Comps and calls for February 2016

Many thanks to those of you who have emailed to tell me all about your successes. Congratulations to all of you! Keep it up this Feb!

Here are February 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 Feb UK only: describe your most gruelling outdoor experience in up to 100 words. NON-CASH PRIZE

3rd Feb Loads of categories for writers of various ages and types in the North of England. PAYING

4th Feb Spectator Competition 2934: rich rhymes. ‘You are invited to submit poems suitable for inclusion in Now We Are Rich (16 lines maximum). Please email entries, wherever possible, to by midday on 4th February.’

5th Feb Love poem on the theme of Jilted. PAYING

5th Feb USA only: poem on the theme of Place (Cathy’s note: The winning poem becomes the property of Zócalo Public Square. It might be worth it for $500, but be aware that you are signing over the rights!) . PAYING

10th Feb A Valentine’s triolet. PAYING

11th Feb Fiction up to 1200 words on the theme of Mum. ‘The prize can be sent to a UK address of the winner’s choice with a view to delivering it before/near to Mother’s Day if preferred. Although we are happy to accept entries from world wide, we cannot deliver to non-UK destinations.’ NON-CASH PRIZE

12th Feb Flash or poetry using the provided words. VOUCHER/OTHER

15th Feb Poetry, fiction and art. PAYING

15th Feb Short story up to 2000 words on the theme of Ageing. PAYING

15th Feb UK and Eire only: Explain where and what your Amazing is in up to 250 characters.

15th Feb Up to 600 words on the theme of Memorable Bosses. PAYING

16th Feb ‘The City of Seattle wants to pay someone $10,000 to live part time in the Fremont Bridge’s northwest tower and write poetry. The poet or writer selected for the Fremont Bridge post will be expected to produce at least one work that can be presented by the city. (Office of Arts & Culture spokeswoman Calandra ) Childers said that could be a spoken-word piece, an essay or a collection of poetry, or something different.’ Applicants must live within 100 miles of Seattle. (Cathy’s note: I rarely include regional opportunities from abroad, but this one was too good to pass up!) PAYING

20th Feb Fiction of exactly 100 words. There are three age categories. PAYING

22nd Feb Poem or short story with the title For All Time. There are several age categories. PAYING

28th Feb Story of up to 1000 words. NON-CASH PRIZE

29th Feb Science poetry. PAYING

29th Feb SF on the theme of Medicine, Health and Illness. PAYING

29th Feb Up to three poems on the theme of Meditation or Mindfulness. PAYING

29th Feb ‘You wake up one morning and find that you aren’t in your bed; you aren’t even in your room. You’re in the middle of a giant maze. A sign is hanging from the ivy: “You have one hour. Don’t touch the walls.” Finish the scene.’ Up to 2000 words. VOUCHER/OTHER

29th Feb Flash fiction of exactly 500 words. PAYING


3rd Feb Speculative fiction and poetry on the theme of Love, Sex and Romance. PAYING

4th Feb Poetry, flash, short fiction and more. PAYING

5th Feb Story 300-1000 words on the theme of Fairytales: Unfettered. PAYING

5th Feb Songs, lyrics and music videos on the theme of Allegro for this music-themed publication.

5th Feb ‘Slim Volume: See Into the Dark will be our fourth anthology of poetry and flash fiction (May 2016), and for this one I want you to frighten me out of my fluffy winter socks. Or at the very least, unsettle me, like one of those dreams where you’re out in public with half (or all of) your clothes missing, or the ones where you pull out your own teeth and it doesn’t hurt.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

7th Feb Poetry, fiction and 10-minute plays (Cathy’s note: although the 10-minute play is described as a contest, there’s no prize unless the winner can be present at the staged reading, which would mean getting there, so I’ve listed it as a call rather than a comp).

7th Feb Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Visions of the Future for this teen mag. PAYING

7th Feb Canadians only: ‘We are specifically seeking short works written by Canadians. Submissions can be on any topic you want, so long as the end result falls within the definition of “Hey, that’s funny.” No topic is taboo; no target is safe. Comedy being a necessarily subjective genre, we’re looking to cast the widest possible net.’ There is also an anthology on climate change. PAYING

7th Feb ‘This year the theme is PASSAGE. What does it mean to move? Through time, through space, from place to place? The editors of Mandala want to know. Passage is about more than just a beginning and an end; it is everything in between that makes the journey. Submissions are now open for our 12th volume, PASSAGE, which will be hosted online with selections printed in a special, limited edition chapbook. Send us your best fiction, poetry, or non-fiction. Send us your art. Send us experimental work. Send us graphic storytelling or one act plays. This is an open call, and we’re open to everything.’

7th Feb Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Polyamory, for this journal of women’s sexuality.

