World Letter Writing Day Date in the current year: September 1, 2024

World Letter Writing Day September 1 is the perfect day to pick up a pen and paper and write a letter to someone because it is World Letter Writing Day. The holiday was created to keep the art of letter writing alive in our digital age.

For a long time, letter writing was the primary means of long-distance communication. Letters have existed since at least antiquity; they are mentioned in the works by ancient Greek historians such as Herodotus and Thucydides, as well as in Homer’s Iliad. The 18th century is often referred to as the “Great Age of Letter Writing” due to the rise in popularity of epistolary novels (novels written as a series of letters).

Even though the new technologies have provided much faster ways to communicate than good old letters, letter writing is still relevant for a whole number of reasons. Writing a letter to someone shows them that you really care because you took the time and effort to do something people rarely do these days. In addition, handwriting is an important skill you shouldn’t lose because writing by hand stimulates our brain in a different way than typing and improves our language processing and reading skills.

World Letter Writing Day was founded by Australian author Richard Simpkin in 2014. His main goal was to encourage people of all ages to take a break from social media and write a letter to someone instead of messaging them.

Simpkin became interested in letter writing in the 1990s when he came up with the idea of a project called Australian Legends. He set out to meet, photograph and interview people he considered Australian legends. Simpkin wrote proposal letters, telling about the project and asking for a meeting, and sent them to everyone he wanted to interview.

Many of the addressees wrote back, and in 2005, Simpkin’s book titled Australian Legends: People Whose Story We Should Know was released. It contained stories of 80 people, all of whom had agreed to an interview after receiving a simple letter from Simpkin. Nine years later, Simpkin created World Letter Writing Day to celebrate handwritten letters and the impact they can make in the digital age.

On the occasion of the holiday, Simpkin and his son Oliver conduct letter writing workshops at Australian schools to tell kids about the art of letter writing and its relevance in the modern world. You can celebrate the holiday by taking time to write a letter to someone you love or finding a new pen pal.

You also can use letter writing as therapy: write everything that you want to say to someone in a letter to release the burden of repressed feelings and emotions… and then don’t send it. The process of writing itself may be enough to make you feel better.

Finally, you can celebrate World Letter Writing Day by reading historical letters written by famous people or an epistolary novel. Famous epistolary novels include Dangerous Liaisons by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, Ides of March by Thornton Wilder, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, Daddy-Long-Legs and Dear Enemy by Jean Webster, The Color Purple by Alice Walker, and others.

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World Letter Writing Day, international observances, Richard Simpkin, letter writing, epistolary novels