Memoir Award Guidelines

Memoir Contest Judging is Underway

Kore Press’ 2017 judge is Cheryl Strayed, award-winning author of four books, including her memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. Last year’s Memoir Award winner was Ming Holden for Refuge, selected by Lidia Yuknavitch.

“Feminist writing shows us what for so long has been occluded in most literature: the full humanity of women.”

—New York Times Bestselling author Cheryl Strayed to judge Kore Press’ Second Annual Memoir Award contest

The winner will receive a prize of $1000 and publication by Kore Press for a full-length memoir, or memoir-in-essays. Submission process includes a $27.50 reading and processing fee. Contest  is now closed for judging; as of 2/28/2018 the judging process is still underway and final results will be announced within the next two weeks.

This competition is an annual award from Kore Press and will be open each year to a woman writer writing in English. Relatives and recent students (who have studied with the judge for one semester or more within the year) of the judge are not eligible.

Comment box should include:

  • Daytime and evening telephone numbers
  • Where you heard about the contest

Manuscripts must be:

  • Submitted as an RTF,  Word DOC or PDF.
  • Anonymous (do not include your name anywhere on the manuscript). Do not include cover letter.
  • A minimum of 80 pages and a maximum of 400 pages.
  • Original memoir or memoir-in-essays written by applicant (translations are not eligible)
  • Unpublished at the time of submission (if the memoir is accepted elsewhere during our deliberation process, please notify us immediately)
  • Acknowledgments unnecessary.


All entrants will be notified of results via email. For more information email or call 520-327-2127.

Ethics Statement

We endorse and agree to comply with the following statement released by the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses:

CLMP’s community of independent literary publishers believes that ethical contests serve our shared goal: to connect writers and readers by publishing exceptional writing. We believe that intent to act ethically, clarity of guidelines, and transparency of process form the foundation of an ethical contest. To that end, we agree to:

1) conduct our contests as ethically as possible and to address any unethical behavior on the part of our readers, judges, or editors;

2) provide clear and specific contest guidelines — defining conflict of interest for all parties involved; and

3) make the mechanics of our selection process available to the public.

This Code recognizes that different contest models produce different results, but that each model can be run ethically. We have adopted this Code to reinforce our integrity and dedication as a publishing community and to ensure that our contests contribute to a vibrant literary heritage.


The Process

Manuscripts are judged blindly. Any contest reader who recognizes a work shall recuse herself from reviewing that submission and forward it to another reader. Batches of manuscripts are delivered to 4-6 preliminary readers of diverse backgrounds and literary perspectives, all of whom are paid for their work. Mss selected by these preliminary readers are ranked and then reviewed (and then ranked again) by a second reader. The 10-20 highest ranking semifinalists are then forwarded to the judge, who chooses 2-3 finalists and a winner.