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First Line Literary Contest

Wednesday, February 1 – Tuesday, February 28, 2023
Berlin-Peck invites you to compose your best original opening line to an imaginary novel!

February 1, 2023

Events > First Line Literary Contest

Event Information


Wednesday, February 1
to Tuesday, February 28, 2023
iCal / Google Calendar

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    See you next year!

    The 2023 contest is over. We’ll see you next year 🙂

    Looking for a more recent contest? Check out our contests page!


    Thank you to all who entered, and congrats to the winner of our second annual First Line Literary Contest!

    “The whole town agreed: the best thing about the Lebowitz triplets was that there weren’t more of them.”


    All Participants

    The End… and then I woke up!

    Valentines come and go—best friends are forever.

    My favorite time of the day is the moment it starts to get dark…

    It’s not like anyone’s going to miss a three-thousand foot spaceship, right?

    I can’t remember what I ate for breakfast; but, then again, I died twelve minutes ago.

    I answered the telephone at midnight to hear a voice say I had twenty four hours to live,,,,

    There was something so striking about her and then I realized she had one blue eye and one brown eye.

    The whole town agreed: the best thing about the Lebowitz triplets was that there weren’t more of them.

    My wedding day began inauspiciously at 3:18 a.m. with the unmistakable sound of a cat vomiting on my pillow.

    “Well, this is a stupid way to die,” he thought, as he felt his body creep closer to the grinding teeth of the wood chipper.

    Escaping through the fields in hand-me-down pajamas, Charlie realized too late that he should have worn his Keds instead of his lucky slippers.

    My father once told me in the vainness of my youthful beauty that every rose wilts and as I glance into the mirror two decades later i realize he was no fool.

    Never growing up having a pet and acquiring a cat as an adult she was in wonderment on how much she loved her cat and thought perhaps she was odd and realized how this much love could never be odd.

    Her father had passed away that year and on this particular day while sitting at a traffic light there was a man in the car ahead of her wearing a Bollman hat like her father wore. It was very comforting.

    She was at the horse race track with some friends and saw this man in a wheelchair and in her heart of hearts recalled that she had never stopped loving him even after their breakup and the years that had passed.



    1. Participants must have a library card.
    2. Ages 14 through adult can participate.
    3. Entries must be submitted by the deadline of February 24, 2022.
    4. Submissions will be judged by a blind review panel.
    5. Participants may submit multiple entries but can only win one prize.
    6. Submissions must be one sentence in length, with a maximum of 300 characters.



    The winner will receive bragging rights, a reading-themed pin from our All-Year Reading Contest.

    EVERY participant will receive a custom bookmark with their best sentence. Multiple entries are allowed, but each participant will receive one bookmark. This year’s winning line will be listed on the back of each bookmark!

    Judges will pick a winner anonymously, without seeing who submitted the sentence.

    The winner will be announced in early March.



    Check out the phenomenal entries from previous years: 2022

    Looking for inspiration to help write your first line? Check out these famous first lines!



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