Arts and Entertainment

Libraries Short Stories spring contest seeks 'April Showers' submissions

Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Whatever the weather, Penn State University Libraries knows you’ve got a story to share. Now open for submissions through Friday, April 3, the latest Short Stories Writing Contest challenges Penn State students, faculty and staff University-wide to tap into their creativity and submit their original short stories or poems on the theme “April Showers.”

“We want your best writing using weather as a central element of your submission,” the writing prompt from the Libraries Short Stories editorial board states. “Weather changes usher in new opportunities and seasons. Weather can influence our mood and impact the things we do; a sunny day can make a bad day better, and the pitter-patter of rain can keep us inside. Let your imagination run wild with this prompt.” 

For example, how does climate influence our day-to-day lives? How might the weather influence mood and emotions of a character? Does the weather itself have characteristics? Through Apr. 3, participants can submit their best original short story or poem that includes weather as the setting or an element of the submission for a chance to be published in the Libraries' Penn State Short Story dispensers across the commonwealth.

To be accepted, a short story or poem must be significantly tied to this theme and be vetted by the Short Edition Editorial Board. Submission lengths are:

  • Short story: maximum of 8,000 characters, including spaces
  • Poetry: maximum of 6,000 characters

Work must be submitted by Friday, April 3, to be considered. Stories and poems accepted by the editorial board will be published on the "Short Edition" website and the public will be able to vote for their favorites. Five winners will be chosen from across the commonwealth and each will win $100 and have their story or poem published on the Libraries' short-story dispensers. Several honorable mentions will also be chosen and those authors will also have their story or poem published on the Libraries' short-story dispensers.

Short-story dispensers at the University Park campus can be found at: 

  • Paterno Library entrance
  • Pattee Library mall entrance
  • Grange Building entrance at Pollock Road

Short-story dispensers also are at, or near:

  • Schlow Centre Region Library, State College, Pennsylvania
  • Penn State Abington College Library  
  • John M. Lilley Library at Penn State Behrend
  • Berks Thun Library at Penn State Berks
  • John D. Vairo Library at Penn State Brandywine
  • Penn State Harrisburg Library
  • Penn State York Library

For more information about the "April Showers" writing contest, visit Questions about the Libraries Short Stories writing contests, the Libraries Short Stories online platform, or short-story dispensers’ curricular or co-curricular use can be directed to Student Engagement Coordinator Hailley Fargo at

Last Updated February 28, 2020