Stories That Need to Be Told: 

The Contest




There is only one category: the Story. There is truth in any story, and the reason you choose to tell a particular story may be the most important story of all. But, before we get too philosophical, here's the point: submissions should tell a story. It doesn't matter if you consider it fiction, nonfiction, or poetry—if it tells a story, it fits. 

Grand Prize: $1,000 and a 2-year ($100) gift certificate to Duotrope.
Five additional prizes of $200 will be given for stories that excel in the merits of Humor, Passion, Depth, and (any form of) Love. An additional $200 prize will be awarded in a wild card category, to be determined by the entries. We'll call this one the Bonus category. Additionally, winners and Honorable Mentions will be published in and receive a free copy of the annual Stories That Need to Be Told anthology.

Word Limit 
10,000 words

Entry Fee
$20 per entry. That includes $20 per poem (because every entry has the potential to win the same cash prizes). There is no limit on the number of times you may enter. If you withdraw your entry as noted below, the entry fee is nonrefundable.

August 15, 2019*  11:59 p.m. Pacific 


Submissions are accepted all year for the next deadline. Note, however, that all entries are read as a group after the deadline, so only submit early if you are okay with waiting until the deadline to hear back.

​*If you are mailing in your payment, your entry must still be received by the deadline above and your payment must be postmarked by August 15.

Announcing the Winners
The semifinalists will be posted on this page by October 1st. The winners and Honorable Mentions will be contacted and posted on this page by October 10th. All entrants will also receive an email notification when these have been posted.

The Anthology
The estimated release date of the Stories That Need to Be Told anthology is November 1st.

Reprints and Simultaneous Submissions
​​Entries for these contests should be previously unpublished material, including online, and you must own the copyright. Simultaneous submissions are okay, but if your work is accepted elsewhere it is up to you to notify us. In the event you withdraw your submission, the entry fee is nonrefundable. 

Friends, family, and past or current clients of TulipTree's founder are not eligible to enter TulipTree contests.

Legal Stuff
By entering the contest you are stating and agreeing that (1) the work is your own original work, (2) no one else owns the rights to publish said work, and (3) if you are one of the winners of a cash prize, you grant TulipTree Publishing, LLC (TulipTree) the right to publish said work, unless you withdraw your work prior to TulipTree's announcement of winners.  

TulipTree does not retain rights to your work after we publish it.

How to Format Your Entry

  • Entries should be in .doc or .docx format (Mac Pages is okay, too, and PDFs are acceptable for poetry only). The title of the document should be the title of your story.

  • Prose entries should be in standard industry format: 12 pt Times New Roman, double-spaced, 1-inch margins.

  • Poetry format should be 12 pt TNR, but line spacing and margins are open style.

  • Include your name, mailing address, email address, and title on the first pageof your story (no separate cover sheet needed).

How to Enter

  1. Purchase your entry fee via PayPal below or mail your payment (cash or money order only) to TulipTree Publishing, PO Box 723, Canon City, CO 81215. Please note in your submission email that you are paying by mail. Note that even if you mail in your payment, you should still email your submission. 

  2. Email your entry as an attachment to You will receive a confirmation email when your entry has been received and logged into our system.* 

 * Two things: (1) Note that these are entered by hand so if you don't get an email confirmation instantly, don't freak out—we're (probably) getting to it. (2) If it's been more than a day or two and you still haven't gotten a confirmation, maybe start freaking out because we either didn't get your entry, our emails are going to your spam folder, or our emails are blocked by your email provider. As we do our crucial communicating through email (i.e., letting you know if you won and confirming your work is still available), you'll want to make sure we're getting through.


GRAND PRIZE:  Just So, by Lish Troha

PASSION:  Pablo Neruda and the Caffeinated Madness of Love, by Chris Morgan
DEPTH:  Jimmy's Fish Market, by Pearly D. Keller
HUMOR:   Eunice Buys a Doll, by Jim Gish
LOVE:  A Good and Simple Meal, by M. B. McLatchey
BONUS:  A Thousand Kisses Deep, by Deborah L. Levine

