Flash Fiction Contest: “There’s a photo on my wall of a woman I’ve never met.”

While taking a community college biology course at the age of 16, author Rebecca Skloot learned about Henrietta Lacks and her immortal cells, cultured by scientists and used in research around the world. Skloot was so haunted by Henrietta – a young black woman who died at 31 but was otherwise a mystery – that years later she was driven to tell her story.

Skloot begins that story with the words, “There’s a photo on my wall of a woman I’ve never met.” Imagine your own mystery photo of an unknown woman (or maybe you already have one!) and, in 250 words or less, reveal her identity. Will you tell a tale of family lost and found or spin a yarn of celebrity infatuation? Take us wherever your imagination leads. Enter by September 21.

Entries may be submitted online or at any library or bookmobile. Participants must be age 16 or older and residents of Boone or Callaway Counties. Winning entries and honorable mentions will be published on the One Read website and winners will get a $20 book store gift card.


Contest Rules


  • The contest is open to those 16 years of age and older.
  • Participants must reside within the DBRL service area (Boone or Callaway County).

Contest Deadline

  • Entries will be accepted through Monday, September 21, 2011. (Mailed entries must be postmarked by that date.)

Submission Requirements and Guidelines

  • One entry per individual.
  • Submissions must be 250 words or less in length.
  • Submissions must be in English.
  • Submissions must include writer’s name, age, address, and email address or phone number for eligibility verification and contact purposes.
  • Entries must be in text format and typed.
  • Entries may be submitted through the One Read website (oneread.dbrl.org), by email, by mail (DBRL, ATTN: One Read Writing Contest, PO Box 1267, Columbia, MO 65205), or dropped off at a DBRL location.
  • Submissions must be original, unpublished works.
  • Each participant must be the sole author and exclusive owner of all right, title and interest in and to his or her submission.
  • DBRL’s publication and use of the submission in accordance with the terms set out herein will not infringe or violate the rights of any third party (including copyright), or require any payment to or consent/permission from any third party.

Content Restrictions

  • The submission must not contain any material that is inappropriate, indecent, profane, obscene, hateful, tortious, defamatory, slanderous or libelous.
  • The submission must not contain any material that promotes bigotry, racism, hatred or harm against any group or individual or promotes discrimination based on race, gender, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age.
  • The submission must not contain any material that is unlawful, in violation of or contrary to the laws or regulations in any jurisdiction where the submission is created.
  • The submission must not contain any commercial content that promotes any product or service of the sponsor or any third party.


  • Entries will be evaluated and the winners chosen based on creativity, grammar and emotion evoked by the writing.
  • Two winners – one from Boone County and one from Callaway County – will be announced by October 3.
  • Winning entries and those receiving honorable mentions will appear on the One Read website.
  • Winners will be notified by phone or email and will each receive a $20 bookstore gift certificate.

1 thought on “Flash Fiction Contest: “There’s a photo on my wall of a woman I’ve never met.””

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.