Three-Minute Fiction Slam

Three-Minute Fiction Slam is a fast paced literary competition that challenges writers to perform original pieces of fiction in three minutes or less in front of a panel of judges. 2017 regional winners gathered for a final showdown at the NH Institute of Art in March. The winner and runners-up are pictured below.

Left: Mark Michael Adams, Newmarket (3rd place); Middle: Peggy McFarland, Nashua (Winner with her story The Commute); Right: Cheryl Cooper Barnhart (2nd place).

Want to host a contest?

Regional contests are produced by Writers’ Night Out hosts, educational institutions, libraries, or otherwise interested volunteers. Producers do three things prior to an event. First, they select and book a venue between now and early March. Pubs, coffee shops, rock clubs, and restaurants have all hosted events in the past. Second, the producer acts as contact for registration. The regional competition is limited to 10 participants, so a waiting list may need to be maintained in case someone gets cold feet. Third, the host selects three judges. Still interested in producing a contest? Let us know and we can help get you set up.

Are you planning a Three-Minute Fiction Slam? Let us know by sending an email to Three-Minute Fiction Slam. Include your name and contact information, and the location, date and time of the event.

How does the event work?

Here is what you can expect from a Three-Minute Fiction Slam contest:

  • The host welcomes the audience and writers and offers a general overview of the evening.
  • Writers take turns presenting original flash fiction pieces of no more than three minutes in length when read aloud.
  • In some regions, contestants consent to being shot with a water pistol if they go over his or her time. In other regions, a cell phone timer goes off.
  • After each writer is done, judges give (very brief) verbal feedback and secretly record a numeric score out of five. One point over-all will be deducted if an author goes over the allotted three minutes.
  • The judges keep a private score for each piece. At the end of the night, the contestant with the highest score wins. In the event of a tie, the audience selects the winner through an “Applause-O-Meter” test as determined by the judges.
  • Regional winners are invited to participate in the Three-Minute Fiction Slam state finals. If they cannot attend, then the runner-up will be sent.
  • Past winners have performed their works for the Business in the Arts Awards Ceremony, the Currier Museum, and on-air at NHPR. Among other prizes, the ultimate winner gets free entrance to The 603 Conference (the region’s largest literary conference) where they will read the winning work before an audience of publishers, editors, agents, and fellow writers.