Connecticut’s 2023 Letters About Literature Contest Winners Named

The Neag School of Education, UConn’s Department of English, and the Connecticut Writing Project (CWP), co-sponsors of the 31st annual Letters About Literature contest, are proud to announce Connecticut’s winners for the 2022-23 academic year.

Each year, students in Grades 4 through 12 are invited to read a text, broadly defined, and write a letter to the author (living or dead) about how the text affected them personally. Submissions are grouped according to Grade Level (Grades 4-6, Grades 7-8, and Grades 9-12).

Each of these submissions was read and scored by Neag School alumni teacher-volunteers. Of the 849 submissions from Connecticut students this year, there were 251 students who received Honorable Mention and 494 Semi-Finalists. Each Letters About Literature Semi-Finalist and Honorable Mention recipient received a letter of recognition.

A second set of judges, all pre-service teachers, then read and scored the 81 Finalists—again, twice for each submission—and selected a total of nine Winners, three per Grade Level. Then 1 student per grade level was named Top Prize. Each of the nine Winners will receive a gift card. The six Winner recipients get $100 each and the three Top Prize Winners get $200 each.

UConn Letters About Literature logo with partners listed: Connecticut Writing Project | English Department | Neag School of Education

Neag School Professor Doug Kaufman, CWP Director Jason Courtmanche, and Department of English Ph.D. candidate Margaret McFarlane served as the contest’s representatives for the state of Connecticut. Read more about the contest, and continue reading for the winning essays.

Letters About Literature Finalists for the State of Connecticut

The following are the contest finalists, listed with their respective school’s and teacher’s names, and the work of literature that is the focus of their essay, with access to their winning submissions in PDF format.

Level I (Grades 4-6)

Level II (Grades 7-8)

  • Top Prize Winner: Kavin Jayaganesh, Kate Stewart, East Granby Middle School, The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • Winner: Natalie Curtis, Skye Lee, The Foote School, A Person/A Paper/A Promise by Dr. Earl Reum
  • Winner: Stella Scurr, Jenna Massicotte, Segwick Middle School, Poetry by Robert Frost

Level III (Grades 9-12)

  • Top Prize Winner: Erin McKay, David Walker, Greenwich High School, Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion
  • Winner: Katherine Larson, Victoria Nordlund, Rockville High School, The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
  • Winner: Gabarriella Korczak, Mary Ellen Courtemanche, Bacon Academy High School, The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

Letters About Literature Contest Judges

Alumni, students, and friends from the Neag School of Education and the University of Connecticut judged the Letters About Literature contest submittals this past fall. The judges selected semi-finalists at each of the three competition levels (grades 4-5, 7-8, and 9-12). Thank you to the first-round contest judges:

  • Sarah Abbey
  • Lea Attanasio
  • Leah Baranauskas
  • Mirelinda Dema
  • Kristina Dukette
  • Liz Fogarty
  • Allison Gale
  • Migdalia Gonsalves
  • Emily Gunzburg
  • Jill Kneisl
  • Allyson Lyons
  • Erin Naclerio
  • Melissa Oberlander
  • Katelyn Owens
  • Irismary Santiago Saez
  • Jill Slayton
  • Rachel Vincent

Students in the Neag School and Department of English judged the Letters About Literature semifinalist essays this past month. Thank you to the contest judges, who are current students in the Neag School of Education Integrated Bachelor’s/Master’s program with a second major or concentration in English or UConn students majoring in English:

  • Rebecca Andersen
  • Emily Balocca
  • Rudra Bhavsar
  • Robin Chiburis
  • Daniella Diblasio
  • Cassidy Garcia
  • Emily Gribbin
  • Thomas Isleib
  • Savannah Johnson
  • Julia Lachance
  • Margaret Lonsinger
  • Logan Mccallum Laval
  • Abigail Piotrowicz
  • Mikaya Robinson
  • Shaila Sharma
  • Elizabeth Sweat
  • Zitlalic Tejeda
  • Camille Terrell
  • Maxwell Underwood
  • Jake Vandenbroek
  • Daniel Warren

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