Comps and calls for May 2016

Hello all and Happy May!

Yes, I know that ‘Happy May’ isn’t a traditional greeting, but there are tons of opportunities this month, many paying, and they are wonderfully varied. Also, I have news – Comps and Calls has been selected to be one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers as honored by Writer’s Digest! How great is that?! There’s a link at the right if you want to explore.

Since C&C started I’ve been asked a few times how people can thank me. Well, there’s now a tip jar into which you can drop a dollar/pound/euro, and so on – but only if you really want to!

Don’t forget about the FB group: The odd update makes it there when I can’t find my webbie.

Right – there’s a lot to do, so let’s get writing!

Cathy x

Here are May 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.


4th May You are invited to submit a poem singing the praises of old age (16 lines maximum). Please email entries (wherever possible) to by midday on 4 May. PAYING

6th May ‘Your challenge: In no more than 75 words, tell, show, or evoke as complete a story as you can in which music of some sort plays an important role.’ PAYING

6th May UK only: ‘McCarthy & Stone are searching for the nation’s most Colourful Characters – people aged 60 and over who are living life to the full, redefining retirement and doing anything but acting their age! The overall winner will receive a trip of a lifetime for two from Saga.You can nominate yourself, or enter a friend for their chance to win.’ NON-CASH PRIZE

6th May Script proposal from a BAME writer. PAYING

11th May ‘Competition No. 2948: Wild thingIn his book Being a Beast Charles Foster tried to get into the skin of a badger, an otter, an urban fox, a red deer and a swift. Let’s have an account (150 words maximum) of living as a member of the species of your choice. Please email entries to by 11 May.’

14th May ‘In this creative project, we want you to write a POEM or a short duologue ABOUT LONELINESS. You might be inspired to write about a character in Steinbeck’s novel. You may want to reflect on your own life or experience you’ve had, you may find inspiration from a friend or something you’ve seen on the news.  We want you to write something honest but playful  and from the heart. Although the theme is LONELINESS, we’re encouraging you to think about the many themes that relate to this in Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men: friendship, isolation, innocence, freedom, justice, violence, prejudice, age, race, masculinity,  femininity and vulnerability, economic hardship and the struggle to survive.’ (Cathy’s note: one of the prizes is based on reader votes, but the main two aren’t.) PAYING

15th May Get your ‘writing program director’ to enter your work for this: ‘Brevity is excited to announce a contest for writing students in tandem with our special issue focused on experiences of race, racialization, and racism. We are looking for flash essays  (750 words or fewer) that explore the lived experience of race, racialization, and racism, show the reader a new way to look at the familiar, or give voice to under-represented experiences.’

16th May Write a story in ten words or fewer. NON-CASH PRIZE

30th May full-length play. PAYING

30th May Short story 4000-8000 words (Cathy’s note: winners will be invited to meet publishers in London – but I don’t know if they pay for travel, so better not to enter unless you can get there). NON-CASH PRIZE

31st May Sonnet in response to one of Shakespeare’s. NON-CASH PRIZE

31st May Fiction up to 2000 words on the theme of Crazed Fan. VOUCHER/OTHER

31st May ‘To celebrate the release of our new Slow Travel Shropshire guide by Marie Kreft we are running a special competition to find the most perfect day in the county. To enter, simply write a description of your perfect day in no more than 500 words. Your day might have really happened or be something imagined: it could include soaking up the history at Ironbridge Gorge, hiking on the Long Mynd or tucking into local goodies on the Magnalonga in Ludlow. Whatever shape your perfect day might take, we want to hear what makes Shropshire special to you.’ NON-CASH PRIZE

31st May Over 60s only: writing on the theme of Travel/Holidays. NON-CASH PRIZE

31st May Children 5-12 only: writing on the theme of Animals. NON-CASH PRIZE

31st May Essay by high school, college and university students of any age. PAYING

31st May ‘Writers are therefore being invited to submit a previously unpublished short story of no more than 3,000 words set in Elgin and the surrounding area during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.’ PAYING

31st May UK only: poetry and short fiction by those aged 10-17. PAYING

31st May ‘Only full-length works (dramas, comedies, musicals, screenplays) will be considered. One entry per author, please. Scripts must be original and in English. All must concern lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or genderqueer life and be based on, or directly inspired by, a historical person, culture, work of art, or event.’ PAYING

31st May Traditional mystery novella.  PAYING

31st May US only: video description for a short film. PAYING

1st Jun Under 16s: story up to 1500 words (Cathy’s note: the adult category requires a fee, but it’s free for the under 16s to enter their category). PAYING

1st Jun ‘To celebrate Poetry Writing Month this April, Singapore Poetry is holding its second annual poetry contest. We are looking for poems that include the word “Singapore” (or its variants) in some creative manner. The poems do not have to be about Singapore; in fact, we prefer it if the poems are not about Singapore. They just have to use the word “Singapore” in a way significant to the poems’ own subject and method. And here’s another wrinkle: the contest is open to everyone who is NOT a Singaporean citizen or permanent resident in Singapore.’ (Thanks to for this one.)


