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First Annual Fireside Mary Contest

February 16 @ 8:00 pm - February 17 @ 8:00 pm

On a stormy night in the spring of 1817, Mary Shelley agreed to an overnight writing contest with her husband, Percy Shelley, and two of his friends. Who could write the scariest story? They would share their ideas in the morning and determine a winner among them.

The story that germinated in the 18-year-old Mary’s mind that night would eventually be the novel we recognize today as “Frankenstein.”

In the same fireside tradition, we will gather on the evening of February 16 to write scary stories. Check-in starts at 7:30; when you arrive and pay the $5 registration fee, you’ll be given a genre assignment, as well as a character trait and an item that your story must feature prominently. Then, you write.

Final drafts must be between 1,000 and 5,000 words and be turned in by 2:00 in the morning on February 17. You have all night to drink coffee, chat with other writers, pace the cafe, and crank out them words.

Not a writer, but still want to participate? We need judges to read each (anonymous) heat of stories and score them using the criteria that will be provided! Each judge will be responsible for scoring no more than 5 stories.

The top three stories will be announced by February 24, and the First and Second Prize winners will receive the registration pot (80/20 split) as their reward!

Please indicate on this page if you are attending as a writer or a judge. Participants are capped at 25, and judges at 5, so first come, first served! There will be a waiting list five strong for each role in case folks drop out.

Happy drafting!


February 16 @ 8:00 pm
February 17 @ 8:00 pm
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Manitou Art Center
513 Manitou Ave
Manitou Springs, CO 80829
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