Memoir Contest 2015

Do you have a story that needs to be told?
You are invited to enter your memoir or personal essay to the
2015 Memoir Contest hosted by the Redwood Writers.



First prize: $100

The winning piece will be read by April Eberhardt and
considered for representation by April Eberhardt Agency.


April Eberhardt

April Eberhardt

After 25 years as a corporate strategist and consultant, April Eberhardt joined the literary world where she saw strategic opportunity to play a role in the changing world of publishing. As a “literary change agent,” April advises and assists authors as they choose the best pathway to publication, be it indie or traditional, digital or print. She serves as an industry advocate for establishing quality standards for non-traditionally published work to raise the bar for independent publishing.

More Awards:

Second prize: $50

Third prize: $25

Winners announced:

Sunday, October 11, 2015,
at the Redwood Writers general membership meeting
2:30-5 p.m.
Flamingo Hotel, Santa Rosa


In addition to all Redwood Writers members, the contest is open to residents of Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino, Marin, Lake, Humboldt and Solano counties.


Submission dates:

Open: Sunday, May 17
Close: August 1, 2015, at 9 p.m.


California Writers Club




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


Fran Claggett

Fran Claggett lives in Sebastopol with her saluki and whippet. She loves both teaching and taking courses at SSU OLLI, a natural fit after years of teaching, consulting, publishing, and writing. Fran is chair of the Curriculum Committee at OLLI, where she also teaches memoir writing and poetry. As memory is often the source of her inspiration for poems, she moves easily between the genres of memoir and poetry.


Diane Lefer

Diane Lefer co-authored (with Hector Aristizábal) The Blessing Next to the Wound, a memoir. The Believer, Connotation Press, New Madrid, Numéro Cinq, The Sun, and others have published her essays and interviews. Recent fiction includes the novel, Confessions of a Carnivore, and the short story collection, California Transit, awarded the Mary McCarthy Prize. She has taught writing for decades with groups as varied as MFA students, prisoners, foster-care youth, and refugees.


Linda Joy Myers

Linda Joy Myers is president of the National Association of Memoir Writers, and a therapist for 35 years. She’s the award winning author of four memoirs. Don’t Call Me Mother and Becoming Whole were finalists in the ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year Award. Linda co-teaches the program “Write Your Memoir in Six Months,” and offers editing and coaching for writers.


Sue William Silverman

Sue William Silverman is the author of The Pat Boone Fan Club: My Life as a White Anglo-Saxon Jew; Love Sick: One Woman’s Journey through Sexual Addiction (also a Lifetime TV movie); Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You (an AWP award winner); and Fearless Confessions: A Writer’s Guide to Memoir.  She teaches in the MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Visit her website at

Contest Chairperson: SUSAN GUNTER

Susan Gunter, Ph.D.

Susan Gunter, Ph.D., has published three books on the James family and a memoir on her transformation from college professor to full time nanny for her granddaughter, My Vacation at the Beach. Her poems have appeared in small journals around the country. She held the William Dean Howells Fellowship in American literature at Harvard’s Houghton Library in 2005. She is finishing a suspense novel about two women college professors, The Juke Joint.


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

  • DO NOT place your name or contact information anywhere on your story submission. This is a blind judging.
  • Format: Manuscripts must be double-spaced and use 12-point, Times New Roman font in a Word document. First Page: center your title half way down, then begin piece. Please number your pages.
  • Only ONE submission per entrant.
  • Please use the online form (going live on May 17) to submit your entry. Only submissions uploaded via the online form will be accepted for judging.
  • Only previously unpublished work will be considered. No online or self-published work is acceptable. Submissions must be complete stories.
  • Word count: Submissions must be 1,500 to 2,000 words. If excerpted from a larger work, the piece must stand alone.
  • Upon submission, if you choose to pay with a check, please 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].

Motivating-Memoirs-Pinterest-pageMotivating Memoirs

Need a little extra motivation? Check out the Redwood Writers Pinterest pages, including the newest page, “Motivating Memoirs” page. Follow any or all of the pages for updates.

 Submissions will be open starting May 17