Comps and calls for March 2016

There’s a bumper crop of opportunities this March – including several for the playwrights out there, as well as the usual poetry and fiction stuff. Make sure to enter and submit to loads this month – I’m having my shoulder replaced shortly, so April’s listings will be rather slender. My arm will be in a sling for six weeks, so computer use will be limited!

Here are March 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.


‘We will post a ‘prompt’ image the first Friday of every month at 13:00 (GMT) on Twitter. You will have until 13:00 (GMT) on the last day of that month to send us a 300 word story based on that image. Please ensure you follow the guidelines for submission.’ PAYING

2nd Mar ‘To mark the tercentenary of Thomas Gray’s birth, you are invited to submit an ‘Elegy on a Country Churchyard’ in the metre of his famous poem. Please email entries of up to 16 lines to by midday on 2 March.’ PAYING

4th Mar ‘One or more character(s) have to deal with some kind of significant change. It can be any kind of change you like, and on any scale, from a change affecting only one person (or one place, or one thing) to something affecting everyone/everything everywhere, or anything between those extremes. Your challenge: Write a creative, compelling, well-crafted story between 1,000 and 5,000 words long that clearly uses the contest premise.’ PAYING

4th Mar Story by writers in grades 6-12. PAYING

6th Mar Nonfiction feature essay 750-2000 words on the theme of short stories. PAYING

6th Mar Story up to 2500 words on the theme of Food and Drink. PAYING

6th Mar UK only: To be in with a chance of winning, submit your tips, in 50 words or less, to the question: “How do you find time for yourself when you’re travelling abroad with work?” NON-CASH PRIZE

7th Mar SF story up to 200 words on the theme of Change. PAYING

9th Mar ‘Salvador Dalí had a pet ocelot, Gérard de Nerval walked out with a lobster. You are invited to supply a poem about a famous person and an unlikely pet. Please email entries of up to 16 lines to by midday on 9 March.’ PAYING

10th Mar Poems about Nantucket. PAYING

11th March Story up to 8000 words by those with a record of published creative writing in the UK (Cathy’s note: this has a BIG prize, so do have a go if you’re eligible). PAYING

13th Mar Poem on the theme of Mussels. PAYING (Many thanks to the fabulous poet Fiona Pitt-Kethley for this link.)

14th March Play suitable for 8-25 actors aged 7-16. NON-CASH PRIZE!script-contest/sh7cg

15th March Speculative fiction novel based on the provided article. PAYING

15th Mar Story 500-750 words on the theme of The Future. PAYING

15th Mar ‘From December 1 to March 15 each year, The Binnacle will accept submissions for its Annual International Ultra-Short Competition (the Fall edition). All submissions are to be no longer than 150 words (not including the title). Poetry entries should be no longer than sixteen lines. All works should have a narrative element. A minimum total of $300 in prizes will be awarded each year. Winners and honorees will be notified early in June.’ PAYING

18th Mar ‘Entries are invited that are inspired by the geological and landscape writings of Hugh Miller, Scotland’s celebrated self-taught geologist. As a poet and prolific writer, the wealth of potential inspiration that Miller provides in his work is worthy of widespread public engagement. We hope that this writing competition, open to all ages, will encourage both a renewed interest in Miller’s work, a catalogue of new writings inspired by one of Scotland’s greatest nature writers and greater awareness and appreciation of Scotland’s geodiversity.’ PRIZE UNKNOWN AT TIME OF WRITING

18th Mar Poem by UK poets aged 18-30. PAYING

19th Mar Stories 500-1500 words by those with a Gloucestershire or South Gloucestershire connection. The prize is to read your work at a special event.

20th Mar UK children aged 10-14: write a review of the best book you read in 2015.

