Mini Memoir Writing Contest

UPDATE: This contest is now closed. Thank you to all who entered!

“On Betty’s Journey, I have learned something I had not known: I am very strong, strong enough to stay, strong enough to go when the time comes. I am staying not to cling on, but because sometime, at least once, everyone should see someone through. All the way home.” – George Hodgman, “Bettyville”

Great minds only need simple tools by Antti KyllonenIn this year’s One Read selection, George Hodgman tells the story of returning to Paris, Missouri after working for years in New York City and finding both his hometown and his mother in extreme decline. The book is full of stories from his childhood, woven among his present-day struggles and triumphs as his mother’s caregiver – memories, events and conversations that formed the man he now is.

Taking inspiration from “Bettyville,” we invite you to write a personal essay of 250 words or less – a mini memoir – that recalls a pivotal event or interaction that significantly shaped your personality, crystalized your worldview, or otherwise echoed through the years of your life. The memory you choose may be a monumental moment – like the birth of a child or loss of a loved one – or seemingly small, but it should be a moment that stands for something important and from which you learned something about yourself.

Starting September 1, entries may be submitted using this form, mailed or dropped off at any library or bookmobile. (See full rules below for details.) Winning entries and honorable mentions will be published on this site and in the Columbia Missourian (online and in print). Winners will receive a $25 book store gift card.

Entry Form

Entries are due by September 26. Participants must be age 16 or older and residents of Boone or Callaway Counties. Read on for complete contest rules.

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The View From Here: One Read Art Exhibit Call for Submissions

Thompson Research Center, Photo by Kyle SpradleyThe View From Here
A One Read Art Exhibit
Orr Street Studios (106 Orr Street, Columbia)

“The sky is our sea here, our object of contemplation in all its moods and shades. My father taught me to observe it…My father loved to watch, in autumn, the long scarves of lonely birds, flying, finally together, toward home.”
~ George Hodgman, “Bettyville”

 

“Missouri in the springtime is pretty hard to beat, little boy.”
~ Betty Hodgman

 

Inspired by this year’s One Read selection, we invite Mid-Missouri artists to contribute works that explore the Midwestern landscape, rural communities, family houses or other scenes from this place we call home.

Cash prizes will be awarded for three winners, courtesy of Columbia’s Office of Cultural Affairs. The third place winner will receive $50, the second place winner $75 and the first place winner $125. The first place winner will also receive a $100 voucher towards a class at the Columbia Art League. Art will be displayed August 28 through September 24 at Orr Street Studios with a reception, awards and program on Tuesday, September 13 at 6:30 p.m.

Submission Details Read More

Flash Fiction Contest: After the End

UPDATE: This contest is now closed. Winners will be announced by October 12. Thanks to all who entered!

“Everything ends. I am not afraid.” – Emily St. John Mandel, “Station Eleven”

Great minds only need simple tools by Antti KyllonenIn this year’s One READ selection, a famous actor dies of a heart attack on stage during a production of King Lear, and hours later, life as we know it begins to unwind. A flu pandemic eliminates 95% of the population and the survivors, 20 years later, navigate a world without electricity, transportation or medicine.

Taking inspiration from “Station Eleven,” we invite you to tell a story about a world’s end in 250 words or less. This world can be small and personal, like one’s family or home, or more literal, like a country or planet. Give us an ending — and what comes after.

Starting September 1, entries may be submitted using this form, mailed or dropped off at any library or bookmobile. (See full rules below for details.) Winning entries and honorable mentions will be published on this site and winners will receive a $20 book store gift card.

Entry Form

Entries are due by September 23. Participants must be age 16 or older and residents of Boone or Callaway Counties. Read on for complete contest rules.

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Flash Fiction Contest Winners: Underdog

As part of this year’s One Read program and inspired by the grit, perseverance and the way those “Boys in the Boat” overcame the odds, we challenged writers to craft tales containing an element of the underdog for this year’s flash fiction contest.

We received plenty of stories about unexpected triumph on the playing field, but we also read tales of cheating death, of immigration and unlikely survival – all told in no more than 250 words. Thank you to everyone who entered and shared the worlds of your imagination with us. Our two winners are Carl Kremer and Von Pittman.

We are pleased to share with you the winning stories. Read More

On the Water: Art Exhibit Winners

For this year’s One Read art exhibit, we asked area artists to contribute works that explore a range of experiences and views of water, whether from shore or flying across the water itself, “in a poem of motion, a symphony of swinging blades.” We were absolutely thrilled by the response and the range of artworks submitted.

At the exhibit’s opening reception on September 9, the following winners and honorable mentions were announced.

First place: “Row, Row, Row,”  fiber art, paint and paper, by Leandra Spangler

Photoe of artist Leandra Spangler

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