Past-Year Memoir Contest—2018

Past-Year Memoir Contest—2018

We invite you to look back at 2017 and write about it.

Specifically, we want you to tell us a true story from your life in 2017…in only 17 words.

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 17-word memoir that most captivates us will win a free Gotham class of his or her choosing.

As inspiration, here are some of our best entries from last year’s version, which only allowed 16 words:

I saved the best afternoons to walk up Clove Road to chalk haiku on the guardrails.

Will Nixon
Kingston, New York

A bell tolled as the ghostly monk materialized from the island mists. My poem became reality.

Fred McIlmoyle
Bangor, United Kingdom

The heat was contemptuous, society sober, but the cowboys courtly. And so in Texas I stayed.

Danielle Chauncey
Bryan, Texas

Deadline: Monday February 19, 2018, 11:59 pm Eastern Time.

The Details:

  • Submit a 17-word memoir (true story) that reflects on 2017.
  • Entry must consist of no more than 17 words. Longer entries will be disregarded.
  • Entries must be submitted online by 11:59 Eastern Time, Monday February 19, 2018.
  • Only online entries will be accepted.
  • Entry is free. Limit one entry per person.
  • Entry must be original and unpublished.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 7, 2018.