English Program's spooky story contest is underway

Thirteen words to haunt and terrify in English Program’s spooky writing contest

How scary can a sentence be? Participants in this year’s 13-Word Scary Story Contest are trying to find out.

Students, faculty, staff and members of the Ashland community are encouraged to submit up to two entries each in the English Program’s challenge. The rules are simple; the entries must be exactly 13 words, and must also be scary. The deadline for the short stories is Oct. 16 and should be sent to Margaret Perrow via email.

Last year, Peter Doolin was picked in blind judging by English Program faculty as the winner with his entry, “In the mirror, a set of eyes stare back that aren’t my own. Just like last year, the winner of the 2019 contest will get a $50 gift card, while the runner up will receive a $25 gift card.

The two winning entries and a selection of runners-up will also be published on SOU News. Check out last year’s selected stories here.

While this may only be the second year the English department has asked for spooky short stories, the program is no stranger to contests. Ever since one of its faculty members read an article about public literary displays in 2016, the English Program has been hosting literary contests.

Their first foray into writing challenges was a six-word story contest with an autumn theme. Now their 13-Word Scary Story Contest is turning into a tradition, much like the poetry contest they host each spring. Winners of that contest also receive gift cards, and the writer of the first-place submission is invited to be a featured reader in the English Program’s annual poetry-reading event.

The English Program’s mission – which it promotes through its writing contests – is to encourage a love of words, language and literature (regardless of how many words it takes).

Story by Blair Selph, SOU Marketing and Communications student writer