21st Mar Traditional sonnet. PAYING

25th Mar Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Social Justice. PAYING

31st Mar Flash fiction up to 500 words. VOUCHER/OTHER

31st Mar Poem up to 30 lines (Cathy’s note: the poem needs to be in the form of a pdf rather than a doc. You can convert to a pdf really easily here: PAYING

31st Mar ‘You wake up one morning and find yourself inside a Looney Tunes cartoon with a burning desire to hunt down a certain Bugs Bunny, no matter the cost. What happens next?’ Up to 2000 words. VOUCHER/OTHER

31st Mar UK only: fiction 1500-2500 words on the theme of New Beginnings. NON-CASH PRIZE

31st Mar Ekphrastic poems inspired by the provided image. NON-CASH PRIZE

31st Mar Unproduced script of at least 80 mins length. PAYING

31st Mar Full-length plays. NON-CASH PRIZE

31st Mar Essays on the provided themes. PAYING

31st Mar ‘We’re setting up a writing competition: the Timothy Garton Ash prize for European writing. It will go to the best original essay from any country in Europe, which will be published both in the magazine and online.’

31st Mar USA only: Fiction up to 1000 words on the theme of Earth. PAYING

31st Mar Short story up to 5000 words. PAYING

31st Mar SF story up to 7000 words. PAYING

31st Mar UK and US only: Thriller MS. PAYING

31st Mar Story up to 10,000 words. PAYING

31st Mar ‘The SLF $500 Older Writers Grant is awarded annually to a writer who is fifty years of age or older at the time of grant application, and is intended to assist such writers who are just starting to work at a professional level. We are currently offering two $500 grants annually, to be used as each writer determines will best assist his or her work. PLEASE NOTE: This grant, as with all SLF grants, is intended to help writers working with speculative literature.’ PAYING

1st Apr Funny poems. PAYING

1st Apr ‘ Now in its second year, the Prize annually honors literary nonfiction that illustrates artistic excellence, sensitivity to place, and desert literacy – with the desert as both subject and setting. Inspired by author and poet Ellen Waterston’s love of the high desert of Central Oregon, a region that has been her muse for more than 30 years, the Prize recognizes the vital role deserts play worldwide in the ecosystem and human narrative. Emerging, mid-career and established nonfiction writers are invited to apply.’ PAYING

1st Apr Poetry and short fiction on the theme of Dreams. PAYING

1st Apr Fellowship to stay in the childhood home of Carson McCullers, with a cash payment to cover costs. PAYING


2nd Mar ‘Cut Throat Theatre Company are looking for a script to perform at this year’s Camden Fringe Festival. They are looking for a piece with a running time of 60 minutes with up to five characters (not gender specific). If this sounds like something you are interested in, please send over a synopsis of your piece and character breakdowns to’

4th Mar ‘What is the role of confession in repentance? How do we recognize and acknowledge what needs healing in ourselves? Our separation from God—sin—causes suffering for ourselves and others. How do we take confession beyond the generic to the personally significant and still understand ourselves to be beloved children of God?’ Poetry, fiction and more. PAYING

6th Mar ‘Hundreds & Thousands … It’s both our ninth birthday and our one hundredth event, so as a special one-off we’re seeking Drabbles (100 word stories) and flash fiction of no more than 1000 words ONLY. We’d love it if you could work a numbers, birthdays or anniversaries theme in there too …

10th Mar Poetry and fiction on the theme of Conflict.

11th Mar Stories of around 200 words on the theme of Good Friday/Easter. PAYING

14th Mar Funny sketches and one-liners based on the news. PAYING

15th Mar Positive writing and more on the theme of Radiant. CONTRIBUTOR COPY

15th Mar Writing by those who have a chronic illness.

15th Mar Speculative poetry that explores the idea of Family. PAYING

15th Mar Poetry or very short prose on the theme of Learning to Drive.

15th March Poetry and prose on the theme of Reimagining Everything Differently::Harambee.

15th Mar 50-word fiction on the theme of Mystery Train. CONTRIBUTOR COPY

15th Mar Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Mother Earth.

15th Mar Speculative fiction 1500-3000 words. ‘”Hyperpowers”- Space opera and military fiction. Plato invented naval superpower Atlantis. Iain M. Banks imagined a future dominant galactic civilization in his Culture series. With all of space and time to
choose from, this is your chance to show us your world-building chops. Likable characters optional.’ PAYING

15th May Fiction on the theme of Winged Things.

