Comps and calls for April 2016

Many thanks to those of you who sent me best wishes for my replacement shoulder op and recovery. Isn’t it amazing what’s possible these days? I’m doing fine, though it’s hard to type! With that in mind – apologies for any errors. Usually I’m grateful when you let me know, but there’s nothing I can do this month. Thanks.

In other good news, Comps and Calls has made it into the 120 most helpful sites for writers in 2016 list. I’m alongside some very well-known sites indeed, and thanks again to those of you who praise and support this little site.

Thanks too for tales of your many successes!

Best wishes, and good luck with publications and comps this month,

Cathy x

Here are April 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.


1st Apr Write a poem using only one letter, then 10,000 words explaining the poem. Send it to a relative you don’t get on with and ask for their opinion.

6th Apr ‘You are invited to submit an extract from a review of a well-known work of literature that has been written by a comically inappropriate reviewer. Please email entries of up to 150 words to by midday on 6 April.’ PAYING

11th Apr UK only: ‘Awarded by our Council, the Brookleaze Grants support writers (novelists, playwrights, poets, short story writers) who need time away from their normal lives – to take sabbaticals from their jobs, for example, or to travel abroad for research – to write.’ PAYING

15th Apr Poem. PAYING

15th Apr Story up to 3000 words. NON-CASH PRIZE!rules-2016-competition/quy7w

15th Apr Story up to 500 words, including the words ‘happiness’, ‘mug’ and ‘converter’. PAYING

15th Apr ‘Welcome to the Guardian and 4th Estate BAME Short Story Prize, a new competition open to black, Asian, minority ethnic writers living in the UK and Ireland who are 18 and above. We want to read your story, whatever it may be.’ PAYING

15th Apr Poetry and prose by undergraduates on the theme of Breaking Bread. PAYING

22nd Apr ‘Sapiens Plurum’s latest literary challenge is to  personalize the consequences of climate change so readers feel as well as know them. But stories must offer hope, at least a possibility, for without hope people rarely act. Your job, as author, is to inspire scientists and states-persons around the world to live up to the promise of the Paris Climate Change Agreement.’ 1500-3000 words. PAYING

22nd Apr a ten minute play on a theme Inspired by the life, lyrics and/or legend of David Bowie. NON-CASH PRIZE

29th Apr ‘‘Poetry Together’ is a brand new cross-generational competition that invites children and young people to pair up with a parent, grandparent, carer, older sibling or friend, to share their ideas and create brand new poetry. The aim of the competition is to bring people together creatively, while also raising awareness of the great work that the British Red Cross do to help tackle loneliness so that they can help the most vulnerable people.’ NON-CASH PRIZE

30th Apr Up to three poems. PAYING

30th Apr Fiction and creative nonfiction by college students anywhere in the world. PAYING (With thanks to for this one)

30th Apr UK under 16s only: come up with a description of your Otherhalf. NON-CASH PRIZE

30th Apr SF or F short story by an unpublished writer (they have specific criteria for this, so do check uless you’ve had loads of publications). PAYING

30th Apr Play up to 45 mins. NON-CASH PRIZE

30th Apr A monthly competition. You have to write up to 2000 words inspired by the prompt. VOUCHER/OTHER

1st May Working or aspiring journalists under the age of 27 should submit a detailed proposal for a 5,000-word piece on an aspect of British politics and government. PAYING



2nd Apr ‘King Arthur is dead. Camelot has fallen. Britain drowns in Saxons.

These are the stories of what come after. After Avalon is seeking stories based on the premise, “What happened to these people and relics after Camelot fell?” ‘ ROYALTIES

2nd Apr Short story 2000-20,000 words on the theme of Road Story.

3rd Apr Story 800-2000 words on the theme of Stage & Screen.

4th Apr Comedy script of at least 30 mins.

4th Apr ‘Looking for imagination, empathy, and 50 necessary words. Send up to five (in one file), 50-word pieces that include either a character or form that is part one thing, part another, or that starts in one emotional or physical place and lands somewhere else.The story may be told in poetry or prose (or combo), partly in words/partly in pictures, or in different sizes of type or varied line spacings. But only 50 words.’ SOME CONTRIBUTORS GET CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

5th April Writing on the theme of Tempest: Life Upturned. POSSIBLY PAYING

5th Apr Popetry, fiction and more on the theme of Home.

