?. Victoria’s teacher is Billy Pullen.

Read the winning letters here and a full press release here.

Thank you to each of the 1,060 students that submitted a letter for the 2012 Letters About Literature contest. We have enjoyed reading your letters and hearing what you have to say about writing that is important to you.

2012 Prizes
LAL awards prizes on both the state and national levels. Humanities Tennessee has several panels of judges who select the top letters in the state (3 on each competition level). 

  • 1st place winners on Levels 1, 2, and 3 will receive a $100 cash award and a $50 Target GiftCard. All first place letters advance to the National Level Judging. The 1st place winner on Level 3 will also receive a full scholarship to attend the 2012 Tennessee Young Writers' Workshop (valued at $650).
  • 2nd place winners will receive a $50 cash award.
  • 3rd place winners will receive a $25 cash award.

At the national level, a panel of judges selected by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress will select six National Winners (2 on each competition level) and twelve National Honorable Mention Winners (4 on each competition level). 

  • 1st place national winners will receive a $500 Target GiftCard, plus a $10,000 LAL Reading Promotion Grant in their name for his or her community or school library.
  • National Honorable Mention Winners will each receive a $100 Target GiftCard, plus a $1,000 LAL Reading Promotion Grant in their name for his or her community or school library.

2012 State Judges
Level 1: 

Amy Dietrich, Former Professor, Humanities Tennessee Board Member- Jackson
Theta Rone, Former Middle School Teacher, Humanities Tennessee Board Member- Burlison
Kory Wells, Poet and Author - Murfreesboro

Level 2:
Fiona McAnally, Graduate Student, Humanities Tennessee Board Member - Knoxville
Myra McEntire, Author - Spring Hill
Ruta Sepetys, Author - Nashville

Level 3: 
Leonard Gill, Book Editor and Copyeditor - Memphis
Amy Greene, Author - Russellville 
Gail Murray, History Professor, Humanities Tennessee Board Member - Memphis