2nd May Poems. PAYING (thanks to for this one)

2nd May Writing on the theme of Allegro.

2nd May Poetry and more on the theme of Quaker Spaces.

3rd May UK only:  ‘This paid one-day R&D platform provides a safe space and creative support to Deaf and disabled artists wishing to explore raw ideas and fresh stories for live performance, with artistic guidance and advice from our award-winning team. Play Labs is open to Deaf and disabled writers, performers and theatre makers of all levels and experience, keen to jumpstart their creative processes and committed to seeing through their ideas.’ PAYING

5th May Age 7-25: four lines of poetry in English or Welsh on the theme of Hands, after the Dylan Thomas poem ‘The Hand That Signed The Paper.’

5th May Microfiction on the theme of Siren Songs.

5th May Poetry is among the works of art acceptable for this art exhibition in Portugal.

5th May Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Tall.

5th May Poetry and fiction on the theme of Home.

6th May Script proposal by BAME writers. PAYING

(source: )

7th May Poems as a tribute to Prince.

8th May Script on the theme of Alone Inside the Box.

8th May Poetry on the theme of Future Machines (Cathy’s note: only Australian contributors are paid). PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORS

8th May Poetry, prose and more on the theme of Asians to Watch Out For (Cathy’s note: only Australian contributors are paid). PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORS

9th May Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Kink, for this journal devoted to women’s sexuality.

15th May Poetry, fiction and more. PAYING

15th May Positive writing and more on the theme of  Brave CONTRIBUTOR COPY

15th May Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Music.

15th May Poetry and flash.!generalsubmissions/c1lzv

15th May Poets with connections to Hong Kong and Greater China: ‘To commemorate the 400th anniversary of the death of Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra and with the sponsorship of the Spanish Consulate General in Hong Kong and Macao, Chameleon Press will publish a new collection of poetry in which contemporary poets interpret the themes of Cervantes’s classic Don Quixote for Hong Kong and East Asia, in particular the tension between pragmatism and vision, the “real world” and dreams or, in the words of scholar Ilan Stavans, “between hope and fatalism, … idealism and materialism”, and explore what this says about the nature of humanity and success.’

15th May Fiction 2000-7500 words on the theme of Alien Love. PAYING

15th May Neon noir stories 2500-5000 words. ROYALTIES

15th May ‘Humankind has forded the immense stream of space between stars and reached our neighbors. The Milky Way Galaxy lies waiting to be explored. What will we discover on hospitable planets circling new stars? Will we find almost familiar moons, asteroids, planetary rings, and, possibly, never before seen astronomical formations? The sky is no longer the limit for soaring imaginations. Visions V stories take place somewhere…anywhere…in the Milky Way Galaxy.’ 3000-8000 words PAYING

15th May Fiction, poetry and more on the theme of Rejection.

15th May 50-word fiction on the theme of Magic. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

15th May Short fiction on the theme of Neon Noir. ROYALTIES

15th May ‘We accept Poetry, Short Story, Flash Fiction, Haiku, Haibun, Essay, and Review. For this issue, we are especially interested in receiving poems using, but not limited to canyons, bridges, caves, and meadows as image or metaphor.’

20th May Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Agitprop.

21st May Submissions to this anthology must contain monsters being monsters, meaning no sparkly vampires or monsters with hearts of gold. Your monsters should be terrorizing and keep us up at night. PAYING

23rd May Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Influence.

25th May ‘This issue will showcase fiction from and about the real Cuba: not Havana-centric but emanating from the entire island – including its rural communities, and its exiles.’

28th May Haiku on the theme of Agape and Eros.

29th May Poetry and fiction. PAYING

29th May Poetry and flash fiction on the theme of Witches.

30th May Novellas. PAYING + ROYALTIES

30th May Fairytale-inspired poems and stories on the theme of Summer Solstice and Midsummer. PAYING

31st May ‘This speculative fiction anthology contains original stories to celebrate Asian diversity, featuring an Asian main character, Asian setting and/or some amount of Asian elements, by authors with an Asian heritage.’ PAYING

31st May Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Miracle. CONTRIBUTOR COPY

31st May SF mysteries. PAYING

31st May Writing on the theme of Escape.

31st May ‘Our summer issue will be a bit more specific than usual: We’re seeking six-line poems. Metrical or informal, haiku- or tanka-inspired, dark, light, surreal, narrative, minimalist, absurd — send us your six-line gems, whatever they may be.’