A Vague Recollection, by Erica Stisser
​A Woman of a Certain Hue, by Shanteé Felix
At the Falling-Off Point, by Roxy Runyan
Bead by Bead, by EA Luetkemeyer
Chasing Dragons, by Lynette Benton
​Confrontation and Cojones, by Mario René  Padilla
Country Poor, by Katrina Hawley
​Coven, by Samantha Barron
Fetching the Payroll, by P. Jo Anne Burgh
Fruit Punch, by Jake Teeny
Get Off Track, by Timothy Scahill
Hello and Goodbye, by Robert Pope
Hope Walker, by Jamer
Interview with Kalief Browder, by Alex Greenberg
​Life on the Road without Any Brakes, by Don Carter
Nonspeaking, by Isabelle Jay
One-Eyed in Juarez, by Morgan Smith
Pre-Glow of the Neo-Apocalypse, by Genevra Levinson
Rubbing the Chips, by Pat Anthony
​Soviet Skatepark, by Jonan Pilet
Stretch Marks, by Simone Martel
Swim, by Eric Roe
The Things My Afro Knows, by AE Wynter
The Toll, by Simone Kern
Toes Touching Sand, by Courtney Lee Hall
Turn Right at the Tree House, by Avy Harris
Vignette between Now and Morning, by Kai Mawougbe
​Where to Be, by C. Witzling

GRAND PRIZE:  Mary's Story by Georgia Baddley

PASSION:  Le Château Possoniere by Mario René Padilla
DEPTH:  No Superhero by Lisa Poff
HUMOR:  Beats by Jon Shorr
LOVE:  Annotated Love Letter by Alexander Joseph
BONUS:  Run Amok by Laura Eddy

​A Bus Poem, Cameron Moore
A Monster’s Eulogy, Rekha Rangan
An Inconvenient Death, Gabriella Buckner
Daddy's Tears, Jacob Paul Patchen
Dangerous Fish Days, Robert Hambling Davis
Dear Demeter, Audrey Larkin
Disrupting History, Mariya Taher
Eight Steps Down, Steven Fromm
Freddy, Julie Dearborn
Getting Our Flickers, Nick Swartz
Heroes, Calvin Hennick
I Told You Not to Move, Allison Flom
Jay, Will Schick
Lovers Last Journey, Bob Blake
Naturally, Mika Hunter
Pobrecito, Nina Joy Silver
Strato-Christmas '66, Jimmy Searles
The Corner of My Heart, Victoria Sylvander 

GRAND PRIZE:  Mending by Enid Harlow

HUMOR:  Alumni by Michael Fischer
PASSION:  Mr. Thoughtful by Christopher Spencer
LOVE:  A Very Special Occasion by Ana Maria Owusu
DEPTH:  Ictal Life (A Song for Epilepsy) by Brandon Ellis

A Baseball Lesson, Mark J. Rogovin
A Beer in Bastille, Kenneth John Holt
A Place You Love, Lones Seiber
Alumni, Michael Fischer
An Adulterous Meeting, Jeremy King
Brave, Stephanie L. Harper
Bunny Swung the Axe at Charlie, Harry Beach
Chucky’s in Tucson, Brant Vickers
Closing the Door, Marianna Crane
Confession, Patricia Hawley
Dreams and Other Sleights of Hand, Michelle Perez
How to Live the Rest of Your Life in 100 Days, Elias Renaud
It Seems Like It Should, Kerime B. Toksu
Keeper of the Gate, Mario René Padilla
My Father Wants I Should Know, Jean Ende
Solitary Grace, Beka Tuitasi 
The Cure, Cynthia Walker
The Randall Knife, Morgan Smith
Ties That Bind, Michael Twist
Tumors Humors, Beverley Catlett
When I Find You Close, Amy S. Lerman

1st place: Africa Weeping by Jerry Eckert, posthumous
2nd place: Love Underground by Andrew Jack Foster 
3rd place: These Are the Things by Chris Connolly 


Labor Day, Darla Klein 
Meant to Be, Monica Vickers 
This Is for Keeps, Molly Steen 
So Many Rivers, Sandra McGarry 
Peas and Queues, Richard Key ​
My Dad, Sandy, and the Tri-Pacer, ​​William J. McIlwain 
​Kinky and Gruen, Diane Simkin 

You can find the 2015 stories in the Winter issue of TulipTree Review.

Enter to be a part of this year's anthology! The 2017 collection won a Colorado Independent Publishers Association Evvy Award. The 2016 anthology was also a finalist for a Colorado Book Award.

Select number of entries

Stories change us.

Scroll down to see all of our past winners.

This contest is sponsored by Duotrope.