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Notes & Words announces hospital benefit lineup, essay contest

on March 9, 2012

It’s almost springtime in Oakland, and that means Notes & Words is back. The annual event brings authors and musicians together on stage at The Fox Theater to benefit Children’s Hospital Oakland Research.

2012 features an all-star lineup of Bay Area authors and musicians. Celebrated author Michael Chabon will be headlining the evening to read from some of his recent works. He has written the Yiddish Policeman’s Union, Wonder Boys, and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, which won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2001. Bestselling author Anne Lamott and John Hodgman of The Daily Show with John Stewart and HBO’s Bored to Death will also read from their written works. Musical guest CAKE will perform throughout the evening, banging out tunes that are both witty and gritty.

Notes & Words organizer Kelly Corrigan, who is herself a best-selling author and will also perform at the event, started the event three years ago after her daughter was brought into Children’s Hospital Oakland, quickly diagnosed and successfully treated for meningitis. This condition, which is an inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord, is potentially life threatening if not identified and treated quickly. Corrigan was so grateful for the work of the doctors that she set about organizing a benefit.

Last year Notes & Words raised $500,000, which went to several key programs including the uncompensated care fund for patients. It also benefited Children’s Child Life Department, which runs the in-hospital school and a number of playrooms. This year’s organizers are hoping to raise $1 million.

This year, in addition to the on-stage event, Notes & Words is also sponsoring its first writing competition. The essay contest urges people to share personal essays about the challenges of caring for a child. According to Corrigan, the essay contest happened rather spontaneously. “The idea clicked for me because I talk to so many women who write and want to connect with my agent or my publisher. And I am happy to be the conduit,” she wrote an email to Oakland North. “I was very lucky to know someone who knew someone in publishing. Most people are stuck cold calling. That can be too discouraging. So this is a cool way to open up the lines for someone who is working hard writing and wants to go to the next level.”

The essay contest winner will have one-on-one phone consultations with a senior editor from Random House, a top literary agent at ICM, and the executive editor of O Magazine. In addition he or she will be personally introduced to the Notes & Words 2012 authors.

Entries will be accepted through March 21, 2012. Finalists will be notified after March 26, 2012. The winner will be announced at the Notes & Words event on April 28, 2012 at The Fox Theater.

For more information about submitting to the essay contest or for purchasing tickets to the event visit

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