Sunderland's Spooky Stories

Sunderland's spooky stories
Monday, October 5, 2020 to Monday, October 19, 2020

Sunderland's Spooky Story competition is part of the City's 'Lights Out' Halloween programme, partnered with Sunderland Libraries Services
as part of the Sunderland Libraries' Literature Festival that happens each year in October.

Have you got a spooky story you want to share?

It is the season for stories that go bump in the night and we are looking for the most terrifying tales you'll ever write! 

We are looking for 500 words of mischief, mishaps and mayhem that are going to put a spell on our judges.

It's easy to enter, and the rules are simple.

Your Judging panel -

Keith Merrin - Chief Executive of Sunderland Culture
David Turton - Local writer of dark fiction and horror
Joseph Chow - Finalist on the BBC’s Greatest Dancer
Katy Wheeler - Lifestyle Editor at Sunderland Echo and North East Press
Dr Sarah Dobbs - Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Sunderland university
Sunderland Library Services -  Librarians Janet Simm and Carolyn Jessop

And the timetable -

Monday 5 October - Entry open
Monday 19 October - Competition Closes
19 - 23 October - Judging Week
24/25 October - Winners/Shortlisted informed 
26 - 30 October - Winning and shortlisted stories to be recorded (virtually or otherwise!)
31 October - Stories Released for everyone to enjoy!

The entry criteria -

Your story must not exceed 500 words
(The total number of words can be under 500 but not over).
The most thrilling and endearing stories will be shortlisted
The story must be relevant to Halloween – the spookier the better!
Entries will be judged on the following criteria – Originality, Plot, Characterisation, Language and Enjoyment
(There will be no criteria regarding spelling or grammar).
The categories are 5 - 9 years, 10 - 13 years and 14 - 18 years
(An entrants age will be determined by their age on the closing date of Monday 19 October 2020).
You may be required to provide proof of age
An adult can scribe for a child in the 5 - 9 age category but no words can be changed
More than one story can be submitted by each child but it must be all their own words
There will be one winner in each category out of a shortlist of four.
You must submit your story online at 
In addition to the 500 words story, you will need to provide a story title, name of the writer plus age and postcode
You must live in Sunderland and the surrounding area - which includes postcodes SR1 - SR6 plus NE23 & SR8.
Entry opens on Monday 5 October
The deadline for entry is Monday 19 October at midnight.
Winners and the shortlisted writers must agree to have their story published and we are looking for winners to record themselves reading their story to camera to share on Saturday 31 October. (Younger entrants can be helped by parents & siblings)
Shortlisted stories may be featured in our promotion along with the winners
Entries that contain unsuitable material will be disqualified from entry
Unfortunately, we will not be able to provide feedback.

Enter the competition now, click here 

Event Information

Did you know?

Perhaps Sunderland's most prominent landmark is Penshaw Monument. It was built in 1844 in honour of the first Earl of Durham, John George Lambton. Penshaw was modelled on Theseion, the Temple of Thesus in Athens.


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