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Tadpole Press 100-Word Writing Contest

April 2024 Winners

This was the 8th time we've hosted this contest, and we continue to be impressed with the caliber and high-quality craftmanship we receive. Writers from 59 different countries submitted a total of 1,525 entries in this round.

Our special guest judge was Finn O’Sullivan, an award-winning indie pop-folk artist who graduated with a singer-songwriter major from the University of Colorado Denver in May 2024. Finn writes about the universal themes of love and loss with both humor and compassion and brought a whole new depth to our theme of creativity.

This was also the first contest where we welcomed Mari Mendoza, Micki Findlay, and Grace Slobodzian as judges. After an extremely close selection process, we are delighted to share the following winners with you:​

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First Place: $2,000 USD goes to Melanie Mulrooney from Canada.

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Last night I dreamt we were houseflies. 

 

We frolicked above overripe bananas, sensilla lured by rotting sweetness. The delicate twitch of your proboscis left me enthralled—waiting, wanting.

 

You shimmied backwards, vertical. Black bands along your thorax thrummed in time with translucent yellow wings. I hovered, transfixed by your dance.

 

Bathed in pheromones, we buzzed near ceiling beams, wings trilling our love-song. Your compound eyes bored into mine.

 

I accepted your gift into my ovipositor, and you were gone; leaving me alone, as always. 

 

Our offspring all resembled you—perfect, miniature replicas.

 

Maybe tonight we’ll be lobsters, and you’ll stay.

 

Second Place: $450 writing coaching package goes to Margaret Anderson from Canada.

Found among Flowers

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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.

Somehow,

flowers —

 

four hundred thousand species of them.

Only that

 

and  perhaps

fifty billion birds.

 

and  maybe

three trillion trees.

 

and,  for sure,

two hundred billion trillion stars.

 

Picture being

an act of meaning —

 

so wild,

a blossom’s joy.

Third Place: $250 developmental or diversity editing package goes to Carla Lottering from South Africa.

To make good art, I was told to shed my skin. To burn it down to ash and smear it across my heart, and to let the hurt, hunger, and despair of the world seep into my veins so I can write, or paint, or simply just feel more than I could before.

 

I perfumed my hair with grace, ran oils of naivety and hope down my spine, and rubbed love into my chest before I took my place on the pyre. To my surprise, my skin glistened in the firelight, and it whispered, “No, darling. Only burn your fear.”

Congratulations, Melanie, Margaret, and Carla! And congratulations to everyone who dared to dream and created a little bit of inspiration in this world. You matter. Your dreams matter. Keep writing.​

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.

Please keep in touch and sign up for our email list to to receive details about the current contest, writing tips, and inspiration.