5th Apr poetry, preferably not free verse, on the theme of Beltane.!submission-guidance/vaqgp

5th Apr Poetry. PAYING (Cathy’s note: they don’t list payment details, but Duotrope has them listed as paying semi-pro rates for poetry.)

8th Apr ‘Labyrinths of thorns and wires. Castles in the sky, held there with jet thrusters. Anything is possible with a magic spell—or with alien technology. Submissions are now open for an anthology that explores the fantastic realms of fairy tales through the lens of science fiction. We welcome fairy tales, fables and myths from around the world, and are looking for new twists and fresh perspectives with a modern, diverse audience in mind.’ ROYALTIES

8th Apr ‘We want stories featuring outdoor escapades that didn’t quite go as planned. Whether tales of camping chaos, fishing fiascos, rough road trips, Sasquatch sightings, or wacko wildlife, send us your spin on what can go out of control in the great outdoors.’ PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORS

10th Apr Chapbooks and book-length MSS of prose or poetry.

11th Apr ‘Many picture books for children have, at their heart, a story narrated in the form of a short rhyming text. Send us your rhyming texts of up to 200 words, that tell a story to read aloud to a small child.’ Women only. PAYING

11th Apr ‘Confession – A memoir piece about something you were (or are now, in retrospect) ashamed of (up to 300 words).’ Women only.

13th Apr Flash, short fiction and more on the theme of Sweden.

15th Apr ‘The OS PRESS seeks intermedia explorations around the role of the body — particularly the challenged body — in creative life, for a collected volume to be published in late 2016 / early 2017.’

15th Apr ‘How are prayers of petition a means of finding meaning, discerning call or vocation—in any life stage or circumstance, even those that are painful or limited? How can petition become an ongoing conversation with God, a relationship with the Divine, beyond a list of requests and concerns or a litany of difficulties?’ Poetry, fiction and more.  PAYING

15th Apr ‘|tap| magazine especially aims to publish poetry and prose on trauma, mental health, mourning, social justice, and by marginalized voices. We are looking for work that is vulnerable, work that is evocative, and work with risk and emotion.’ PAYING!submissions/c1r52

15th Apr Feminist/political writing on the theme of At Sea.

15th Apr Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Celebration.

15th Apr ‘Ninth Letter will be accepting submissions of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry from immigrant writers for a special online edition to be published at in Summer 2016. Submissions will be open from January 27 to April 15. We’re defining immigrant writers as those who consider themselves to be 1st, 1.5, or 2nd generation immigrants to their current country of residence. Submissions are not required to focus on the “immigrant experience”; for this issue we welcome work on any and all topics. Authors whose work is selected for this special feature will receive a complimentary 2-year subscription to Ninth Letter.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

15th Apr ‘The middle years of life are ones of tremendous joy and unchartered challenges. Sandwiched: Voices from the Middle (working title) – co-edited by Christine Organ and Julie Jo Severson – is a forthcoming anthology that will give voice to the various perspectives of those who are living in the full middle years of life.’ 1000-3500 words. PAYING

18th Apr ‘I’m looking for essays and short stories that will make readers bust out laughing. The kind you shouldn’t read next to a sleeping partner or slumbering pet. No need to scare them awake with a bark of laughter or a case of the giggles. And yes folks, grown women get the giggles too.’ PAYING

18th Apr ‘Show us symbiosis: two characters that can’t live without each other, or someone perfectly adapted to their microcosm. Working in sync to create a better life.

The story must be speculative fiction, it must be 1,000 words to 5,000, it must comply with currently posted SQ Mag guidelines, formatting or otherwise.’ PAYING

20th Apr ‘A Two Dame Production is now accepting submissions for its Summer 2016 anthology. The theme of the anthology is Fairy Tales, so send us your best rendering of your favorite fairy tale! Stretch your boundaries and do more than just add sex to a fairy tale.’ PAYING

20th Apr Poetry and fiction. PAYING!the-journal—submissions-policy/m844b

22nd Apr Poetry, prose and more on the theme of Rebirth. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

22nd Apr Stories of around 200 words on the theme of Mother’s Day. PAYING

24th Apr Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Technology. PAYING

25th Apr ‘It’s summer. A time to flower, travel, be carefree, and love. In this spirit, we are holding open submissions for June’s issue. Send us your best work on any subject.’

