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Past-Forward Memoir Writers to present contest winners at live reading

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CHARLESTON — The Past-Forward Memoir Writers have announced the winners of their 2nd annual Memoir Writing contest.

Winning first place was Jo-Ann Blair Flood, Greenup for her piece "Mother Made Memories of Christmas Special." Flood was born in Cumberland county. She was raised on a 40-acre livestock farm and graduated from Cumberland High School. Her memoir began “I grew up in the 1950’s in a big old farmhouse with my six siblings. We had wood burning stoves, carried water from a well, and used an outhouse. But I have wonderful Christmas memories. My mother was the creator of most of them.”

As the First Runner up, and recognized as Honored Memoir Author, Clint Walker of Mattoon penned "Good-Bye Broadway Video," an homage to horror movies, the rapidly-vanishing world of VHS rentals, and his teenage years spent in pursuit of the videos to be found in the many, now closed, video stores of Mattoon. Walker also writes the weekly JG-TC column, “The Throwback Machine.”

The second runner up was Dawn Baker of Charleston, formerly of Oakland. Baker is the mother of three grown children and recently an empty-nester. Baker’s memoir is "Fourteen." In her memoir, Baker pondered “The good and the bad. Heaven and Hell.” At age 47, she plans to write of a journey, “The story of a fourteen year old girl who grew up to become a warrior.”

The public is invited to attend Past-Forward’s fall public reading “The Joy of Memoir” on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 10 at the Charleston Carnegie Public Library starting at 1:30 p.m.

During the program Blair will read her winning entry and Walker and Baker will receive awards. This free event is co-sponsored by the Coles County Arts Council and Eastern Illinois University Academy of Lifelong Learning.

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