Pen to Pandemic: A short story competition in the time of COVID-19

The East Greenbush Community Library, in partnership with the Town of East Greenbush and the Hart Cluett Museum, is hosting a short story competition.

Here are the competition rules:

  • You must be at least 18 years of age.
  • The story must be a work of fiction set in Rensselaer County during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
  • Word count must be between 1,500 to 2,000 words.
  • Any genre.
  • Email submissions to in .doc or .pdf format by March 15, 2021.
  • All stories must be previously unpublished, original stories.

 Pen to Pandemic Flyer

The Details

  • Judging will be done by a joint committee.
  • Two winning short story submissions will be chosen. We will choose one winner each from the 18- to 49-year-old age group and 50 and older group.
  • We will accept a total of 50 entries.
  • One entry will be accepted per person. 
  • Typed submissions are due March 15, 2021 to 
  • We will notify winners by May 1, 2021.

All entrants will need to indicate that they have read and agree to this Consent to Publish upon registration.  Click on the arrow to expand.

We will host a public reading for the winners to read their stories and publish their work. 

This contest has ended. Stories will be judged by language and style, originality of ideas and how you have created a snapshot of time. It is essential that COVID-19 and Rensselaer County are used in the story. Stories that do not follow the criteria will be disqualified. 

Local Partners: 

  • The Town of East Greenbush
  • The Hart Cluett Museum (formerly Rensselaer County Historical Society) 
  • East Greenbush Community Library 


  • Roberta (Bobbie) Reno, East Greenbush Town Historian
  • Kathy T. Sheehan, County & City Historian at the Hart Cluett Museum
  • Frankie Y. Bailey: Professor at the School of Criminal Justice at the University of Albany (SUNY) and published author