Comps and calls for January 2016

Happy new year!

Here are January 2016’s writing competitions and calls for submission, all with free, electronic entry.

As usual I’m passing these on in good faith but mistakes may be made, so do check all the submission guidelines carefully. Any info in quotes comes from the website itself and any dates at the start are deadlines. Also, I don’t know the sources personally, so do check them out for yourselves.

There are three headings (click to jump straight to them):

If you aren’t a submitter (why not? Nothing to lose! Rejection is something we all share!) then the themes can make great writing prompts/exercises.

Although I mention only fiction or poetry, many publications accept non-fiction, art or other forms, so do check if interested. Good luck and do let me know of successes! The links are in the comments, and any dates at the start are deadlines. December is the best time by far to submit and enter. There are loads of opportunities, and many people are too busy to take advantage of them. Please try to find the time if you can!

Where possible, I have marked the relevant entries with ‘paying’, ‘contributor copy’ etc. However, you are best off checking the info for yourselves as I am not infallible and the info isn’t always available or clear. Please be aware that a contributor copy may be in print or digital format. Also, some publications offer several things, eg payment as well as a contributor copy. Where this is the case, I have assumed that payment is enough of an incentive, so I haven’t listed everything. It’s a rough guide and should be treated as such.


2nd Jan USA only: short fiction up to 8000 words. PAYING

4th Jan Over 25s in certain countries only: write a seven-page script of a short film suitable for Maggie Gyllenhaal to star in. NON-CASH PRIZE

6th Jan Spectator Competition No 2930: ‘You are invited to submit 16 lines of macaronic verse. Please email entries, whenever possible, to by midday on 6th January.’

15th Jan Award to fund creative nonfiction desert writing. PAYING

15th Jan Poems on the theme of Music, by writers living or attending school or college in the Wirral (Cathy’s note: the entry form gives details of how to enter via email). PAYING

15th Jan SF 500-1500 words. PAYING!the-roswell-award/cif2

15th Jan Speculative fiction up to 5000 words that envisions the future of Earth and humanity as impacted by climate change. PAYING

15th Jan Travel essay 1000-5000 words. PAYING

17th Jan (Cathy’s note: the children’s category of this comp is free, but the adult one requires a (small) purchase. I rarely recommend comps that charge, but I make an exception for this one because I know and love the publisher. The children’s comp is free anyway, so get your kids entering!) Poetry or prose on the theme of Love (in the context of family). PAYING

18th Jan Canada only: short stories or excerpts from a longer fiction piece. PAYING

25th Jan Adventure writing 1500-5000 words by writers aged 12-21. PAYING

25th Jan Published or unpublished adventure novels. SOME CATEGORIES PAID

25th Jan UK only: write a blog post about your pet (Cathy’s note: the entry requirements and procedure are a bit complicated, but the prize is excellent. The winner is selected at random, so you don’t have to worry too much about quality, so worth having a go if you have a blog). PAYING

31st Jan Extract of a WIP from a writer who hasn’t published a full-length book. PAYING

31st Jan US undergraduates only: ten poems. PAYING

31st Jan SF up to 3000 words on the theme of medicine, health and illness. PAYING

31st Jan USA and Columbia only: fiction up to 8000 words. PAYING

31st Jan Story set in Little Tokyo. PAYING

31st Jan ‘The judges seek well-written stories [2500-7000 words] with memorable characters that can creatively and reflectively capture the essence of how sin distorts work.’ PAYING

31st Jan Poems on a theme of Global Social Justice. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

1st Feb Story of exactly 1000 words by a student in grades 6-12 (Cathy’s note: I am too old to know how old that means, but it’s open anywhere in the world, so I hope that parents will be able to work it out). PAYING

1st Feb SF up to 8000 words showing manned space exploration in the near future. PAYING


Apply from 1st Jan: residency on Long Island, USA for writers and artists of various kinds (Cathy’s note: food and travel aren’t included, but it’s free to apply, so if you can get there and feed yourself, it’s a pretty good deal).–submitting.html

4th Jan ‘Many Americans would beg to differ, but America is not the world, and this Autumn (Fall, if you must) we are inviting submissions from poets and short fiction writers who have something to say on that theme. Americans are not excluded, but we don’t want to hear you argue against our theme. We aren’t inviting a debate for or against the States; we want to hear about your stomping grounds, your views.’ Poetry, flash and short fiction.

5th Jan Poetry, fiction, plays and more.

