Call for Stories Expressing the Legacy of Mother-to-Daughter Wisdom

by Kendra Bonnett on October 22, 2010

catnav-news-active-3Post #41 – Women’s Memoirs, News – Kendra Bonnett and Matilda Butler

“The Woman who bore me is no longer alive, but I seem to be her daughter in increasingly profound ways.” ~Johnnetta Betsch Cole, academic and college president

“A mother is not a person to lean on, but a person to make leaning unnecessary.” ~Dorothy Canfield Fisher, educational reformer and social activist

“I cannot forget my mother; she is my bridge.” ~Renita J. Weems, theologian and author

“God intended motherhood to be a relay race. Each generation would pass the baton on to the next.” ~Mary Pride, author and homeschooling advocate

“My mother won’t admit it, but I’ve always been a disappointment to her. Deep down inside, she’ll never forgive herself for giving birth to a daughter who refuses to launder aluminum foil and use it over again.” ~Erma Bombeck, humorist, author

Wisdom-Has-a-VoiceBe Part of a Women’s Collective Memoir

Do you have something special to say about your mother? Authors Kate Farrell and Lynn Henriksen decided to create the Wisdom Has a Voice project to capture the legacy of our mothers’ wisdom and influence in memoir. As they explain, these are the “women’s stories we’ve been waiting for.”

The project actually began back in 2007. It began with a series of workshops, and now Kate and Lynn are moving into the anthology phase. Since virtually every visitor to Women’s Memoirs is in some phase of writing a memoir, this is a perfect opportunity for you to submit a story for consideration.

In her email to us, Kate stressed the following: “We are looking for personal narratives that demonstrate the art of storytelling and possess a story arc with dramatic appeal. We will select stories that weave the significance of the unique experience into the storyline….The wisdom or lesson learned from mother ought to be expressed in an authentic voice with originality and resonance.” If you want to read a sample, here’s one by Kate Farrell, called “Red Flower: A Memoir of Mother.”

As this is a multi-media project, you can expect an audio version of your story. My advice is to use dialogue effectively. Use it for effect, to capture the voice of your characters and create tension. Dialogue is so much more than a break from narrative. Matilda’s advice is to read your story out loud several times. You’ll catch sentences that just don’t work well and you’ll have a better sense of how your story works as an audio piece, which I imagine will be considered in the judging.

Submission Guidelines and Deadlines

The anthology will be published in October 2011. Just 25 of the best, most compelling stories about a mother (or mother figure) will be included. Winners will receive a complimentary copy of the book, a discount on additional copies, an option to record her story as a podcast, and mention in promotional materials, including a photo and bio posted on the Wisdom website and in the book.

You’ll find all the details for submitting here, but I’ll give you the highlights:

  • Length: 2,000 to 2,500 words
  • Due date: February 1, 2011
  • Only one submission per author
  • All submissions must be new material for publication, no reprints
  • Authors will be notified by March 1, 2011

Matilda and I can tell you from our first-hand experience on Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story that working on a collective memoir is an exciting and inspiring experience. It’s not only the stories that surface, but the patterns and trends that emerge and the incredible impact these stories have on all women. We encourage you to get involved in this project.




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