Favourite Magazine Essay Contest

About the Contest

Letters About Literature is a reading and writing contest for students in grades 4-12. Students are asked to read a book, poem or speech and write to the author (living or dead) about how the book affected them personally. Letters are judged on state and national levels. Tens of thousands of students from across the country enter Letters About Literature each year. If you are in grades 4-12, you are eligible to enter the Letters About Literature reading and writing contest.

The 2017-18 Letters About Literature contest for young readers is made possible by a generous grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, with additional support from gifts to the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, which promotes the contest through its affiliate Centers for the Book, state libraries and other organizations.

For more information, select your state:

Dear Lisa Genova:

...Your book helped me understand what is happening with my grandma. I realized that it’s not her fault at all that she can’t remember things. There would be nothing that Alice or my grandma could have done to prevent their memory loss. It’s a tragedy of Alzheimer’s disease. I understand now my grandma’s every day struggles and try to help her as much as I can. Your book taught me to be patient and enjoy every day with my grandma. I try to spend as much time with her as I can now. I praise her for things that she can still do and remember...

Mark Leschinsky
Mahwah, New Jersey
2017 National Honor Award Winner – Level 1

The writing contest whose name is almost as long as the entries! 

Extended Deadline: January 31, 2018

How it works:

1) Send us a story and a postcard—the relationship can be as strong or as tangential as you like, so long as there is a clear connection between the story and the image.

2) If you’re not sure where to look for a postcard, you can make your own or visit Wikimedia Commons.

3) The story can be fiction or non-fiction; maximum length is 500 words.

For a classic example of a postcard story, read "Grizzly Bill" or "No Time to Write." Visit our postcard story archive for more examples of notable stories.


First Prize: $500 Second Prize: $250 Third Prize: $150

All winning entries will be published in Geist and on geist.com

Short list: Swell Geist gifts and publication on geist.com

Entry Fee: $20

Includes a one-year subscription to Geist, Canada's favourite literary magazine. International entrants will receive the digital edition.

All additional entries are $5.

How to enter: Submit your entry online through Submittable.

You can also mail your entry, fee and cover letter to us at:

Postcard Contest 210-111 West Hastings Street Vancouver, BC V6B 1H4

Please note that judging is blind, so ensure your name doesn't appear on the story or the postcard. 

Entries without an accompanying cover letter or entry fee will not be accepted. Entries must be postmarked by contest deadline.

Good luck and happy writing!

Questions?Check out our Postcard Story Contest FAQ.

Still unsure? Please email geist@geist.com or call 604-681-9161 with your queries.


Winning entries: Geist takes first serial rights for print and non-exclusive electronic rights to post the text and image at geist.com. All other rights remain with the author.

All publication rights for non-winning entries are retained by the entrants.

Postcards will be returned only if requested.

Geist contests are open to all entrants except Geist staff, contract employees, board members and executives of the Geist Foundation. 

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