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Tadpole Press 100-Word Writing Contest

April 2023 Winners

The theme for this contest was using humor and lightness as healing. And for the first time ever, we had a special guest judge join Amber Byers and Laurel Twitchell.

Crystal Shelley is the owner of Rabbit with a Red Pen, where she provides editing and authenticity reading services to fiction authors. Drawing on her background as a social worker, she unites her love of language and her passion for social justice by pushing for writing and representation that is more dignified, intentional, and just.

After carefully considering 879 entries from 50 different countries, we are pleased to announce the following winners:

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First Place: $1,000 USD goes to Sienna Morris from the United States.


Mama would make tea.


Two parts laughter. One part stars.


“My flower, lift your chin. Those eyes belong towards the galaxies. You have dreams to beautify, oceans to lighten, so whenever the clouds collect, make my tea, and smile.”


Now Mama rests in the sea anemones and moon-roses, and the butterflies drift to the beat of her song.


I make the tea in the breezes of our memories. She laughs two crescents ago: “Maia, you’ve got the mint stuck to your fingers. It was mint to be.”


I kiss the green fragments goodbye and grin.


Second Place: $450 writing coaching package goes to Brandon Greene from the United States.


Within these veils of ebony hue,

A heart, a laugh, a dance or two,

A twist of truth and satire's kiss,

To heal the hurt of life's abyss.


Oh, the world may judge with a knowing leer,

But to laugh and love, I'll persevere,

Bound by chains of color and queer,

Yet I rise, in humor, I find my cheer.


In a world that wishes me to be small,

I'll sway, I'll sing, break down the wall,

With mirth, I rise, and still, I stand,

A Black Queer Man, bold and grand.


Third Place: $250 developmental or diversity editing package goes to Chandler Ahart from the United States.


The Botanist


They say that, when you’re struggling, you should buy a plant and name it after yourself. The idea is that nurturing the plant-version of yourself will motivate you to nurture your real self.

I bought a withering tomato plant, replaced the soil, and trimmed the dead limbs. I said, “Hello” to her everyday; calling her by name, my name, of course.


But within the first month, she shriveled and died. Dismayed, I sought professional help. I cried more than I spoke at the first session.


After listening so graciously, the woman replied, “Ma’am, I’m just a botanist.”

Congratulations, Sienna, Brandon, and Chandler! And congratulations to everyone who dared to dream and created a little bit of laughter or lightness in this world. You matter. Your dreams matter. Keep writing.

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Curious how you can create a winning entry? Request feedback on your entry and we'll tell you what we love about your piece as well as ways to make it even better.

You get tips right from the source custom-tailored to meet our judges' expectations, help you hone your craft, and create the kind of entry that's selected as a winner in the Tadpole Press 100-Word Writing Contest.

Thank You

Congratulations and thank you to everyone who has dared to dream and share your words, story, and heart with us. You matter. Your dreams matter. Keep writing.

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