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Library Literary Contests

2-Sentence Horror Story Contest


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! This contest will begin on Friday, October 13, 2023 and end at 11:59 pm on Sunday, October 29, 2023. All submissions must be submitted online by the last day of the contest to be considered. 

Horror story submissions may be about any spine-tingling, bone-chilling topic you desire, but must be two sentences (300 characters or less) in length. 

Your ghastly submissions will be voted upon via blind review (with identifying information removed) by a group of library faculty and staff. Three lucky ghouls will be chosen to win one of three prize packages: 

  • 1st place will receive: Library Horror Nights Kit
    • 1 Copy of Darcy Coates' Dead Lake
    • 1 Trick or Treat Tarot by Barbara Moore
    • University Libraries Tote Bag
    • University Libraries Ear Buds & Pouch
    • University Libraries Notepad & Pen
    • Popcorn & Candy
  • 2nd place will receive: Library Fan Kit
    • Klimt Tarot Pocket Golden Edition Desk 
    • University Libraries Tote Bag 
    • University Libraries Travel Mug
    • University Libraries Sticker & Magnet 
    • University Libraries Pen & Notepad
    • Candy
  • 3rd place will receive: Library Love Kit
    • University Libraries Drawstring Bag
    • University Libraries Pen & Notepad 
    • University Libraries Color-changing Stadium Cup
    • Candy

Winners will be announced by Tuesday, October 31st on social media (IG, FB, & Twitter) and at  

Need some scary good inspiration? Check out these 20 2-sentence horror stories that are guaranteed to make you shake and shiver!

Official Contest Rules: 

  1. All participants must be currently affiliated with the University at Albany 
  2. All entries must be submitted by Sunday, October 29 by 11:59 pm 
  3. Winners will be announced by Tuesday, October 31
  4. All entries MUST be original work. Any work that has been plagiarized will be disqualified
  5. Limit of 2 entries per person, but you can only win once
  6. Stories that do not follow the 2-sentence rule will be disqualified 

Got questions? Please contact Amanda Lowe, Outreach & Marketing Librarian:

Fall 2022 Winners

1st Place: Abby Lorch, Undergraduate, Journalism 

"My husband hasn't been his whole self for a while now. I've been watching him circle the drain, hoping he won't stain the tub red."

2nd Place: Kaylee Raub, Undergraduate, Human Development 

"I hear my mother's rickety car pull up to the driveway, her headlights blaring through the windows. Then, I remember the meat is still in the freezer, untouched." 

3rd Place: Dylan Perry, Undergraduate, English

"Ever since he stole my eyes, people always assumed I was blind. But the truth is that I still see inside the sack where he keeps the others."


Honorable Mentions

"Turn on the lights and lock the door," she said, and the hall lights flickered on as the deadbolt clicked shut behind us. But when I mentioned how helpful having a smart him device must be, my new friend turned to me in confusion and asked, "what smart home device?"" - Amanda Horner, Graduate, School of Public Health

"The uptown campus has a maze of tunnels running underneath, deeper than the ones you're thinking of, with impossible passages that change over time and dug out by who knows what. Anyway, if you could drop a blanket down the blocked stairway under the lecture center, I'd appreciate it, 'cause it's getting awfully cold." -Sophinnian Rich, Graduate, Social Work

"Please, don't take me," I begged Death. "I can't go back." -Emily Peters, Graduate, English


Fall 2021 Winners

And this year's contest winners are....

1st Place (Library Horror Nights Kit): Eneida Koltraka, Undergraduate, Computer Science 

'Was it always so dark when you used to play here, mom?' The sound of the well being closed suffocated the echo of his voice. 

2nd Place (Library Fan Kit): Katlyn Ira, Staff, University Libraries 

"This salt circle should keep us safe," I whispered to my daughter. "Missed a spot," was the last thing I heard as she was dragged away into the darkness. 

3rd Place (Library Love Kit): Alexis Johns, Undergraduate, English & Journalism 

She was so excited to study abroad - her host family picked her up from the airport and drove her to the house. She then received a text that said, "It's Mrs. Williams, I'm here at the airport to get you." 

Honorable Mentions: there were so many good stories that the judges had trouble picking just three! The writers of these stories will receive University Libraries earbuds with a carrying pouch! 

Aviva Bower, Staff, ITLAL

After taking a nice long nap in the library stacks, I went to the circulation desk and handed the librarian my student ID so I could check out the book I'd fallen asleep reading. She looked at my ID and then angrily handed it back, exclaiming, "What a thoughtless prank this is--pretending to be the poor girl who died in the stacks last year on this day!" 

Lauren Weisholz, Graduate, Library and Information Science 

As my cramped fingers hovered over the save button, a sudden burst of lightning illuminated the darkness outside, offering me a glimpse of the felled tree's downward arc as it sliced through the corded veins of the power lines. My unsaved final draft had been murdered.