7th Feb Fiction 800-2000 words on the theme of Justice & Mercy.

12th Feb Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Adoration for this Christian mag.

14th Feb ‘WHITE DADS is accepting all forms of creative expression from black, brown, mixed race, adopted and/or POC who have the unique experience of having a white father. This is meant to be an intentional, creative opportunity to speak on truths, tell stories and share art that fall within the thematic focus. It’s a space to explore the crossroads of where social and political constructs intersect with personal experiences and family, loving or otherwise; an opportunity to look into the nature of identity and family ties that are anything but black and white.’

14th Feb Canada only: MSS of Canadian history, Canadian issues and various kinds of fiction. ROYALTIES

15th Feb Fiction and more on the theme of Taboo.

15th Feb ‘Poems and Artwork (b&w and cartoons) are needed for a new E-book (and later print edition) anthology of poems about school shootings, public shootings, guns, gun control, media coverage of tragic shootings, the NRA and the second amendment.

We particularly encourage submissions from students, younger writers (and artists) and teachers since they experience the very real threat of increasing school attacks on a daily basis.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

15th Feb Poetry. ‘Muse A Journal seeks lyrical, playful, moving, linguistically-inventive, unique, experimental, moving, honest, diction-sensitive, perhaps collaborative, economical, attentive, vested, clever, touching, REAL work. If this describes your work in any way, we’d love to see it.’

15th Feb ‘Imagine what could occur in the deepest regions of space between the stars of the Milky Way. Television and movies depict spaceships spending weeks and months, sometimes years, traveling from one star to another and even to distant galaxies…. What will they see and what dangers will they overcome? Show us your vision of how our descendants will live, and possibly die, in deep space. As long as your story takes place outside the boundaries of any star system, we are interested.’ PAYING

15th Feb Speculative poetry and fiction. PAYING

15th Feb Flash, short fiction, poetry and more on the theme of Borders.

15th Feb Fauna-inspired ghazals.

15th Feb Writing on the theme of Parenting Teens. PAYING

15th Feb Poetry and flash on the theme of The Night.

15th Feb ‘Although the digital age allows us unprecedented freedom and opportunity to express, we still face silencing, underrepresentation, micro aggressions, and various other invalidations due to race, gender, sexual orientation, politics, and beliefs. In our art, we have an opportunity to re-evaluate binaries and reanimate those parts of ourselves that have been silenced. At [PANK], we strive to create a space for artists to express themselves through literature in ways that are innovative and fresh, and we think it’s best to begin this new chapter of the magazine by giving voice to so many people and issues that have been silenced. Submit work with a voice that won’t quit—think about times that your work and words have been denied or made invisible or times that others have experienced this type of invalidation. Send us something that screams.’

15th Feb Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Secrets. PAYING

15th Feb ‘Please submit only if you have a relationship of some kind with Tuscany, even a brief one is fine as long as the creative work you submit originated, was in part created, or was completed in Tuscany. The work does not need to thematically regard Tuscany in any way. The theme for the Spring 2015 issue is The itch and scratch of spring and closing date for submission is 15th February 2016.’

15th Feb ‘Haunted houses, ghost stories, poltergeists and ethereal beings! Let’s get haunted together this March! Accepting short stories, poetry and artwork.’ PAYING

20th Feb ‘We are looking for a variety of submissions that transform well-known fairytales into modern, realistic, or fantastical stories. What we want is to see them given new life. We want real characters, real tensions, and real consequences. There is one clincher; don’t make them cheesy. Make them humorous, violent, grotesque, sexy, suspenseful, or satirical—just keep the writing serious. This anthology is intended for mature audiences. Sex and profanity are acceptable; however, not in excess.’ PAYING

20th Feb (or when filled): ‘Femme fatales doing bad things. Good broads gone to the wrong side of the tracks. Crime and redemption. Satisfy our craving! We will be featuring the work of twelve authors in this book and are taking submissions of 1,200 to 5000 words.’

20th Feb (or when filled): ‘We are looking for hard western crime stories from 12 authors for a never-to-repeated Western noir anthology. We want the old west – nothing supernatural or set in the modern day.We will be featuring the work of twelve authors in this book and are taking submissions of 1,200 to 5000 words.’

23rd Feb 3-5 poems by poets who haven’t yet published a full-length collection.

