ThrillerFest XIV • July 9 – 13, 2019 • Grand Hyatt • New York City

Best First Sentence Contest

To enter the 2019 Best First sentence contest, please email your submissions to You may only submit one entry. To qualify to enter, you must be an ITW member or registered for ThrillerFest XIV (2019). Winners will be announced on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 at the CraftFest luncheon. Any winners not in attendance will be notified shortly thereafter.

Thanks for your entry, and good luck!

Below you’ll find the winners of the Best First Sentence Contest from ThrillerFest XIII (2018).

Please check back for the updated list of winners for the Best First Sentence Contest for ThrillerFest XIV (2019).

Best First Sentence 2018 Judges Choices:

Steven James:
For two hours every Tuesday the little boy felt no fear.
-Jack Castlewhite

David Corbett:
Exú crouched on the rocks, his sleek skin blending with the night and his golden eyes shining like stars, while below, the young witch burned.
-Tori Eldridge

Paul Wilson:
When I saw my colleague draw a gun from her handbag, I knew this faculty meeting was not going to end well.
-Warren Darcy

D.P. Lyle:
It’s not easy to find a nice, quiet spot to torture someone in L.A.
– Christopher Farnsworth

Andrew Gross:
The gunshot was fatal, but I wasn’t sure which one of us had died.
-Elena Hartwell

Gayle Lynds:
When she surfaced, her dive boat was gone.
-Karen Harper

Meg Gardiner:
I can’t tell you everything, but there’s a pig involved.
-Mike Pace

Steve Berry:
My father married me when I was twelve.
-Colleen Winter

Grant Blackwood:
Never wager unless you control the stakes.
-Dani Pettrey

Robert Dugoni:
I knew it was over when the flamingo stepped on my face.
-Jeffrey Bruce

Donald Maass:
My name is Abdul Rosenberg; I have issues.
-Joseph Savage