2018 Memoir Contest



The memoir genre focuses on a special moment in time that may be a life-altering experience.

In this contest, we are looking for stories that shape a person’s life. Stories about moments or events, both public or private, that shaped a person’s life. The work is understood to be factual. The story can be about touchstone events and/or turning points in a life.

For the contest, we encourage the works written as creative nonfiction. A literary style of memoir that uses fiction techniques (plot, character, dialogue) to create an entertaining yet factually accurate narrative. A creative memoir is a tale taken from life—that is, from actual, not imagined, occurrences—related by a first-person narrator who is undeniably the writer. Beyond these bare requirements it has the same responsibility as the short story: to shape a piece of experience so that it moves from a tale of private interest to one with meaning for any reader.

You as the author will express your feelings and actions through the dialogue of the characters. It could be a significant event, such as a birth or death, or possibly a single event such as a deaf child hearing sounds for the first time. We at Redwood Writers look forward to reading your wonderful stories.


First prize: $100

Second prize: $50

Third prize: $25

*In addition to the cash awards, every winner receives a certificate.

Winning stories will be published online.
The first-place story is published in winners' flier.

Winners announced:

Sunday, August 12, 2018

at the Redwood Writers
general membership meeting
2-4:30 p.m.
Flamingo Hotel
Santa Rosa



In addition to all Redwood Writers members, the contest is open to:
• All CWC members, regardless of residence.
• Non-member residents of Sonoma, Napa, Marin, Mendocino, Lake, Humboldt and Solano counties.


Submission dates:

Open: Sunday, May 20, 2018
Close: Sunday, June 24, 2018, at midnight



California Writers Club




(Not a member yet?
Click here to find out why you should join the Redwood Writers.)


Please observe the following contest rules; otherwise, your entry may be disqualified.

  • DO NOT place your name or contact information anywhere on your submission. This is a blind judging.
  • Submit as a docx.
  • Wordcount: No more than 2,500 words.
  • Work must be previously unpublished by a traditional publisher.
  • Format: Manuscripts must be double-spaced and use 12-pointTimes New Roman font.
  • Number the pages, bottom right.
  • Only ONE submission per entrant.
  • Please use the online form to submit your entry and payment. Only submissions uploaded via the online form will be accepted for judging.
  • Immediate family members of judges and chairs of this contest are not eligible to submit.
  • Upon submission, if you choose to pay with a check, please make check out to "CWC Redwood," and write "Memoir Contest" on the memo line.
    Please mail check to:
    Redwood Writers
    P.O. Box 4687
    Santa Rosa, CA 95402

Questions should be addressed to:
[email protected]
or use the form, below.



Skye Blaine

Skye Blaine writes memoir, fiction, poetry, and blogs, developing themes of aging, coming of age, disability, and awakening. She received an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University in 2003. Her novel, Unleashed, was just released.

Bound to Love: a memoir of grit and gratitude, published in 2015, has won three prizes. She is included in seven anthologies, and in national magazines: “Yes” and “Catalyst.” Her debut novel, Unleashed, was released in November 2017. She teaches creative writing to older adults as Santa Rosa Junior College Adjunct Faculty.



Andrea Granahan has been an award-winning journalist, publisher, and travel writer for more than 30 years. She has published two memoir books: It's Greek to Me and Backstories from the West Edge. She has also published a volume of poetry called The Man with the Portable Love Room and Other Stray Thoughts. She makes her home in a redwood forest near the town of Bodega in Northern California. For some years, she published the Bodega Bay Navigator, a weekly newspaper on the California coast.


Jean Wong

Jean Wong is author of Sleeping with the Gods, and Hurtling Jade and Other Tales of Personal Folly. She is an award-winning poet, fiction, and memoir writer. Her work has been produced by the Petaluma Reader’s Theater, Sixth Street Playhouse, Off The Page Theater Group, and Lucky Penny Productions.

Jean writes from the bottom of a well, always amazed to look up and see the sky.



Adele Layton

Adele Layton worked for many years as a verbatim court reporter, with offices in San Francisco and Oakland and has been on assignment with federal and state courts and large law firms across the United States. She has traveled extensively in the U.S. and Europe, providing litigation testimony for cases impacting big business and government. She is currently working on film scripts based upon her experiences, ranging from medical stories to international food competitions. She has been published in Sonoma: Stories of a Region and Its People and has just completed a new screenplay.

Email questions and comments to [email protected]




Complete the contest registration form, and upload your story.

Questions? Comments?

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