Enter the Minnesota Mystery Flash Fiction Contest!

Tap into your inner Arthur Conan Doyle and submit a short historical mystery in the Minnesota Mystery Flash Fiction Contest!

Inspired by Sherlock Holmes: The Exhibition now on display at the Minnesota History Center, this contest gives you the chance to share your take on a Minnesota historical mystery and become a featured author. Our selected winner will have their original story featured in an upcoming issue of Minnesota History magazine. The game is afoot!

Submission requirements

Here are some clues to what contest judges are looking for and requirements that all submissions must follow to be considered. Check out the Official Contest Rules for full details.

All stories must:

  • Involve a Minnesota historical figure or event (scroll down for ideas.)
  • Be set in a time period before 1985
  • Involve a mystery in the plot

Your submission also must meet the following criteria to be considered:

  • No more than 1,500 words in length
  • Language and themes must be appropriate for all ages
  • No previously published works allowed (let us know if your story is accepted elsewhere during the contest period)
  • Be an original work of the author and not violate any intellectual property rights
  • Be submitted through this contest’s official form, with all requirements and rules accepted

How will your story be judged?

Our judges are looking for a mystery story that is original, cleverly plotted, historically accurate, plausible, and has proper style and grammar. In short, we are looking for good, well-written, interesting mysteries that highlight Minnesota history!

Important contest dates

  • Oct. 21: Submission period opens
  • Dec. 15: Submission period ends
  • Jan 9: Three winners contacted
  • Apr. 1: Winning entries posted on MNHS.org, top winner’s story featured in Minnesota History

Looking for ideas? Check out MNopedia

MNopedia.org is the Minnesota Encyclopedia, compiled by the Minnesota Historical Society. Below are a few articles we have created that may inspire or inform the characters, setting, or plot of your mystery. But don’t limit yourself — dig into Minnesota history and see what else you can uncover!



Entry form

All submissions must use the form below, and all entrants must review and agree to submission requirements and official contest rules. All starred fields are required.