The Birren Center is at it again! Third anthology open for submissions

Back in November, I announced the publication of the second anthology from the Birren Center for Guided Autobiography.

As of May first, the third anthology is open for submission. Note, to submit you must have taken a Guided Autobiography class, but the good news is there’s time to do that before the submission deadline of August 31. See my “Upcoming Workshops” on my website to find in-person and online options for taking Guided Autobiography this spring/summer.

The theme for Book 3 is “inspirational essays on the aging experience.”


1. Must be your original work on the theme of “the Aging Experience” 
2. Must be written in English
3. Length: 800-1,000 words
4. One submission per person
5. Must be received by August 31, BUT be aware that submissions may close early due to maximum capacity, so try to get it in early!
6. Include a 50 word bio
7. Must be not previously published or accepted for publication elsewhere. If your essay has been previously published, you must own the rights to it. It is your responsibility to make sure that you still own the rights to your work.

Submissions will be selected on the following criteria:

  • How well the work reflects the theme
    • The essay’s intent and ability to edify and entertain the reader
      • No excess profanity, graphic sexual content, or disrespect toward any category of persons

Here is the link to submit your essay:

There is a $3 submission fee to offset the cost of our subscription to Submittable.

To view a recording of a brief Q&A session about successful submissions to the Anthology, choose one of these options.

Video Audio only

(This Q&A was for Guided Autobiography instructors, but you’re welcome to view it.)

What’s all this about Guided Autobiography?

“The purpose of GAB is to help people see that memoir writing isn’t reserved for the rich and the famous,” said Cheryl Svensson, director of the Birren Center. “It isn’t just for people who are good writers. The act of writing down the story of your life belongs to every person, because every person has a story and every story counts.”

What Is Guided Autobiography? I’ve articulated it previously on this blog; see my post “Guided Autobiography: The Magic of Small-Group Reminiscence Writing.” This unique writing methodology, which takes place in small instructor-led groups that combine writing on prompts, reading, and exchanging feedback, unlocks insights that help us better understand our past experiences and make wiser decisions for the future. I know of nothing more useful than a compass when one is headed into the unknown. Your writing in a GAB workshop becomes that compass.

Writing produced from Guided Autobiography prompts bring together universal themes with the writer’s unique life experiences. The results can be very good reading, indeed. I hope you’ll consider pursuing Guided Autobiography and submitting your story to this Anthology or a future one. And I hope you’ll consider purchasing one of the published anthologies, to support the Birren Center and your own writing inspiration!

  • Sarah White

About first person productions

My blog "True Stories Well Told" is a place for people who read and write about real life. I’ve been leading life writing groups since 2004. I teach, coach memoir writers 1:1, and help people publish and share their life stories.
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