For the second year in a row, The Lamp is sponsoring a Christmas ghost story competition in the spirit of Dickens and M.R. James. When we say “in the spirit of,” we do not have in mind wan pseudo-Edwardian pastiches of James and others; we mean stories that “succeed in causing their readers to feel pleasantly uncomfortable when walking along a solitary road at nightfall, or sitting over a dying fire in the small hours,” stories with contemporary or near-contemporary settings that achieve effects similar to those sought by the genre’s masters.

The winner of this year’s competition will receive one thousand dollars, and his or her story will appear in the Christmas number of the magazine. At least two runners-up will receive three hundred dollars each and have their stories published online during Christmastide.

The rules are as follows:

i. The contest is open to all writers aged eighteen and older. With the exception of The Lamp’s editor, any judges involved will not be aware of the identities of the authors before assessing their work; they will examine entries “blind,” without regard for previous publications, background, etc.

ii. The prize is for stories no longer than ten thousand words. There is no minimum length.

iii. Stories, while obviously intended to be frightening, must not contain obscene or indecent material.

iv. Stories must involve the supernatural, however sensitively portrayed or faintly suggested.

v. Stories must be written in English.

vi. Stories must be original, which is to say, they must not have been published previously, either in print or in any public online forum.

vii. “Simultaneous submissions” are not permitted.

viii. Only one story per entrant is allowed.

ix. Entries may be submitted by email to (.doc, .docx, or .rtf only: .PDF attachments will not be read). Biographical information limited to a single sentence should be contained in a separate document.

x. Entries should be formatted in Times New Roman with single line spacing. Do not include tab stops, indents, headers, footers, page numbers, or illustrations original or otherwise. A title will suffice. Epigraphs are also permitted.

xi. Submissions must be sent by midnight Eastern Time on October 31, 2022 in order to be eligible.

xii. Both the winner and at least two runners-up will be notified at a date to be announced later. No other editorial correspondence related to the contest will take place. The decision of the judges is final.

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