11 Memoir Writing Contests for 2011

by Matilda Butler on January 7, 2011

catnav-news-active-3Post #50 – Women’s Memoirs, News – Kendra Bonnett and Matilda Butler

You Can Win a Memoir Writing Contest in 2011

You have stories to share — stories you are writing or dreaming of writing. You want others to read your stories but how do you get outside your comfort zone and make that happen? We have a suggestion.

memoir-writing-contest, memoir, memoir vignette, craft of memoir writingStart planning and writing now. Make a New Year’s resolution to enter one or more of our monthly memoir writing contests. We publish the stories from our top contestants and often have a prize for the best one. This year, we decided to announce all our contests at the start of the year so that you have time to write and polish your stories before submitting them.

Think of your entries as little gems. Take the time to polish them. At the end of this post is a list of points to remember when you write for our memoir writing contests.

Many of our contests last year were in our series called KitchenScraps. This year, we welcome the inclusion of recipes in any story, but it isn’t a requirement. The focus is on LifeScraps for 2011. Be sure to include one or more photographs–that’s part of making it a ScrapMir. If you have a great story and no appropriate photograph, that will not disadvantage you in our competition. But since our contests are all in the intersection between memoir writing and scrapbooking, we certainly appreciate some graphic elements.

Memoir Writing Contest deadlines and themes:

memoir-writing-contest, Valentine's Contest, craft of memoir writingMemoir Writing Contest #1: Deadline is January 31, 2011. Memoir Writing Contest Topic: The Best Valentine’s Day in Your Life. Or. The Worst Valentine’s Day in Your Life. The winner(s) will be published in February.



memoir-writing-contest, craft of memoir writing, memoirMemoir Writing Contest #2: Deadline is February 28, 2011. Memoir Writing Contest Theme: Reflections on Green. This topic gives you room for creativity. You might write about spring or a dress or St. Patrick’s Day or … The winner(s) will be published in March.

Memoir Writing Contest #3: Deadline is March 31, 2011. Memoir Writing Contest Topic: Memories of Aprils Past. April Fools’ Day might be the spark for your story. Easter comes between March 22 and April 25, but we’ll put Easter remembrances into Contest #3. If you have an April birthday, then your might draw your story from that occasion. The winner(s) will be published in April.

Memoir Writing Contest #4: Deadline is April 30, 2011. Memoir Writing Contest Topic: The Best Mother’s Day. Or. The Worst Mother’s Day. Your contest entry might be drawn from your childhood or could be after you became a mother. Mother’s Day this year, by the way, is May 8. The winner(s) will be published in May.

Memoir Writing Contest #5: Deadline is May 31, 2011. Memoir Writing Contest Theme: Remembering Junes of the Past. Contest entries might focus on celebrating Father’s Day. Did you and your siblings get or make your father a special gift or meal? Did Father’s Day have any special traditions when you were young? What about Father’s Day celebrations as an adult? In most states, June represents the end of school, an occasion marked with joy by children but not necessarily by all adults. All types of memories are welcome here. Father’s Day this year, by the way, is June 19. The winner(s) will be published in June.

memoir-writing-contest, Independence Day memoir vignette, craft of memoir writingMemoir Writing Contest #6: Deadline is June 30, 2011. Memoir Writing Contest Theme: Independence Day. You might take this topic literally or figuratively. let your mind wrap around a special July 4th and tell us about it. Or, you may have your own story of independence from a bad job or a bad marriage. Focus your story on independence. The winner(s) will be published in July.

Memoir Writing Contest #–: No deadline. Give yourself a month off. Or, get started on your story for next month’s contest.

Memoir Writing Contest #7: Deadline is August 31, 2011. Memoir Writing Contest Theme: Labor Day. This topic is meant to expand rather than restrict your creativity. You might have a story for a specific Labor Day. But you can also consider when you were in labor with your first child or when you were first in the labor force or going back to school right after Labor Day. The winner(s) will be published in September.

memoir-writing-contest-halloween, memoir vignette, craft of memoirMemoir Writing Contest #8: Deadline is September 30, 2011. Memoir Writing Contest Topic: Halloween, Halloween, Halloween. As you may know by now, Halloween is Kendra’s favorite holiday. Our Rosie the Riveter bandana is always popular to create an easy and inexpensive and EMPOWERED look for a Halloween party or even for handing out treats to the children who ring your doorbell. Send us your story of a halloween costume or halloween party. Maybe you’ll recall the excitement of going out trick or treating with your parents or when you first took your child for the candy walk. The winner(s) will be published in October.

memoir-writing-contest, craft of memoir, memoirMemoir Writing Contest #9: Deadline is October 31,2011. Memoir Writing Contest Theme: Gratitude. This is a special topic. Thanksgiving is a time to consider all that we are grateful in our lives. No matter today’s circumstances, we can still express gratitude for friendships or kindnesses or health or family or co-workers or surroundings or music or … Write to express your gratitude. The winner(s) will be published in November.

