Two Memoir Contests Close; New Contest Opens

by Matilda Butler on July 10, 2012

catnav-news-active-3Post #79 – Women’s Memoirs, News – Kendra Bonnett and Matilda Butler

Memoir Writing Contests, Two Have Now Closed

Kendra and I want to thank all the readers who submitted contest entries to our Summer Memoir Contest and/or to our Food and Memoir Contest. We now how many entries and will be spending the next month or so reading them all of them and making our decisions.

We will post our winners on this site as soon as we have the results. The winning entries to the Summer Memoir Contest will be published here. The winners to the Food and Memoir Contest will be published as an iBook. We’ll keep everyone up to date as we move forward with the project. Please be patient with us as this is a major undertaking.

Ongoing Contest: Fall Memoir Contest

Be sure to go to our Contests page to read about our Fall Memoir Contest. Entries are due September 30. You’ll find the details on that page.

And a New Memoir Contest

Our new contest is different from any of our previous ones. This is a memoir writing website so we have always asked you to share your own stories. But this time, we want you to find a woman in your family or a family friend who worked during World War II.

NOTE: Although we hope you can find a Rosie in your family or community that may not be possible or easy for you. Therefore, if you have a family member who worked during World War II, but who is deceased, we urge you to write her story. You’ll need to go with memories as well as research about what she did. It was be an interesting challenge but we think it will be rewarding. If the person you write about is deceased, then some of the items stated below will need to be modified. We trust you to do a great job.

Rosie the Riveter, memoir storiesWhy this contest this year? This is the 70th anniversary of the Rosie the Riveter poster. Many have said, and we agree, that World War II was won because so many women picked up where the men left off. Not only did women become riveters, but they also became welders, mechanics, drivers, pilots and more. Women became secretaries — positions previously held primarily by men. Those that poured into Washington, DC became known as Government Girls. Many women volunteered with the Red Cross and the USO to help. Some women took over what had been husband-wife companies, leading them through the war years on their own. And still other women kept the family farm going.

You name it, women did it. We’d like you to find a Rosie, a woman who worked or volunteered during World War II and tell her story. Interview her about her experiences and get a few specific memories.

This contest offers you the opportunity to turn your writing skills to saving the memories of another person. If you don’t know someone in your family or close circle, then you can go to the library or the local historical society and get some help finding a Rosie.

Be sure to:
- Describe the woman — perhaps she has a photo from the war years as well as her physical description now.
- Include details on the when and where. During which years did she work? Where did she work? What specifically was her job?
- Then try to find out her emotions about the work. What did it mean to her to have a job during the war?
- You may want to record what she says, or at least take good notes. This will give you some dialogue to include in your contest entry. Try to let her comments help you capture the essence of the woman’s experiences.
- And don’t forget about the five senses. These might be used in many ways — if she had a factory job, she might be able to describe the sights, sounds, and smells. And/or you might include the sensory details relevant to the time of your interview.

Let’s all resolve to capture the stories of this wonderful and amazing generation of women before it is too late. We will publish as many of these stories as we can. In addition, I know that family members will value and appreciate that you have helped to document the story.

LENGTH: Approximately 2000 words. If you feel you need more, please send us an email to discuss.

DEADLINE: Please send us your vignettes by December 31, 2012.

EMAIL YOUR ENTRY TO: matilda (at) womensmemoirs (dot) com

SUBJECT LINE: Be sure to put ROSIE THE RIVETER STORY CONTEST in the subject line so that it doesn’t get lost in my email system.

PS We modified this contest to include telling the stories of mothers or relatives who worked (or volunteered) during World War II because one of our readers said that she didn’t think there were any Rosie’s still alive in her community. Those who are deceased can still be honored by telling their stories.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Claire Holcomb-Drapkin July 15, 2012 at

I think your idea of a memoir of woman who served in WW II is FANTASTIC.

My aunt lied about her age to get into nurse corps and served in Europe throughout the war.

So I will delight in writing about her.

As a woman who was married to a severely disabled Vietnam vet and one who, as social worker, has worked with military members from many ‘wars.’

In the future, perhaps other wars/conflicts could form the focus of a contest.

Meanwhile, You’ll be getting one from me in December.

Matilda Butler July 15, 2012 at

Hi Claire:

Thanks for your comment. I can already tell that you’ll have a great story to share about your aunt.


Becky Povich July 20, 2012 at

Hi Kendra & Matilda! I’m very excited about this contest as well. For many years now, the veterans of WWII have been especially honored as: The Greatest Generation. I wholeheartedly agree with that, but usually when one hears that term, it refers to men. I’ll be submitting a story about my mother. Thank you for thinking of this! Had you planned on publishing an anthology? I think it would sell really well.

Claire Holcomb-Drapkin August 30, 2012 at

Becky Povich’s idea of an anthology is clever.
Becky is commenting above.
I agree with her that it would probably sell well. The persons still alive from WW II are rapidly declining, but I’ve found among my age group (whose parents were in WW II) an increasing interest in that time and regret over many questions we did not ask.
claire Holcomb-Drapkin

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