6th Jan Speculative fiction 2000-7500 words that begins with the line, ‘No Shit, There I Was.’ PAYING

8th Jan ‘Duende welcomes submissions of prose, poetry, hybrid writing, screenplay and visual art. We are especially interested in collaborations between two or more writers, or between writers and visual artists. We accept submissions from writers working in English, or translating into English, from anywhere in the world. A majority of the work we publish will be from writers and artists who are queer, of color, differently abled, immigrant, working class, youth, elder, and / or otherwise from communities underrepresented in U.S. literary magazines and journals.’

8th Jan ‘This just in: Believe everything you read. Or, at least make us believe it. Our March issue is all about fiction that reads like fact. Think The Onion, Splickety style.

We want to see your best reporting skills on something that’s never happened. The wilder, the better. Put on your journalism hat and write a tale that’s too tall to be true. Convince us it’s news and not a ruse.’ 300-1000 words. PAYING

8th Jan Fiction 800-3000 words on the theme of Run and Hide.

8th Jan Poetry, flash, short fiction and more on the theme of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. PAYING

9th Jan ‘We are looking for stories and poems from all points of view. The focus is on recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs. Family members are encouraged to write about their recovery journey. Our goal in gathering these stories is to allow them to “stand there shining” and show the world the reality of recovery.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY

11th Jan Poetry, short fiction and more on the theme of Infection, by unpublished writers only.

14th Jan Short fiction up to 2000 words on the theme of Secrets. CONTRIBUTOR COPY

15th Jan Spiritually engaged poetry and prose (Cathy’s note: make sure to submit to the anthology, to which submission should be free).

15th Jan Poetry, prose and more. PAYING

15th Jan Poetry and prose. PAYING

15th Jan Poetry and true stories/resolutions on the theme of The Joy of Less. PAYING

15th Jan Poetry and various sorts of prose. CONTRIBUTOR COPY, PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORS

15th Jan Poetry, fiction and much more on the themes of either Grandparents or Birthdays, for this magazine for mothers. PAYING

15th Jan Speculative fiction on the theme of Long Distance Running. PAYING

15th Jan ‘What happens when the kids leave the nest? Now accepting short stories (fiction only) until January 15, 2016. 500-40,000 words. No poetry. No essays.’ (Cathy’s note: they have loads of submission calls, but some require a fee to be paid in order to submit. The Empty Nest call is free to submit.)

15th Jan Poetry, fiction and more on the theme(s) of Family and/or Cultural Identity.

15th Jan Uncanny Tale up to 10,000 words. PAYING

15th Jan ‘On August 5th, 2015, The Centrifugal Eye reached its 10th-year marker! To celebrate that grand feat, our next issue’s focus will commemorate this anniversary by remembering the effects our most beloved poets have on us. We’ll sing the praises of any published poet, alive or dead, whom you admire, or even emulate, through the showcase of your own poetry. Please send us 3-4 of your unpublished poems that are written either in the manner of, inspired by, and/or dedicated to your favourite published poets.’

15th Jan Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Change (Cathy’s note: scroll down to find the free-to-submit link for Conclave). CONTRIBUTOR COPY

15th Jan or when filled: horror-themed poetry. PAYING

15th Jan Poetry, fiction and more.

15th Jan ‘While we accept great poetry of any kind, we are particularly interested in work that complicates prevailing conceptions of race, gender, ecology, and poetic form itself. Is your work attempting to start a dialogue? To enter into conversation? To push? Send it our way.’

15th Jan Poetry and fiction on the theme of Love.

15th Jan Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of The Coming Storm.

15th Jan Positive writing and more on the theme of Unique. CONTRIBUTOR COPY

16th Jan Poems. PAYING

20th Jan Poetry and fiction on the theme of Adventure. CONTRIBUTOR COPY

22nd Jan Writers and others can pitch ideas for programmes suitable for 6-12-year-olds.

25th Jan Micro, flash and short fiction on the theme of Britishness.

28th Jan Fiction on the theme of The Best Break-up Ever. PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORS

29th Jan Poetry, fiction and more.

30th Jan Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Spatial Appropriation.

30th Jan Fairy-tale inspired poems and stories on the theme of Valentine’s Day. PAYING

31st Jan ‘We’ve all read the stories and fallen in love with the movies: the girl needs saving, the boy rescues girl, they fall in love, and they lived happily ever after. But what if the boy was in distress or the girl had dreams that didn’t involve falling in love? Those are the kinds of stories we’re looking for to include in our next anthology. If you have a fantasy story about a strong female character who made her own way or a story that takes a twist on a classic tale, send it our way!’ PAYING

31st Jan Stories up to 10,000 words set in a future extreme right-wing dystopic America.

