More than two years ago, Simon & Schuster, AARP and The Huffington Post announced a Memoir Contest designed to discover and select the best unpublished memoir we could find -- and then publish it. The aim was to uncover the hidden writing talent among those 50 and older -- as well as some amazing life stories. In total, we received more than 2,500 entries, many of them quite compelling.
Finally we can announce the winner: William Bonham, now 66, who rose to the top with his tale of personal transformation. Here is just a little taste of his story:
The year is 1973, and 24-year-old William Bonham desperately needs work. Hoping to take advantage of his background in restaurants, he applies for a job as a cook at Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge and gets the offer. Out of cash and options, he takes it, much to his wife's concern. Over the course of a year, he comes to care for the prisoners, although he knows these men have committed unforgivable crimes. And on one terrible day, he is taught a surprising lesson about love and loss.
Thanks again everyone and huge congratulations to William Bonham!