Tessa Nicholson is the winner of this year’s Creative Writing Competition for the 18+ poetry category with her poem ‘Tadpole’

Tessa Nicholson is an actor/writer. After reading English at Cambridge, she trained at the Lecoq school in London (LISPA). Acting credits include GARROW’S LAW (BBC), BEST (BBC), and Sarah Kanes’s 4.48 PSYCHOSIS (Arcola). She was a reader for Radio 4’s Poetry Please and, through the Norman Beaton Fellowship, became a member of the Radio Drama Company. She has an MA in Screenwriting from London Film School – her short film ‘Osmonde’ (d. Elsa Bauvard) was selected by the Austin Film Festival, and ‘Smithy’ won a Watersprite Film Festival Script Award.  Her short film ‘The Mermaid’s Tale’ (d. Aidan McArdle) stars Rupert Graves and is now in post-production. Tessa is currently writing a children’s theatre show about an unplucky puffin called Percy. She lives in Penzance with her husband and two (woodlice obsessed) sons.


Here is her winning poem, Tadpole:


You held our attention like a press briefing. Many times, you played dead

Only to kick into life when we were least expecting.

When legs jumped out, we had to feed you

Meat – liver, bacon, the odd fishfinger – to stop you from eating each other;

A feverish fact for two small boys already prone to woodlice torture.

Named, argued over, prodded and spat on (once), brutally ignored,

You knew nothing of the toddler’s anxiety about the moon falling out of the sky

Or the daily death toll;

You were locked down in frog-eat-frog survival

And for that, I salute you.