31st Jan Poetry and flash on the theme of Secrets and Dreams. CONTRIBUTOR COPY

31st Jan Poetry and fiction on the theme of Mountebanks.

31st Jan ‘Seeking science fiction set in a future five to fifteen years from now. The same world in which we live, but with (for example) self-driving cars, big rigs, and garbage trucks; robots working in the car wash; 3D printing, connectivity everywhere, and the Internet of Everything. 2500 – 6000 words.’ ROYALTIES

31st Jan ‘UPPER HAND PRESS seeks submissions for GONERS, an anthology of writing by women who have traveled alone and encountered mishaps, misadventures, frights; who misjudged, lost nerve, or got lost along the way. Submit proposals to Ann Starr, by January 31, 2016. Accepted work due November 30, 2016; publication in summer, 2017. Hoping for diversity of women in travel far away or down the block. Language is English. Upper Hand Press site: .’

31st Jan ‘Submit up to three poems or a short story, novel or memoir excerpt, or personal essay (1,000 to 5,000 words) on the theme of Devices: Technology’s impact on our lives and relationships.’ PAYING

31st Jan ‘Announcing an Open call for Women Indie Published (or new or never before published, or indie supportive traditionally published) authors to contribute to an anthology called Independent Women. The anthology will consist of short stories (flash fiction included), poetry, essays, artwork, or any other woman and/or feminist centered creative work.’ (Cathy’s note: thanks to Erika Dreifus at for this). PAYING

31st Jan Poetry, short fiction, play/drama and more. CONTRIBUTOR COPY

31st Jan Poems and stories using the elements Measure, Cleave, Silver.

31st Jan Poetry, fiction and art on the theme of Pilot.

31st Jan ‘Please consider joining us to help reduce child labor in Asia. Could you write a compelling short story with a third-world child as protagonist if you were provided plenty of background information? Would you be willing to donate your story to be included in an anthology for sale, the proceeds of which would go to help rescue kids enslaved as factory, mine, or industrial workers, working long hours in poor conditions, often without pay?’

1st Feb Writing and more on the theme of Softness (Cathy’s note: thanks to Erika Dreifus at for this). PAYING

1st Feb Poetry, prose, translations and more.

1st Feb Poetry and prose on the theme of Psychologia.

1st Feb Poetry and fiction on the theme of Wild.

1st Feb Writing by girls and women on the theme of Express Yourself.


NOTE: Publishers sometimes don’t discuss their royalty rate upfront. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t pay! I just haven’t put them as paying/giving royalties whenever I haven’t found details on the website.

‘Starward Tales will focus on reinterpretations and retellings of legends, myths, and fairytales in Science Fiction and/or xxxxPunk settings. The collection will contain stories, poetry, and visual art fitting this broad theme.’ PAYING

Poetry, essays and more (Cathy’s note: there is a reader vote, and I normally wouldn’t include anything that has that. However, contributors get paid anyway, so it seemed worth listing). PAYING

Poetry, fiction and more. PAYING

Flash fiction.

Poetry, fiction and many other kinds of MS.

Stories set in the future. PAYING

Poetry collections, short story collections, novels and more.

‘We are looking for well written original stories in science fiction, fantasy, myth, legend, fairy tales, and eldritch, in written, podcast, video, and/or graphic story form, and from around the world. We’re accept both serious and humorous work.’ PAYING

Fantasy poetry and fiction. ‘Stories don’t have to be just from “British” authors, although if there’s an elusive thread linking it however tenuously to these isles that would be great.’

Poetry (Cathy’s note: it’s free to submit one poem, so don’t submit more unless you want to pay the submission fee).


Bracken is an open-minded magazine with a preference for magic realism. Inspired by old world storytelling with roots in the wood’s shadows, we embrace both the literary and the fantastic—an open scope exploring the Other’s consciousness in the present day.’ Poetry, fiction and more. PAYING

Writing of various kinds by women.

Flash fiction. PAYING

When filled or April 30th: ‘Write for us the horrors that we invite into our lives, whether willingly or with reluctance. These are horrors that need our permission to enter.’ PAYING

Stories of around 200 words. PAYING

Fiction and creative nonfiction.

Poetry, fiction and more.



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