Memoir Contest Winners

Memoir Writing Contest 2013


And the Winners Are…!


First Place: The Egg Slicer by Simona Carini  

Simona Carini pix



Simona Carini was born in Perugia, Italy. She is a graduate of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan, Italy, and of Mills College, Oakland, CA. She has been writing about food and life for six years. Her stories have been published by the North Coast Journal, Edible East Bay, NPR’s Kitchen Window, and Remedy Quarterly. Her blog is called briciole ( She lives in Northern California with her husband and two cats.   

 To read “The Egg Slicer” click here.



Second Place: Crimes of Passion by Jan Edwards

Jan Edwards pix



Jan Edwards lives on the Point Arena ridge with her husband Bill and dog Victor Hugo. A notable essayist on Corporate Personhood, The Commons, and Rights of Nature, she has also received awards for her short stories and recently for Young Adult fiction from Redwood Writers. Jan has one published novel (Anarchist Farm) and two new ones in the works. Crimes of Passion is her first attempt at memoir.

To read “Crimes of Passion” click here.




 Third Place: Gulf Stream by Elspeth Benton

Elspeth Benton pix-2


Elspeth Benton, author of the mystery Crucial Time,  has been associated with Early Childhood Education for more than thirty years. She has an MA in ECE, taught parenting classes through Pasadena City College, directed a co-op preschool, and two childcare centers in southern California. She has appeared in amateur musicals, lived in France, and edits/proofreads books. She lives with her cat Pip in Santa Rosa, near her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

 To read “Gulf Stream” click here.



 Honorable Mention: Technicolor Uncle by Betsy Graziani Fasbinder 

 Betsy Fasbinder pix


Betsy Graziani Fasbinder has been a writer her whole life, but the title of “author” is a new one. Her debut novel, Fire & Water, was released by She Writes Press in March 2013. In both her works of memoir and fiction, Betsy explores the unending complications of people living, working, and loving one another. She strives to write stories that illuminate emotions to the page through the eyes of her characters, real and imagined. 


 Contest Chair



Malena Elijumaily has been a member of Redwood Writers since 2008. She is on the board of the Northern California chapter of Sisters in Crime and mostly reads and writes mysteries. Last year, she tried her hand at playwriting for the first time, and her drama, “Special Delivery,” won the Audience Favorite award at the Redwood Writers Second Annual 10 Minute Play Contest.


Contest Judges


 Laura-McHale-Holland-pix-150x150Laura McHale Holland penned the memoir Reversible Skirt, which won the Rockaway Press writing competition when it was in manuscript form and, after its publication, earned a silver medal in the Readers Favorite book awards. Laura’s work has ap- peared in such publications as Every Day Fiction ThreeWisdom Has a Voice, the Vintage Voices anthologies, North Bay biz magazine, the Noe Valley Voice and the original San Francisco Examiner.




 Frances Lefkowitz ( is the author of To Have Not, one of’s “Best Memoirs of 2010.” She publishes fiction and nonfiction inTin House, The Sun, Utne Reader, Glimmer Train, Whole Living, Health, and more, and has special mentions for the Pushcart Prize and Best American Essays. The book reviewer for Good Housekeeping, Frances teaches writing workshops and blogs about writing and publishing at





Ana, teaches memoir, personal essay, poetry and fiction writing through Napa Valley College and edits through JAM Manuscript Consulting. She’s active in Redwood Writers, Napa Valley Writers, and Sisters in Crime Normal. Watch for Ana’s thriller, The Hydra Corollary. Visit her blog, and follow her column in the Petaluma Post.