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Welcome to the Home of Sledgehammer and Mini Sledgehammer Writing Contests

It all started with a wacky idea back in 2008 when Ali Shaw and Kristin Thiel were Sledgehammerbrainstorming ways to make write-in events more interesting. And thus a timed contest driven by prompts and rewarded with prizes was born! In 2008, we held the first Sledgehammer 36-Hour Writing Contest, and shortly after the second contest, in 2009, we started hosting monthly Mini Sledgehammer 36-Minute Writing Contests.

After eight magical years of running the 36-hour contest, we decided to give ourselves a break from the massive amount of work that goes into putting on a weekend-long, international contest with more than $10,000 worth in prizes. The Sledgehammer 36-Hour Writing Contest has been on hiatus since 2015. The stories are still a blast to read, though, so feel free to poke around the site, using the categories in the sidebar to guide you.

And the Mini Sledgehammer 36-Minute Writing Contests are still going strong, so join us! All writers are welcome, from published professionals to newborn novelists. We give the writers four writing prompts and set the timer for thirty-six minutes. When the time is up, they read their stories and the judges select a winner—all right there on the spot. There’s no time to hesitate, second-guess, or hold back. Then the winner takes home prizes!

Second Tuesdays
Blackbird Wine & Atomic Cheese
4323 NE Fremont St., Portland, OR
6:30–8:30 p.m., FREE

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NEW! Mini Sledgehammer Anthology

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The team behind the Mini Sledgehammer Writing Contest is excited to announce our anthology: The Exquisite Rush: 36 Stories, now available!

We have met once a month since 2009. Some truly amazing writers have come through our doors, and this anthology features 36 of the best winning stories from the first eight years!

Whether you like thrillers or romance, there’s a story for you in this anthology. Sci-fi, absurdist drama, voodoo noir—they’re in here! You’ll hold every genre in your hands.

See the Anthology tab for more details.