NOTES & WORDS: essay contest in search of the next great memoirist

For the third year now, the Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland is putting together a benefit called Notes & Words, an event that combines writers and musicians on stage together at The Fox Theater in Oakland to benefit the hospital.

Leading up to the events, Notes & Words is sponsoring an essay contest. They’re looking for short stories about the challenges of caring for a child (18 or younger), including medical issues (an accident, illness, or diagnosis) or emotional crises (death, divorce, breakdown), or any one of the more common parenting dramas (academic, social, athletic, epicurean). They are accepting both humorous and serious essays of up to 800 words.

The prizes:

The first prize winner will have one-on-one phone consultations with:

and introductions to:

Finalists will receive two tickets to the Notes & Words performance and after-party on April 28, 2012 at The Fox Theater in Oakland. The winner of the contest will be announced at the event.

Check out this video to get an idea:

You can also watch video highlights from the first two years—with performances by the likes of Michael Lewis, Beth Lisick, Ayelet Waldman, and Meklit Haderohere.

All details and official rules can be found here, but know the deadline is March 21, and the event will take place on April 28, 2012.