Submissions open for annual Matchbook Library Shop short story competition

The Library Shop on Saturday opened submissions for its sixth annual Match Story Contest, a challenge to fit a story into a matchbook.

Submissions are open until November 15. The new winner, like last year, will be printed on a limited edition matchbook available for purchase from the library shop.

“Libraries are a place where creativity and imagination are nurtured, and this annual contest gives everyone the opportunity to show off their creative side,” said Scott Ehrig-Burgess, Library Shop Manager and Head of public engagement for SD Library Foundation. “This annual tradition for library patrons has become one of the most popular programs in recent years. Best of all, it directly supports other programs at all 36 San Diego Public Library branches. It’s a great way for the community to get involved and support their local library.

Over the past five years, the library store has received more than 1,100 short story entries for its Matchbook Story Contest, San Diego’s shortest short story contest. Each entry will cost the traditional $5 fee. This year, each entry will quadruple its impact thanks to a $5,000 matching gift from longtime patron and Foundation trustee Judith Wenker to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Library Foundation SD.

Each year, the winner receives a $50 gift card from the library shop and their story is printed on 2,000 matchbooks available for purchase from the library shop, published in the Library Connections e-newsletter and installed as part of the Tiny Book Display in the Hervey Family Rare Reading Room at the San Diego Central Library.

Last year’s winning entry was written by Sarah Hilliard: “’Imagine yourself as a frog on a lily pad’, whispers the soothing voice in my ear. Obediently, I imagine: slimy and cold, I’m adrift in a polluted pond. The deadly beak of a heron looms. My legs are getting ready to jump but it’s too late. I delete the meditation app.

The winner will be announced on December 8 at the third annual Shorties, a hybrid awards gala celebrating outstanding contest entries.

For more information and to submit stories, visit

–City News Service

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