15th Mar Poetry about longing by UK Poets (Cathy’s note: the theme is given as UK poets, but whether you’re supposed to write about a UK poet or whether they’re only accepting UK poets for this issue, I have no idea).

15th Mar Flash and short fiction. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

18th Mar Magical realist stories. PAYING

19th Mar ‘For this issue of cahoodaloodaling, we want you to send us your art and writing about everything you can’t say at a cocktail party. Send us your letters, your poems, your paintings, your drawings, your collages and essays. Send us your hearts. Send us what you’ve never been able to speak about, the things that wound you and threaten to bring you under.’

20th Mar Poetry on the theme of Trails.

20th Mar ‘SUBMISSIONS ARE CURRENTLY OPEN UNTIL MARCH 20 FOR THE SPRING ISSUE: Comic Books. All submissions for the spring issue should be about comic books, manga, graphic novels or comic strips. Send experimental/innovative/slipstream poetry, belles lettres, microdramas, essays, fiction and hybrids to along with a third person bio and short poetic/artistic statement about your approach to writing or about the character/event presented in your work.’ PAYING

25th Mar Short fiction, poetry and more (Cathy’s note: different categories have different deadlines, so do check even if it’s later than this date). Also poetry and fiction on the theme of Shakespeare.

28th Mar Flash and short fiction on the theme of As inspired by, the gift of the Magi. PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORS

30th Mar Horror stories 4500-7500 words. PAYING

30th Mar Fairy-tale-inspired poems and stories on the theme of Rain. PAYING

30th Mar ‘We’ve all had that day when a spell went south, a glitch ate the code in your doomsday device, and negotiations broke down so  aliens are on the move eat your brains. Okay, maybe we haven’t all had that day. We want a story about what went wrong. Tell us about the best laid plans and what turned them on their ear. Make it dark or funny. Make it sci-fi or fantasy. Just make it something we haven’t seen before.’ 2000-8000 words. PAYING

30th Mar ‘The Massachusetts Review is seeking submissions for a forthcoming special issue on Words and Music. The Massachusetts Review will publish a special issue that has music as its core: fiction, poetry, and nonfiction with music as focus, subject, or essence. We are espeically looking for creative work that includes, engages, and explores music in poetry and fiction.’ PAYING

31st Mar ‘Upheaval. Unrest. Turmoil. Radicalism. These are the ideas that come to mind when we think of revolution. But buried within that word is another. Evolution. The slow, inexorable march of the old giving way to the new. The new, giving way to the newer. And the newer, perhaps forgetting its past, giving way to something come around again.’ Fiction 2000-12,000 words. PAYING

31st Mar Poetry and flash on the theme of Shattered. CONTRIBUTOR COPY

31st Mar Speculative weird western stories. PAYING

31st Mar ‘Submissions are sought for a revised and expanded paperback release of The King In Yellow anthology. We are seeking stories between 2000 and 7000 words related to the Yellow Mythos in some manner (all genres and interpretations will be considered). Reprints from before 2015 will be considered. Multiple submissions are accepted. If sending simultaneous submissions, please do let us know if it is accepted elsewhere.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY

31st Mar Two anthologies, one of short stories of various genres, one of SF. PAYING

31st Mar ‘Send me your stories of those trying to use some kind of science, technology, magic powers, anything that allows them to solve mysteries surrounding supernatural occurrences. What is the final verdict? Truth? Hoax? Something in between—the claimant was experiencing something but it has an explanation? Or– often the scariest of all—the inconclusive result so common on ghost hunting showsYou decide. If there is ultimately an explanation, however, please provide suspense or scares along the way.’ 2000-5000 words. ROYALTIES

31st Mar ‘We are looking for true, personal, written works that use untranslatable words as inspiration to illuminate both the unique and the universal in the human experience, despite the barriers of language. Works can span the blurry lines between personal essay, memoir and creative nonfiction with room for stylistic variety and innovation. We are not looking for poetry at this time.’ PAYING (with thanks to for this one)