25th Feb Poetry and fiction that retells Psyche and Cupid. PAYING!submissions/c1vmu

25th Feb Flash and short fiction on the theme of Mistaken Identity. PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORS

28th Feb Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of A Long Time Ago… CONTRIBUTOR COPY

28th Feb Vignettes of prose or poetry. PAYING

28th Feb Fiction of roughly 1000 or 2000 words on the theme of Nationality. PAYING

28th Feb ‘The panel was all about being a fan of problematic things, and the example of loving the work of an author who is not a good person came up, particularly Lovecraft and his Cthulu Mythos. Many people love the Mythos and Cthulu pervades a lot of geek culture, but Lovecraft himself was a rampant misogynist, racist, and anti-Semitic. An audience member jokingly suggested that there should be a collection of stories that would make dear old Lovecraft roll over in his grave – like a black lesbian Jew triumphing over the Unspeakable. And all the authors on panel and in the audience said – “Heeeey, that sounds like fun!” ‘ PAYING

28th Feb ‘BOB as in Battery Operated Boyfriend… This one is for the adults – what happens when one of your sex toys gets a mind of its own, literally? We’re thinking about demon possessed blow up dolls, haunted vibrators, perhaps a golem sex-slave who is tired of her existence and convinces one of her lovers to use the word of power to destroy her as a safe word. Given the topic, yes, we expect at least some on page sex, but the focus of this anthology is not erotica (as lovely as said erotica might be). We’re looking for the thoughtful, funny, or horrific implications of your solo playmate possessing some level of sentience.’ PAYING

28th Feb Drabbles. PAYING

28th Feb Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Surreal.

28th Feb Genre fiction up to 10,000 words on the theme of Uncommon Origins. ROYALTIES

29th Feb Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Pandora’s Box. CONTRIBUTOR COPY

29th Feb Fiction 800-3000 words on the theme of Mistakes and Missteps.

29th Feb Poetry and fiction on the theme of Cats, crows, cows.

29th Feb ‘We are seeking short fiction in the Speculative Fiction genre (by which we mean to be the umbrella term for the wide and varied range of Science Fiction and Fantasy subgenres). The stories are to be inspired by (by which we mean drawn from, informed by, derived from) the author’s personal experiences of being Jewish. If your story has Nazis in it, please don’t bother submitting. No exceptions.’ PAYING

29th Feb Poetry and short fiction. CONTRIBUTOR COPY

29th Feb ‘This is a collection of stories (fiction or nonfiction, or even poetry if it tells a story) about life in and after prison, that will remind readers of the humanity of people who are incarcerated, and the fact that we are all in this together. We are mainly looking for stories from prisoners themselves, although submissions from family members and loved ones will also be considered.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY

29th Feb 1970s-style horror stories 3000-10,000 words. PAYING

29th Feb ‘EXPERIMENTAL WRITING: Volume 1 Africa Vs. Latin America

First rule is: there are no rules to creativity, writing, thinking, feeling, being. Beat the boundaries, bend, them, push them, pull, exaggerate, spread things around, throw the yoke off, blow smoke up, burn it, throw the ashes into the air…just do something new, unique, innovative about your writing. We are not looking for easy reads, writing that blindly follows the rules, writing hammered down, writing the literary establishment forces down our throats as correct, right, and universal. Send us your best experimental, avant-garde or innovative fictions, non-fictions, plays, poetry, mixed genres… in 2 languages: English and Spanish. Send work in only one genre of your choice! Poetry (3 poems per poet, each poem must not be more than 40 lines) Prose, plays and mixed genres (I piece per writer, of not more than 5000 words) Work must be sent in only one attached document, also include your contact details in this document, i.e., Postal address, Tel no, Email address and a bio note of not more than 100 words. Please sent your entries to both, Tendai R. Mwanaka at and Ricardo Felix Rodriguez at

29th Feb Poetry, flash, short fiction and more on the theme of Heat.

29th Feb ‘Lazarus Risen will seek SF (no fantasy or horror, please) short stories that explore the economic, political, social and psychological consequences of life extension, human cloning, the hard upload and other forms of the biological singularity. Our preferred length is 3500 to 6500 words.’ PAYING

29th Feb Speculative fiction up to 6000 words on the theme of Beneath the Surface. PAYING

29th Feb Up to 15 pages of work by writers who aren’t men.

1st Mar Story inspired by a song by The Misfits. PAYING

1st Mar MS 45,000-90,000 words.

1st Mar Stories of Ghosts on Drugs. PAYING

1st Mar Short fiction, or 3-5 poems.

1st Mar Poetry, fiction and essays. PAYING

1st Mar True short stories and poetry about music. PAYING

1st Mar Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Distractions. PAYING

1st Mar Writing on the theme of At Sea for this feminist publication.

1st Mar ‘Jennifer Bartlett is guest editing a future issue of TYPO that will be focused around poetry and disability. If you have a disability and have some poems, please upload them here. She is particularly interested in work by people of color, queer folks, and folks who are not neurotypical.’

1st Mar Poetry on the theme of Innocence and Experience (Cathy’s note: They list pay rates for everything they accept except poetry. It’s very frustrating. My guess is that they do pay, but that’s only a guess).

