Past-Year Memoir Contest—2019

Past-Year Memoir Contest—2019

We invite you to look back at 2018 and write about it.

Specifically, we want you to tell us a true story from your life in 2018…in only 18 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 18-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 17 words:

Unemployment, day forty: I’m savoring blueberry pancakes and cinnamon coffee while watching Comey testify. He’s unemployed, too.

Alison Prelusky
Lindenhurst, NY
We stood in the yard smoking cigars while fireworks laced with Tio's ashes burst over the neighborhood.

Amelia Rodriguez
Hamilton, NJ
As the floodwaters rose, I hotfooted it to the supermarket for emergency wine. It was closed. Disaster!

Nicola Moses
Limavady, United Kingdom

Deadline: Monday February 18, 2019, 11:59 pm Eastern Time

The Details:

  • Submit an 18-word memoir (true story) that reflects on 2018.
  • Entry must consist of no more than 18 words. Longer entries will be disregarded.
  • Entries must be submitted online by 11:59 Eastern Time, Monday February 18, 2019.
  • 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  • Entry must be original and unpublished.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, 2019.