28th Apr Flash and short fiction. The writer MUST be available to come and read their work on the night in Brunswick, Hove on 26th May.

28th Apr ‘We are looking for stories about characters who are thrown into or stuck between different cultures, communities, families, races, genders, self-images, dimensions, continents, etc. We want the gray area—the uncomfortable, the undefined. Give us characters in the middle of it all: middle children, mediators, people in the middle of their lives, in the middle of a mess—“in-between.”’ Up to 2000 words. PAYING

29th Apr ‘Deranged needs poetry about breaking rules, gender nonconformity, and/or women (cis or trans, we don’t care) in the arts who have done those things down the centuries.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

30th Apr ‘Internationally renowned and award winning poet, Nii Ayikwei Parkes is editing a new collection of contemporary Black British poetry. The theme for this exciting new anthology is ‘Filigree’.’

30th Apr Lyric or hybrid/experimental essays. Must be family-friendly. PAYING

30th Apr Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Nancy Drew.  CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

30th Apr ‘Write a ghost story in 300 words or less.  Stories should take place between 1880-1900 AD and can be set in any location.’

30th Apr ‘Graythorn Publishing is open for submissions of science fiction short stories for the DARK CLOUDS anthology to be published in June 2016. Did you know that humans emit clouds of microbes? Over a million particles an hour. With that sort of chaos something is likely to go very, very wrong. Send us your completed short story of 3,000 to 10,000 words.’ PAYING

30th Apr ‘We are now collecting stories and poems for our next Holiday book that will be published in 2016. We are looking for stories about the entire December holiday season, including Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, and even New Year’s festivities too.’ PAYING

30th Apr ‘Summer’s End is an anthology of fantastical stories that will be about the end of ages, civilisations, golden times that decline inexorably or suddenly. Think the fall of the men of Numenor, the end of the first age of Yggdrasil, the sacking of Rome or the swallowing of Anhkor Watt by the forests as its people disappeared.’ PAYING

30th Apr ‘Broken Bones & Ten Dollar Bills is an anthology of science fiction stories that explore our relationship with body altering technology, be that genetics or other techs. We want to see stories that explore our relationship with technology but also those people who traffic in these goods, those scientists who invent them and the corporations who profit from our awkwardness about being embodied.’ PAYING

30th Apr Poetry and fiction on the theme of Cyclicity.

30th Apr Poetry, fiction and more by those aged 13-19.

30th Apr Poetry and short fiction.

30th Apr The brief is this: your piece must be on the subject of depression, mental illness, and/or suicide (survival or otherwise). Don’t worry about your piece being depressing/dark as fuck, we’re not looking to offer trite inspirational bollocks here. We’re quite simply looking for REAL. To help people living with mental illness know that they are not alone. To break down barriers and fuck taboos off for good. PAYING

30th Apr ‘Picaroon Poetry is a brand new, bi-monthly web journal for unthemed, eclectic poetry. I’m looking for rogue poets, if you will (and absolutely anyone can be a rogue poet, if they feel the urge, so yes poet – that means you).’

30th Apr ‘Milton Keynes Council Music Faculty is looking for an urban lyricist to work with local composer Sarah Watts to create words to go alongside a musical created for performance by young people of Milton Keynes based on Milton Keynes’ 50th Birthday.’ PAYING

30th Apr Story 800-3000 words on the theme of Borders and Boundaries.

30th Apr Poetry on the theme of The Elements.

30th Apr Poetry, fiction and more including the words Labyrinth, Trace and Reflex.