31st Mar ‘Many people who have ink want to talk about it, and that’s because every tattoo has a story. I’m looking for the steamy story that inspires the tattoo, the story of getting the tattoo, or characters who are tattooed. I want tattoos that are secret, or hold secrets, and those that are worn open and proud. I want couples’ tattoos, matching tattoos, and—what the heck?—why not a magical tattoo.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY+ ROYALTIES

31st Mar ‘Sometimes magic happens in your life. You have a dream that reveals a truth or a course of action to you. You have a premonition that changes your behavior and saves you or a loved one from disaster. You meet someone at just the right time and you can’t believe the coincidence. We’re collecting stories for a second book on this topic, following our bestseller Chicken Soup for the Soul: Dreams and Premonitions. Share your stories and poems about the amazing things that have happened in your own life.’ PAYING

31st Mar ‘We accept essays and fiction concerning disability by two groups: individuals with a disability and those who are part of the disability community, such as a family member, caregiver, special educator, etc.’ PAYING

31st Mar Full-length play.

31st Mar Poetry, fiction and more. PAYING

31st Mar Poetry on the theme of Seasons.

31st Mar Story 100-5000 words on the theme of Lovers Lost. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

31st Mar Poetry, flash and short fiction on the theme of Funny Strange and Funny Ha-Ha.

31st Mar Poetry on the theme of Comedy. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

31st Mar ‘We are looking for stories 500-8000 words in length about supernatural entities who feel like outsiders. These stories will be published in our anthology, Fitting In: Historical Accounts of Paranormal Subcultures.’ PAYING

1st Apr Poetry, fiction, drama and more.

1st Apr Writing and more by girls and women on the theme of Imagine that…

1st Apr Poetry, flash, short fiction and more on the theme of A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle. PAYING

1st Apr ‘Apex Publications seeks submissions for Undead: A Poetry Anthology of Ghouls, Ghosts, and More. Editors Bianca Lynne Spriggs (Apex Magazine’s poetry editor) and Katerina Stoykova-Klemer welcome your specters, apparitions, zombies, wraiths, phantoms, thought forms and anything (or anyone) animate but no longer living.’ PAYING

1st Apr ‘Sundress Publications is seeking submissions for Curious Specimens, a Wunderkammer-themed e-anthology. We want your Wonder Room’s creepiest inhabitants—think the Mütter Museum, reanimated Fiji Mermaids, and all creatures caught between life and death. While we’d love to see your poetry and flash fiction, we also welcome ephemera. Send us excerpts from taxidermy pamphlets, specimen lists, and medical notes.’

1st Apr ‘We are looking for Steampunk featuring the supernatural (ghosts, shapeshifters, demons, etc.)—as well as a beautifully crafted, original story.’ 1500-6000 words. PAYING

1st Apr Poetry, flash and short fiction on the theme of Finale (Cathy’s note: it’s for their last ever issue. Shame – they’ve had some good themes).

1st Apr Poems on the theme of Revolution.

1st Apr Nonfiction prose poems.

1st Apr Love poems about inanimate objects. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES, PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORS

1st Apr ‘For many of us being at work or working for a living takes up more than half of our time. Probably also more than half of the time of our whole lives. In this issue we want to explore how our work can cause distress, make us unhappy but also show off alternatives that show how fulfilling a profession can be. Is there such a thing as good work and bad work? How do other cultures “work”, how did our grandparents “work”. What work has been done to make the world “better”. What is work, or labour, or profession, and what does it mean to us? Is working in our blood, is it good for our soul to do stuff?’ PAYING

1st Apr Poetry, fiction and more suitable for Christian children on the theme of The Great Beyond. PAYING

1st Apr ‘Give us stories and poems of the dark gods and goddesses of any pantheon or religion. Make these deities accessible, turn the old stories on their heads, or show the dark ones in all their glory (but in a way that makes them more than just a villain or nemesis for some other deity).’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

1st Apr Poetry, fiction and more. 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. PAYING

