Tales of the Dead Contest

August 15, 2016

Tales of the Dead Ghost Story Contest

A ghost story writing contest 200 years ago led to the creation of Frankenstein’s monster and the first modern vampire story. It was the summer of 1816, the year without a summer, when the incessant rains inspired Lord Byron to challenge his friends to write ghost stories inspired by the horror anthology Fantasmagoriana:Tales of the Dead. Dr. John Polidori wrote a story, later published asThe Vampyre, which introduced the modern concept of the blood-sucking vampire, and Mary Shelley sketched out a story which would later be published as Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, two of the greatest gothic horror stories of all time.

In the spirit of that contest, on its 200th anniversary and in conjunction with their fall event A Toast Among Ghosts, Baltimore County Public Library (BCPL) is challenging you to write your own original ghost story. Stories should be no more than 3,000 words long, and must be submitted torsvp@bcpl.net by Friday, September 23, 2016. A winner will be selected by a panel of judges. The winner and a guest will receive tickets to A Toast Among Ghosts on Saturday, October 8, where the winner will be invited to read their story. The winning story will also be published on the Foundation for BCPL’s website. The winner will be notified on September 30.

Must be 21 years old or older to enter.

Tales of the Dead Writing Program

Every writer needs a bit of inspiration now and then. Mary Shelley found her inspiration with that contest in the summer of 1816. Get inspired to write the next great horror story with eerie prompts and activities, and get in the spirit for A Toast Among Ghosts. For adults 21 years old and up.


  • September 1, Thursday, Owings Mills Branch at 6:30 p.m.
  • September 1, Thursday, White Marsh Branch at 7 p.m.
  • September 6, Tuesday, Reisterstown Branch at 6:30 p.m.
  • September 6, Tuesday, Randallstown Branch at 7 p.m.
  • September 7, Wednesday, Essex Branch at 7 p.m.
  • September 8, Thursday, Cockeysville Branch at 7 p.m.
  • September 12, Monday, Parkville Branch at 6:30 p.m.
  • September 12, Monday, Hereford Branch at 7 p.m.
  • September 14, Thursday, Woodlawn Branch at 7:30 p.m.