Stories from Home: A Short Story Contest

Coronavirus Writing Contest
April 1, 2020 to May 31, 2020
Hunker in and write, Steamboat! The Short Story Dispenser is seeking new local stories inspired by the great 2020 isolation.
Are you irked or inspired by spending so much time at home? Need a break from homeschooling? Trying to come to terms with all kinds of closure? These are interesting times, and this is bound to spark some creative new tales among the Yampa Valley's local writers.
Marking this unusual time in history, Bud Werner Memorial Library is looking to add local writers to our Short Story Dispenser. Spend April & May 2020 crafting your finest prose or poetry, but not more than 2,000 characters long (including spaces), that reflects the time and space of what we're doing and feeling this month.  Winning submissions will be rewarded with inclusion in the community's short story machine.
Write on!


About Bud's isolation-inspired story contest

The writing contest is open to everyone.

Submitted work must be entirely your own. Poetry and prose are both acceptable.

The submission window is April 1-May 31, 2020.

Take your time to write, rewrite and polish: one (1) short story submission is allowed per writer.

Stories or poems may not be longer than 2,000 characters, including spaces.

Submissions will be evaluated by a literary panel of judges who will consider the storytelling prowess, grammar and craft. Judges will select the top new stories for publication in the Short Story Dispenser.

What's the prize?

If the jury selects your story or poem as a're getting published!
Winning tales will be loaded in Steamboat's Short Story Dispenser. These stories and poems will appear with a special LOCAL WRITER designation on each free printed scroll that emerges with your story printed on it.

How to submit your story or poem

  • Deadline for submissions is 12 p.m. MIDNIGHT on Sunday, May 31, 2020.
  • Submit electronically, formatted in a Word document, to
  • At the top of your submission, please include the title, name, email address and phone number.

What is the Short Story Dispenser?

Bud Werner Memorial Library is proud to present Short Edition in Steamboat Springs Colorado's first short story dispenser. This simple-to-use machine is designed to elevate the role of story in our everyday lives, giving everyone the opportunity for a serendipitous literary experience, free of charge. The Short Story Dispense lives by the Circulation Desk at the Library. When the Library reopens, we hope you'll visit often. Just press a button, retrieve your paper scroll, and enjoy a short, sweet read designed to entertain, engage and momentarily sweep you away. The dispenser is full of an ever-changing cache of short stories...some of which reflects the work of local authors! These unexpected moments of literary escape are provided to the Steamboat community in memory of Wayne E. Swanson — a lover of stories.


Contact Adult Programs Coordinator Jennie Lay at