30th Apr Haunted House stories 2000-5000 words. PAYING

1st May Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Identity. PAYING

1st May Poetry, fiction and more. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

1st May Fiction 300-5000 words, starting with the line: By the fifteenth month of the drought, the lake no longer held her secrets. PAYING

1st May Poetry, fiction and more. PAYING

1st May Poems inspired by the photographs of Beth Moon.!news-and-events/c1pz

1st May Gay male erotica set during the Victorian/Edwardian era. PAYING

1st May ‘In this SF/F anthology, we’re looking for stories of everyday trauma survival — from a barmaid on an intergalactic space station who was abandoned by her parents, to a farmer’s son bullied by his peers, who withstands and resists their abuse. We also welcome stories with a war setting, such as stories about veterans and refugees. The key component for all of these stories is how relatively ordinary characters survive and thrive, given the traumatic experiences they’ve had. Note: we aren’t necessarily looking for happily ever after. Trauma survival rarely ends in happily ever after, though it can, and hopefully will, end in closure and a coming to terms.’ PAYING

1st May Vampire erotica 2000-7000 words. PAYING

1st May ‘It’s an old trope, the skeptic who moves into the haunted house only to eventually start to believe in the supernatural about the time a ghost tears his life apart. This is the story we are looking for but just because it is a trope doesn’t mean it cant be unique. It doesn’t have to be a haunted house,  there’s a whole world of cryptids out there just waiting to attack unsuspecting documentary teams in the woods. We are looking for stories that are Dark Comedy, not a parody or spoof. You must scare us & make us laugh, not one or the other.’ PAYING

1st May Stories of ghosts on drugs. PAYING

1st May Poems, stories and more, suitable for Christian children, on the theme of Making our World Better. PAYING

1st May ‘Memoirs of the Feminine Divine: Voices of Power & Invisibility will be a print anthology featuring poetry and personal essays (including flash memoir pieces) by and about women. We are seeking narratives and poetry that explore the concept of “femaleness.” Works will be about the personal experiences of the authors.’

1st May SF, F or H stories on the theme of Taboo.!guidelines/c1c8k

1st May Poetry on the theme of Shadows and Light. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

1st May Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Suspicion.

1st May Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Travel.


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.


Poems, stories and essays. PAYING

Poetry, fiction and more. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

‘Our goal is to find and deliver great science fiction stories that are entertaining, inspiring, and extremely well thought out.  Our stories tend to lean toward what is referred to as ‘hard’ science fiction, in the sense that we prefer stories that are self-consistent, scientifically plausible, and technically detailed when necessary.’ PAYING

‘By publishing serious works that contribute to a global understanding of human affairs from a range of Christian perspectives, Saint Katherine College Press participates in the discovery and dissemination of Inquiry Seeking Wisdom, which is a central purpose of Saint Katherine College.’ Poetry, fiction and complete MSS. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES!press-and-review/c1c4b

Open until filled: ‘With this anthology, we want to focus on you the writer. Challenge your creativity and take risks with the subject matter and style. We are not looking for a specific genre, just a unique character driven story. A story that defines the writer as a Renegade of Prose.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY+ ROYALTIES

‘Green Bottle Press is looking for work by poets who write in English and who have not yet published a pamphlet or full collection, though we will consider new work by more established poets.’

‘Still Point Arts Quarterly is a truly beautiful publication with a clear focus on art, artists, and artistry. Within this focus, the Quarterly addresses topics such as inspiration, imagination, and creativity as well as offering articles on art history, artist biographies, and art criticism. Both non-fiction and fiction are published (up to approximately 5000 words), and poetry is published on occasion.’ PAYING

‘Submissions for Tears in the Fence Issue 64 are now being accepted for publication in autumn 2016. We invite submissions of poetry, prose poems, essays, translations, interviews and reviews. We do not accept simultaneous submissions or previously published material. There is no set theme. However, we are looking for the unusual, perceptive, risk-taking as well as the imagistic, lived and visionary. As we are fully stocked with fiction, we will not be reading new fiction submissions for a few months.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

Poetry, fiction and more.

Flash fiction.

Sword and planet and heroic fantasy fiction. PAYING

Speculative poetry, fiction and more.

Very short poetry and fiction.!brief-guidelines/c6hs

‘WORDPEACE is a new quarterly online journal of literary response to world events in the spirit of promoting peace and hope for all people. We are looking for previously unpublished articles, interviews, fiction and poetry (or mixed media) to publish which reflect this aim. We want work that asks for positive change and is forward thinking. We publish writing that takes a stand against corruption and greed, brutality, genocide, and oligarchy.’

Writing on the theme of Place. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES



1 Comment

  1. Dear Cathy, I learned about your useful, really generous information from Erika Dreifus’ blog. I truly appreciate the work you do getting all information for writers. I hope you recover soon from the shoulder surgery, it’s very painful, I know. Best Barbara Baer

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