1st Mar 3-5 poems on the theme of Gold. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

1st Mar Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Drop the Zucchini and Run! (Cathy’s note: you can submit by email as long as you aren’t in the USA.) PAYING


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.

Poetry, fiction and more on a large number of themes. PAYING

Fiction and nonfiction MSS.

LGBTQ YA MSS 15,000-80,000 words.

‘BABYBUG, a look-and-listen magazine, presents simple poems, stories, nonfiction, and activities that reflect the natural playfulness and curiosity of babies and toddlers. When reviewing submissions, the editors look for manuscripts that please the ear and beg to be read again, as well as those that capture a baby’s discoveries in a few simple, concrete sentences.’ PAYING

‘Twice a month, we’ll post one new short (flash fiction, creative nonfiction, and prose poetry around 500 words) and one new illustration. Writers can submit a short in response to the illustration, and illustrators can submit an illustration in response to the short. We pay $50 per short and $50 per illustration for everything we publish in Penny, and you keep the rights to use your work after we publish it.’ PAYING

Canadians only: poetry. PAYING

‘We welcome essays and notes on the life, associates, works, reputation, and influence of Herman Melville (1819–1891). Poetry and short fiction are also accepted.’

UK only: poetry.

Poetry. PAYNG

Fiction, preferably up to 3000 words. PAYING

Conceptual humour on the theme of Parenting.

Poetry and fiction (Cathy’s note: if you’re published, you get a voucher for a subscription. I bought a lifetime subscription with mine, and their notification emails have found me many interesting opportunities. They also have excellent databases of agents, publishers etc). VOUCHER/OTHER

Microprose and art.!submit/c24vq


‘Black Renaissance Noire publishes essays, poetry, fiction, photography, art, and reviews that address the full range of contemporary Black concerns. It invites Black genius to apply itself to the realities of the twenty-first century with uncompromised thought, generous and readable analysis, and commentary.’

Short stories.

Pulp fiction. PAYING

recompose is a magazine of interstitial short works – both prose and poetry. We are looking for flash fiction and poems that walk the line between one of the “speculative” genres —science fiction, fantasy, and horror— and the literary genre.’ PAYING

When filled or 30th Jun ‘Too many characters spend their time brooding about the past, whether it’s missed opportunities or mistakes that led to misfortune down the line. For our first anthology, we want your stories with at least one character who has no regrets – either for a specific moment, or in general. Your story must feature a predominantly POC cast to be considered.’ PAYING

‘Harmony Ink Press is accepting manuscripts for Teen and New Adult fiction featuring at least one strong LGBTQ+ main character between the ages of 14 and 21 who shows significant personal growth through the course of the story. Identifying as part of the LGBTQ+ spectrum can be part of the growth process depicted in the book. We are looking for stories in all subgenres with authentic voice, unforgettable characters, and powerful world building (even for contemporary stories). Unsolicited manuscripts are accepted at any time.’ ADVANCE(for some authors) + ROYALTIES

SF & F stories up to 3000 words. PAYING

Various kinds of MS.

Poetry, flash and more on the theme of Space.

‘Genre: We publish fresh, original, well-written and captivating stories in the realms of fantasy, paranormal fantasy, paranormal romance, sci-fi, urban fantasy and gentle horror. For an exceptional manuscript those boundaries may exhibit a little flexibility, but they’ll only bend so far. Do keep our genre preference in mind before you submit. We also publish a line of how-to-write titles. We would welcome proposals for additional genre-relevant how-to-write or how-to-market/sell type titles. For 2016, we’d really like some traditional fantasy rather than werewolves and vampires. Quests, dragons, good and evil!’

Poetry and fiction by those aged 17 or under.

‘For every humor piece the big guys publish, many are rejected. At least some of that must be worth reading, right? Glad you agree. The Reject Pile wants to help your humor writing see the light of day. If it makes us laugh, it will probably make others laugh too, and we’d like to facilitate that.’

Short, accessible poems.

Poetry, flash and short fiction.

‘We release e-book and print formats. At a minimum, books should be 35,000 words in length, although we prefer 60-80,000 words; however, longer works are also considered. Do note that shorter works are considered for anthologies and works less than 50,000 words will be published in e-book format only.’ ROYALTIES

‘Gallery of Curiosities is a story podcast that comes along whenever we have managed to put together a new show. This is a paying audio fiction market catering to the steampunk and retro-futurist niche, as well as those who like good audio fiction during their commute.’ PAYING

Various kinds and lengths of romance, plus Politics & Government (Opinions or satire, American History); Self-Help and Spirituality; How-to; True Crime; and Biographies or Autobiographies.

‘FEMMEUARY! is a collaborative blog, for those interested, aggravated or enlightened by feminism.’ Poetry, prose and more.


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