Eerie Imaginings: a writing contest for young authors

October 6, 2022 | By: Marenda Escobar

Library encourages young authors to enter spooky writing contest

By: Marenda Escobar

What is an eerie imagining? Perhaps a “strange” or “frightening” tale, or a “mysterious” and chilling story. And who doesn’t love spooky stories? In fact, the Library is a fan of eerie imaginings. Each year, young writers are encouraged to submit their own spooky short stories to the Eerie Imaginings Writing Contest.

This spooky writing contest has a story of its own. It all started in 1984 when the earliest eerie imaginings were submitted to the Library’s Western Branch, and from there, the annual short story contest continued for twenty four years. The Library rewarded winners by hosting a ceremony where young authors could read their stories, and sent the winning stories to the South Bend Tribune. After 2008 the Eerie Imaginings contest came to a pause for reasons still mysterious to this day. 

Thankfully this was not the end to all spooky stories. In 2020, twelve years after the hiatus and in the midst of a pandemic, the writing contest was reintroduced. In 2021, the contest continued, and the Library was excited to accept 70 submissions! This year, young authors (grades 3-12) are once again encouraged to submit a terrifying tale (1-5 pages) to delight and fright readers of all ages. The Library will reward winners by hosting a Ceremony on October 28 where winners and runner-ups can share their spooky stories with the community.

Readers interested in these eerie imaginings are in-luck. Three copies of the first Ten Years of Eerie Imaginings: Prize Winning Stories From the Ghost Story Contest of the St. Joseph County Public Library are available at Main Library and North Liberty Branch. Winning entries from 2020 and 2021 are available online as well. 

And now, as this brief history comes to a close, it seems only right to share an excerpt from A Ghost Story by Peggy Donnelly (1985), Grand Prize co-winner for 7th – 8th grade. We hope you will consider submitting a spooky short story, or invite a young writer to do so. 

Eerie Imaginings 2020 grade 3/4 runner-up with prizes

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