Memoir Writing Contest #10: Deadline is November 30, 2011. Memoir Writing Contest Topic: December Holidays. Stories of the holiday season are an important part of our experience base from childhood through adulthood. Although we have both sad and happy memories of earlier times in our lives, let’s focus on happy or poignant moments for the November 2011 contest. The winner(s) will be published in December.

Memoir Writing Contest #11: Deadline is December 31, 2011. Memoir Writing Contest Topic: Writers’ New Year’s Resolutions. This contest is different. Send us your New Year’s resolutions and we’ll publish a collection of them. Inspire yourself with your resolutions and we’re share them with others. Before December 31, 2011 brings the year to an end, be ready with your writing goals for 2012. If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know if you got there? Resolutions will be published in January 2012.

Tips for Writing Memoir Contest Entries:

1. About 1000 words but we accept fewer and greater.

2. Copy your entry into the text of an email to: Matilda at WomensMemoirs dot com. We can accept .doc files but it is easier for us to take your entry from an email. Do not submit .pdf files.

3. Attach one or more .jpg or .tif images of your photos. We can resize them if we publish your story so you don’t need to worry about that.

4. Remember that you are submitting a story. This means that there needs to be a turning point or a consequence or a life lesson learned — not just a string of events.

5. Include details from the five senses, when appropriate. They help to involve readers in the story.

6. If your story has a related recipe, please do share it with us. We all like to conjure with a new recipe, even if we only make it in our minds.

{ 1 trackback }

Memoir Contest Winner: Easter Bonnet by Tracy Kauffman-Wood — Memoir Writing Blog
January 20, 2011 at

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Nancy Julien Kopp January 9, 2011 at

You don’t specify whether the story must be an unpublished piece, or if it can be something that has been published elsewhere. Thanks in advance for your answer.

Matilda Butler January 9, 2011 at

Hi Nancy:
The story can be either unpublished or published as long as you still have the rights to it. We’re looking forward to receiving your contest entry.

Jennee January 12, 2011 at

I have some reflecting to do! Great contests! I hope I can find something to submit.

Matilda Butler January 12, 2011 at

Hi Jennee: As you can tell from our list, our topics have a focus but it is a broad focus that invites creativity and imagination. Give your muse an open invitation to get your writing for one of these contests.

Jeanne January 29, 2011 at

Hello! Is there an entrance fee? And can we join even though we’re from Asia? Thanks.

Matilda Butler January 29, 2011 at

Hi Jeanne:

Thanks for your questions.

There are no entrance fees although there may be at some time in the future.

Women’s Memoirs is truly international. Just yesterday, Kendra and I were reflecting on how many contest entries come in from outside the U.S. (Even orders — although for the latter we have to figure out international shipping — right now is costs us more to ship than we charge.)

So the short answer is “yes,” please do submit.

gina cowan March 26, 2011 at

Hope to contribute an article soon. I have just published my memoirs of a child in Scotland during WW2,’Ena’s War’ It is on amazon.

Alma Nieves April 7, 2011 at

Interested in any other language other than English? I would love to send you a piece using both Spanish and English….

Kendra Bonnett April 8, 2011 at

Alma, we’ll consider it. Matilda and I don’t speak Spanish very well…some high school Spanish is about the extent of it. Why don’t you send us an email to discuss before you start. Let’s see what you have in mind.

Laura Monagan June 19, 2011 at

Hello, Fellow Memoir Writers,
My memoir is too long to enter in this contest, but perhaps you and your readers would be interested in reading about my walk across the United States. I’m a songwriter, too, so my memoir includes the songs I wrote on my walk. You can access the memoir, “A Strange Place Called Home” for free at the above website. Many thanks for your blog!

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