Writing Contest

A writing contest sponsored by the Brown County Historical Society

Part of being a good writer is being a good observer. And if you can observe in secret – as an undetected eavesdropper – all the better. After all, it’s so much fun to write about the gossip that was never meant for your ears.  That’s why the Brown County Historical Society’s inaugural writing contest is titled A Fly on the Wall.

Below are the ground rules and guidelines:


You are to write a very short story that’s narrated by a time traveling fly. Your fly is to travel to a bygone era. Exactly how far back is up to you, but since we are a historical society, it should be back to a time when cell phones did not exist, and where lifestyles, customs, clothing and culture would seem strange to a modern reader.


The place is also up to you. Maybe your fly will listen from the wall of your own house, but 100 years in the past. Maybe your fly is on the wall of your neighborhood pub back when Wisconsin was still a wild frontier. Or maybe it’s on the wall of your great great grandparents’ home in the old country.

Who and what

Who is your fly observing and what are they discussing? Are your they planning a wedding? A bank robbery? Covering up a family secret? Or maybe they’re planning their escape from persecution to find a better life in a far off place … like Wisconsin. This is your opportunity to get creative. Remember, your fly hears everything, no matter how private, mundane, or salacious. It is, after all, a fly on the wall.

Ground Rules:

  • Your story can be as fictional or factual as you’d like. But try and be historically accurate about the setting (your great great grandparents are not sitting on an Ikea sofa or drinking Starbucks).
  • 800 words or less.
  • Double spaced and in a format that can be emailed. 


  • Cash Prizes to be announced
  • the top 10 writers will be invited to publicly read their stories. (location and date to be announced)


  • Submissions are due by February 28th
  • Winners will be announced on April 15th

Submit Your Writing Here

If the submission button is not working for you please email your submission to [email protected]