The Libraries Invites All: Compete to be Scary in Two Sentences

A figure in shadow walks down a woodland path in the fog

ALBANY, N.Y. (Oct. 14, 2021) — University Libraries is attending to the horror literary genre this season with a competition not for the fainthearted. “The night was dark and full of terrors as the University Libraries chose to stage the most terrifying contest of all . . .  a 2-sentence horror story contest!” proclaims — or warns — its special website.

In just two sentences (500 total words or less), members of the University community are being invited to come up with pithy yet ghastly online submissions on any bone-chilling topic they desire. (Need examples? The Libraries directs you here.) The contest began on Oct. 6 and closes next Wednesday, Oct. 20, at 11:59 p.m. — the last gasp before the stroke of midnight.

The 2-Sentence Horroy Story poster

The concept was seized upon by Outreach & Marketing Librarian Amanda Lowe, who admits to being captivated with tales told in October. “I love coming up with programming and creating book displays based around the spooky season and the genre of horror,” she said. “This year I wanted to do something a little different.”

Aware of different listicles that hover around the internet this time of year that involve folks either submitting original standard short horror stories or the 2-sentence horror variety, she heard from a librarian friend that her library was, indeed, having a contest around ghoulish 2-sentence submissions.

“I loved the idea and adapted it into something that we could do here at the University Libraries,” said Lowe. “Thus, our first literary contest was born!”

No torture chambers were required to persuade other Libraries officials to go along. Immediately, she said, “I had a number of colleagues volunteer to be the judges for the entries and declare the winners.” That will be resolved on Friday, Oct. 29, when first, second and third place winners of prize packages will be announced on social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter) and UAlbany’s Library Literary Contests website.

Lowe notes that submissions will be voted upon via blind review (all identifying information removed).

A number of entries have been received so far. “I've also gotten a number of emails from students asking if they can submit more than one original 2-Sentence story — the answer is yes!” said Lowe. “My hope is that we have enough interest in this contest that we can run another one in the spring for National Poetry Month in April — either doing a contest for original poetry or haikus.”