Along with the prizes, the winning short stories will be published on the Chautauqua Tonight website and in a small printed handout available locally. Please read all the rules and submission guidelines below and have fun!



  • Your short story must be NO MORE than 1500 words in length.
  • You must use any THREE (or more) of the provided elements in your story. Be as creative as possible.
  • Your short story must be finished and received by July 8th.
  • By submitting your short story, we have full use of it in part or whole in any of our publications online or in print as part of our current or future publications and marketing. This includes any of our partner entities. You do retain full rights to your story including the rights to publish.
  • Winners will be selected by the judges. Their decisions are final.



  • Phrases
    • “Do you want to go to the _____?”
    • “He’s out there again.”
    • “It’s the best in town.”
    • “Only in Jamestown.”
    • “You should have seen her face.”
  • Words
    • Brick
    • Books
    • Church
    • Coffee
    • Daisy
    • Downtown
    • Food
    • Pothole
    • River
    • Zombie



  • Fill out the entire submission form. Ready to submit? Click here.
  • Remember, your story must be no more than 1500 words in length.
  • Please use Microsoft Word, Open Office, or PDF format to submit your entry and use 12 pt single space.
  • Please make sure to include the full title in the file name.
  • If you have issues exporting your story or submitting your story, you can email for assistance.
    • Please include “Chautauqua Tonight Creative Lit 2017 Help” in the subject line.



  • Your story will be judged on creativity including the use of the provided words and phrases, keeping the reader’s attention, and general story and character development.



  • Peter Hamilton
    • Peter Hamilton is a columnist, and published feature writer for magazine and newspaper.  He has contributed on many non-fiction subjects. More so, he is a fiction writer.His self-chosen domain is “Interrogative Fiction”. He is a member of The Authors’ Guild; Associated Writers and Publishers; Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle; Sewanee Writers; One Story; The Write Circle; Gotham Writer’s Group, and other affiliates. His work has been accepted at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, Sewanee Writers’ Conference; StoneCoast;  Tom Jenks Workshop; The Gathering, Tinker Mountain, The Alkonkian Retreat, among others. He has been a reading participant at Rappahannock, Sewanee, Three Springs, Alkonkian, StoneCoast, Chautauqua County Public libraries, and The Chautauqua Institute. He lives on the top floor of the second tallest building in Sherman, NY.
  • Richard Olson-Walter
    • Richard Olson-Walter is a writer, actor and director from the UK, now living in Jamestown, NY. His works include “The Murder at the Mill Trilogy”, “Titanic Tales”, “The Mince Pie of Doom Trilogy” (co-written with Simon Baker), “The Mince Pie of Doom Radio Series”, “On Reflection”, and “Last Orders”. Richard’s latest work, “Least Resistance“, which considers the subject of addiction and recovery in Jamestown, is due to be performed at the Willow Bay Theater on 28/29 April and 5/6 May.
  • Robert Terreberry
    • Bob Terreberry is a retired English and special education teacher who currently lives with his wife Irene in Maple Springs.  The Terreberrys lived in Jamestown for 30 years and were a part of the theatrical scene.  Bob has over 78 plays to his credit as an actor and as an artistic director.  In his retirement he is writing a series of mysteries, “The Colin O’Brien Maple Springs Mysteries”.  The first, MURDER AT MAPLE SPRINGS, debuted in 2016 and the second, A MAPLE SPRINGS REUNION, will be published in the fall of 2017.  The Terreberrys have three adult children and four adorable grandchildren that keep them active and young.





  • If you have any questions or issues exporting your story or submitting your story, you can email for assistance.
    • Please include “Chautauqua Tonight Creative Lit 2017 Help” in the subject line.