- Public Domain
For the specialist crowd, there's Nerd Slam II—a poetry/short fiction contest joined at the hip to a trivia contest. Entries should demonstrate the author's "nerd specialty," like a favorite video game, passion for cooking show trivia, or whether Star Wars is better than Star Trek.
Poetry entries will be judged by Catherine Kyle, author of Gamer: A Role-Playing Poem. Boise State University School of Public Service Professor Justin Vaughn, author of Poli Sci Fi: An Introduction to Political Science Through Science Fiction, will judge fiction.
Submissions may include up to two works of poetry or fiction, each no longer than 500 words, and a $10 fee for each entry. Poets and fiction writers may begin submitting their work Friday, Feb. 17 to firstname.lastname@example.org. The submission period is open until Friday, April 28.
Winners in the fiction and poetry categories will receive $100 each and be asked to read at Nerd Slam II—slated for 8 p.m., Thursday, May 11, at Spacebar Arcade—during which there will also be a nerd-themed trivia competition.
Looking for something closer to now? Nerd Slam II organizer Big Tree Arts is throwing a Slammed Hearts poetry slam Friday, Feb. 10 at MING Studios, featuring an auction and special guest reader. Sign-ups start at 6:30 p.m. and the slam starts at 7 p.m.
Mad literary skills are also the way to sweet, sweet Treefort Music Fest swag through the Storyfort/Micro-Fiction Contest. Winners will go home with a Storyfort shirt and assorted other goodies, or a two-day weekend Treefort pass. The first-place winner will walk into the sunset with a five-day Treefort pass. All winning entries will be published in CWI literary journal Basalt.
Here are the rules: Participants may submit up to three works of micro-fiction with a $5 entry fee for each piece online. Entries must be "completely resolved and compelling" stories 300-500 words in length, and all submissions must be anonymous—there should be no names attached to the story itself.
There's one more wrinkle. All stories must begin with one of the following lines from popular music:
- "Tommy used to work on the docks." ("Livin' on a Prayer" by Jon Bon Jovi)
- "We know where we wanna go." ("Living Zoo" by Built to Spill)
- "Ghost in the mirror, I knew your face once, but now it's unclear." ("Never Ending" by Rihanna)