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Past-Year Memoir Contest — 2022

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Specifically, we want you to tell us a true story from your life in 2021…in 21 words or fewer.

We want a personal story from your life, which can be hilarious, heartbreaking, puzzling, uplifting, or just plain strange. Look for something intriguing, perhaps something with emotional or intellectual resonance. It’s fine if you want to include current events from the year, as long as it’s mostly about you, or how you feel about it.

Whoever writes the memoir that most captivates us will win a free Gotham class of their own choosing.

As inspiration, here are some of our best entries from when we last ran this contest, looking back at 2017, only allowing 17 words or fewer:

We stood in the yard smoking cigars while fireworks laced with Tio’s ashes burst over the neighborhood.
    — Amelia Rodriguez, Hamilton, NJ
Guys in the meeting curse, then turn to me and apologize. I’m a flower, not a colleague.
    — Suzanne Mattaboni, Northampton, PA
As the floodwaters rose, I hotfooted it to the supermarket for emergency wine. It was closed. Disaster!
    — Nicola Moses, Limavady, United Kingdom
The contest is currently closed.

The Details: 

  • Entries must be submitted online by 11:59 pm Eastern Time, Tuesday, February 28, 2022.
  • Entry is free. Limit one entry per person.
  • Entry must consist of no more than 21 words. Longer entries will be disregarded. 
  • Entry must be original and unpublished.
  • Entries will be judged on originality, quality, spelling, and grammar.
  • Gotham will post the winning entry at
  • The winner will be notified by March 18, 2022.