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Announcing the Winners of the 2023 University of Iowa Flash Writing Contest

Thank you to the more than 200 UI alumni and friends from around the world who submitted short stories during January’s contest.

We asked participants to create a story of 1,000 words or less using one of two sets of prompts:

Genre Character Object
Prompt A Historical Fiction Dog Walker Paper Clip
Prompt B Romance Auto Mechanic Toaster

Our judges have worked diligently these past few weeks to read submissions that poured in from 25 states, Washington, D.C., and as far away as India.

Without further ado, here are the winning stories and a handful of honorable mentions. Winners in each of the grade categories will receive an Iowa-themed writing prize pack and a $25 gift card. The winner in each of the adult categories will receive an Iowa-themed writing prize pack, a $50 gift card, and a handcrafted wooden pen made from a tree that was located on the UI campus.

2023 Write Now Flash Writing Contest Winning Stories

Grades 3 & 4

Grades 5 & 6

  • Natalie M., Iowa, “Hostage” (Prompt A)

Grades 7 & 8

Grades 9—12


Thank you to all who participated—and be on the lookout for the next 48-Hour Flash Writing contest in January 2024. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy reading these winning tales—and some honorable mentions—from your fellow Hawkeyes as much as we did! You can also read stories from our past winners.

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