Submit Your Spooky Story: Baltimore Library's Contest Honors Edgar Allan Poe's Legacy


The contest will run until September 22, 2023. (Credit: Jenna Fisher/Patch)

BALTIMORE COUNTY - The Baltimore County Public Library is on the hunt for spine-chilling stories. Are you ready to give Edgar Allan Poe a run for his money?

Baltimore County Public Library and the Foundation for Baltimore County Public Library launched the seventh iteration of their annual Tales of the Dead Short Horror Story Contest on Tuesday. The contest, which will run until September 22, 2023, invites residents to share their scariest stories and win prizes!

This year's theme is "Petrifying Poe," and every submission is expected to reference or incorporate elements related to Edgar Allan Poe in some way.

Though he often claimed Richmond as home, Poe held profound connections to the Baltimore area. According to Poe Baltimore, the writer was born during his actor parents' travels in Boston but claimed Baltimore as his birthplace and hometown. His great-grandfather, John Poe, laid the family foundation in Baltimore in 1755, and his grandparents, David and Elizabeth Cairnes Poe, raised a large family and attained local prominence through their commitment to patriotism, hard work, and community service. Baltimore also introduced Poe to his future wife, Virginia Eliza Clemm, and launched his seventeen-year-long literary career.

BCPL's Dead Short Horror Story Contest welcomes participants from two age groups: Over 21 and Under 21.

A panel comprising librarians, published authors, and community leaders will select the adult category's first, second, and third-place winners. Submissions will be evaluated based on originality, scariness, and overall writing quality.

Winners from the Over 21 category will receive two VIP passes to the annual Poe-themed festival, A Toast Among Ghosts, scheduled for October 14 at the Reisterstown BCPL Branch. At the event, winners can recite their tales around the Ghost Story Fire Pit.

The entry deadline is 5 p.m., September 22, and the winners will be notified on October 2. Winning stories will be published on the foundation's website after October 16.

Although the A Toast Among Ghosts event is restricted to those 21 and over, younger authors can still participate in the contest. Winners from the Under 21 category will be invited to a special reception at the Reisterstown Branch on Friday, October 6 at 6 p.m., where they'll be given a gift card and certificate. Their stories will be evaluated using the same criteria as the adult entries.

The complete contest guidelines can be found on the Foundation for Baltimore County Public Library's website for those interested in entering.

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