MSS in various genres. Send query by email. ROYALTIES

‘West Virginia University Press is pleased to announce In Place, a new book series to be published under Vandalia Press, its creative imprint. In Place emerges from a desire to uncover more books about the complexity and richness of place. This series will publish literary nonfiction in various forms—narrative nonfiction, memoir, essay collections, cultural mediation, and others—focusing on books firmly rooted in place. In Place creates a space to explore lives, history, and landscapes.’ (with thanks to for this one)

‘The Wax Paper is a broadsheet publication open to all forms of written word, image, and collected conversation. The first priority of The Wax Paper is to expand our understanding of the people we share the world with, and in doing so, expand our understanding of ourselves. Pieces will be selected on their ability to illuminate the humanity and significance of the subjects that inhabit the work.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

‘The Cafe Irreal is a quarterly webzine that presents a kind of fantastic fiction infrequently published in English. This fiction, which we would describe as irreal, resembles the work of writers such as Franz Kafka, Kobo Abe, Clarice Lispector and Jorge Luis Borges. As a type of fiction it rejects the tendency to portray people and places realistically and the need for a full resolution to the story; instead, it shows us a reality constantly being undermined.’ PAYING

Dark fiction. PAYING

Poetry, flash and short fiction that fits with Andy’s series of ghost stories.

Dark novellas and novels. ROYALTIES

YA Romance novels 50,000-100,000 words.

Fiction suitable for teens. PAYING

‘Our hand-made books are perfect for chapbooks, novellas, coloring books, choose your own adventures, illustrated tales, POP-UP!s and anything else you can think to send our way.  Genre is unimportant but we do lean toward experimental over anything else.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY+ ROYALTIES

Fiction that paints a positive picture of mental illness, targeted at 13-25 year olds.

Poetry, fiction and more. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

Poetry collections and pamphlets.

‘Familius is a mission-driven company. We believe that the family is the fundamental unit of society, and all of our books reflect that in some way. Our categories include parenting, marriage, family fun, education, cooking, health and wellness, children’s books, and fiction for both adults and young adults. Basically, if your book can help us achieve our mission of helping families be happy, we want to talk to you.’

Poetry and flash fiction chapbooks by queer and trans writers. CONTRIBUTOR COPY+ ROYALTIES

‘The editors of Modern Love are interested in receiving deeply personal essays about contemporary relationships, marriage, dating, parenthood…any subject that might reasonably fit under the heading “Modern Love.” Ideally, essays should spring from some central dilemma the writer has faced in his or her life. It helps if the situation has a contemporary edge, though this is not essential. Most important is that the writing be emotionally honest and the story be freshly and compellingly told.’ PAYING

Poetry and prose.

‘In the simplest of terms, we want great science fiction and fantasy stories that have at least one character who pushes, explores, or in some way addresses gender boundaries.’ PAYING

Flash and short fiction. PAYING

Play about an extraordinary historical woman. (Cathy’s note: The deadline is 31st Dec, but get your subject in now before someone else does!)

SF short stories. PAYING

Flash fiction and poetry which is Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Intersex friendly.

Poetry and flash fiction on the theme of Ghosts Redemption. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES, PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORS

Share your story of rising from the ashes and coming alive. No matter how you’ve suffered or what you’ve faced, be it the loss of a loved one, depression or anxiety, life-threatening illnesses, abuse, relational loss, etc. you can share your story of rising from the ashes and coming alive and join us in this movement #oncomingalive.

‘Zabaan, in Urdu, means ‘tongue’. We believe in tongue-lashing. We believe in catharsis through writing. We are committed to publishing bold literary writing; writing that challenges our notions of form, tradition, and convention, but also, of race, class, gender, sexuality, identity, psychology, philosophy and the art of writing itself.’

Poetry, fiction and more by those aged 13-19, plus YA writing by those aged over 19. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

Open until filled: fiction up to 2000 words. PAYING (Cathy’s note: thanks to for this one)

Funny or disturbing online dating experiences. PAYING


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