Hannah Kate

poet, short story writer and editor based in Manchester

3 Minute Scares


3 Minute Scares is back for its second year!

Can you tell a scary story in just 3 minutes? Want to win a fantastic prize from Breakout, Manchester’s real-life escape room game? This Halloween, I’m once again looking for the spookiest flash fiction in Greater Manchester for a competition on Hannah’s Bookshelf (my weekly radio show on North Manchester FM).

The best 5 entries will be played on this year’s Halloween episode of Hannah’s Bookshelf (on Saturday 28th October), with the winner receiving a fantastic prize from Breakout and the title of Greater Manchester’s Spookiest Wordsmith. There will also be an opportunity for the top 5 writers to read their stories as part of the Halloween lantern parade at Boggart Hole Clough on 28th October.

3 Minute Scares will be judged by the wonderful Dr Sorcha Ní Fhlaínn of MMU’s Centre for Gothic Studies and outstanding horror author Simon Bestwick.

To enter the competition, all you need is a microphone and a story. Once you’re ready to go, just hit the ‘Start Recording’ button below to begin recording your story. When you’re happy with it, submit your entry, but you can re-record it before you submit. If you have any problems or additional access requirements, please get in touch via the contact form.

This is a creative writing competition, so we’re looking for style, originality and – above all – spookiness. Don’t be tempted to jump scare us – entries that consist of bangs, weird noises and mutterings aren’t likely to make it to the shortlist! A well-crafted piece of flash fiction is what’s needed to win the grand prize.


Entries: recording of a scary/spooky story, no more than 3 minutes long
Judges: Hannah Kate, Dr Sorcha Ní Fhlaínn and Simon Bestwick
Prize: game for 2-5 people in one of Breakout Manchester’s escape rooms
Deadline: Sunday 22 October, midnight

Before you send in your entry, please have a read of these rules…

1. Entries must be no more than 3 minutes long. This means a word count of roughly 350-400 words. Shorter entries will be considered. Multiple entries allowed.

2. Entrants must live in the Greater Manchester area (i.e. Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan).

3. Deadline for entries is midnight, Sunday 22 October.

4. The 5 selected stories will be broadcast on Hannah’s Bookshelf on Saturday 28 October (2-4pm), and then available via ‘listen again’ on the station’s website for a number of weeks. By submitting an entry, you agree to the broadcast of your recording on the show through these channels. The show will also be uploaded to Mixcloud following broadcast; however, permission will be sought to include winning entries in this upload before it is made available. All other rights remain with the authors.

5. Entries must be the author’s original work, and the entrant must hold the broadcast rights to the piece.

6. Due to broadcasting regulations, stories must not contain profanity, defamation or endorsement of illegal activity. Obviously, a Halloween story is likely to contain some wickedness, so common sense will also be applied. If your story contains swearing, it will still be considered for the competition… but some words might be bleeped out for broadcast.

7. Shortlisting will be done by Hannah Kate, with the final selection made by the judges.

8. If you are unable to record your story for any reason, please do get in touch. Alternative arrangements can be made.

Ready to submit your entry? Click on the button below…

3 Minute Scares Winners 2016:

Runners-Up: Benjamin Cassidy, Emma Makarova
3rd Place: Fiona Cullen
2nd Place: Bridie Breen
1st Place – Greater Manchester’s Spookiest Wordsmith: Ian Peek