The Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana has announced the 2019 winners of the annual Letters About Literature contest.

This year, 242 fourth through 12th grade students in the state wrote personal letters to authors, living or dead, to explain how their work changed the students’ way of thinking about the world or themselves. The winners represent cities from Ruston to New Orleans and were inspired by works ranging from fiction to nonfiction, science fiction to realism, books by a former president and a Nobel Peace Prize recipient.

Winning students receive $100 for first place, $75 for second place and $50 for third place. They will be recognized at the Louisiana Book Festival on Nov. 2, with the first place winners reading their letters.

The first-place entries also have been submitted to the Library of Congress for the national competition.

The winners of the Letters About Literature contest are:

  • Level I (grades 4-6): First place — Annika Roberson, Trinity Episcopal School, New Orleans; second place — Kelon George, Prairie Elementary School, Lafayette.
  • Level II (grades 7-8): First place — Phoenix Chapital, Lusher Charter School, New Orleans; second place — Magnolia Charlet, Northwestern Middle School, Zachary; third place — Lauren Poole, Winnfield Middle School, Winnfield; honorable mention — Rain Monroe, Lusher Charter School, New Orleans.
  • Level III (grades 9-12): First place — Donovan Turpin, Cedar Creek School, Ruston; second place — Marie Foret, Ursuline Academy, New Orleans; third place — Lauren Shirley, Cedar Creek School, Ruston; honorable mention — Zachary Nichols, St. Paul’s School, Covington.

To read the winners’ letters and see the names of all the state finalists and their teachers and schools, visit