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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    Ursula K. Le Guin once said: “First sentences are doors to worlds.” Here’s your chance to write your own!

    Berlin-Peck invites you to compose your best opening line to an imaginary novel. You can write on any topic or genre, as long as your sentence is original and makes us want to read more!


    It was a dark and stormy night…

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Paul Clifford

    It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

    Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

    Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small, unregarded yellow sun.

    Douglas Adams, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy


    Submit a Sentence!

    Compose your best opening line to an imaginary novel. Any topic or genre is acceptable, as long as your first sentence is original and pulls us in, leaving us wanting to read more.



      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!