31st May ‘Give us that one, two, punch of something sexy in the ring or a burning passion that can’t be left on the court. We’re looking for sports stories that can knock it out of the park when it comes to playing for keeps. We don’t care if it’s baseball, professional poker, or international cup stacking. As long as it’s a sport, it’s in the game.  Couples can be established or new, but stories must stand on their own alone.  Love Slave is dedicated to providing high quality erotic fiction that is smart and sexy. Our anthologies have a balance between action and eroticism and a focus on storytelling.’ PAYING

31st May Poetry and flash on the theme of Tranquility. CONTRIBUTOR COPY

31st May ‘Circuses are supposed to be places of joy and wonder, but they are also full of clowns and many people find clowns distinctly creepy. Circuses come into town and disappear after a brief stay, leaving behind nothing but a memory of the magic. They are homes for misfits, bearded ladies and contortionists who might be shunned in the outside world. What better environment than a circus for a story of magic and wonder that leaves you wondering if it ever happened. Give us your best wonderful, dark, or fantastic story about the circus.’ 3000-10,000 words. PAYING

31st May Poetry, flash and short fiction, and more.

31st May Poems. PAYING

31st May Story 3000-8000 words. PAYING

31st May Poetry.

31st May Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Naked.

31st May Poems. PAYING

31st May Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of In the End. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

31st May ‘I’m building a short story anthology with 20 stories where professional authors can write with their favorite characters based in my world and setting of The Super Market. What is The Super Market? The Super Market is where all paranormal peeps can go to have a shopping experience. Whether you chose your paranormal character to be a shop owner, a celebrity chef, a consumer, a food critic, an herbal pharmacist, a health inspector, or anything – it’s your choice. The options are limitless.’ PAYING

31st May Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Fake. PAYING

31st May Six-line poems.

1st Jun ‘Colorful, lit-up stories of crime and depravity, set in the nineteen-eighties. Outsiders, whether by choice or by circumstance, engaging in anti-social or criminal behavior.  Stories that capture not only the moment in crime, but the place in time. Stories where setting and “costume” become character. If done well, this will be both in-your-face and subtle, as paradoxical as that sounds.’ ROYALTIES

1st Jun Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. PAYING

1st June ‘Within the recent explosion of creative nonfiction, a curious new sub-genre is quietly emerging. Hybrids in the truest sense, “hermit crab” essays borrow their structures from ordinary, extra-literary sources (a recipe, a police report, a pack of cards, an obituary, a questionnaire…) to use as a framework for a lyric meditation on the chosen subject. In the best examples, the borrowed structures are less contrived than inevitable, managing not only to give shape to the work but to illuminate and exemplify its subject. Essays and cross-genre work between 750 and 8,000 words welcome. No listicles, please.’ PAYING (thanks to Erika Dreifus at for that one.)

1st Jun Writing and more by girls and women on the theme of All About Emotions.

1st June ‘Much like the award-winning anthology Steampunk World, Steampunk Universe will be a multicultural anthology of steampunk stories. But this time, the anthology will focus on characters with exceptionalities.* This call for submissions is aimed particularly at marginalized writers, especially those who are identify as members of a minority, LGBTQ, or living with exceptionality. Whether or not you qualify and feel this call for submission is appropriate for your work is at your discretion.’

1st June ‘Arc Poetry Magazine is looking for poems of catastrophe and degradation for the end times. Heat death, terror, CO2 depletion, urban decay, radiation sickness, desertification, wars at home and wars abroad, natural disaster. How does poetry respond?’ PAYING

1st Jun Poetry and prose.

1st Jun Writing by queer trans men and trans masculine writers.

1st Jun Fiction up to 500 words, poetry and more suitable for Christian children on the theme of Pets with Disabilities. PAYING

1st Jun Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Paths to Healing. PAYING

1st Jun Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Memory and Place.

1st Jun ‘We are looking for literary work informed by lived experience with mental illness/mental health challenges. Specifically, work written by people who self-identify as psychiatric survivors, consumer-survivors, mental health patients, mental health advocates/allies, neuroatypical, neurodivergent, the mad, the proud, the ill, the otherly abled. Although this is the Mad Pride issue, Matrix welcomes work from those who do not identity with the label ‘mad’ or feel connected to the movement in any way.’!madcall/po1tx

1st Jun Poetry and more on the theme of Hestia. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

1st Jun ‘The Broken City is currently accepting submissions for its summer 2016 edition: Breakfast Clubbed. No, it’s not another food issue; the magazine is running a school-themed edition. We’re looking for work that involves school at any level, from kindergarten to college, but we’re most interested in submissions about high school.’ Poetry, fiction and more.

1st Jun Poetry and more on the theme of Ares and Mars. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES


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.

‘We seek to publish writing about personal experience. True stories of personal growth, lessons learned, life-changing events, and milestones. Work that is informal, exploratory, reflective, and insightful. The Chaos is accepting submissions of short personal essays, 250-2500 words, from new, emerging, and established writers.’

Poetry, flash, short fiction and more on the theme of Music. PAYING

Fiction based in northern England.

We accept submissions of all forms of visual art, poetry, short fiction, essays, creative non-fiction, music, spoken word, artisan crafts, etc.

Writing by those aged 13-19.!submission-guidelines/mnn6r

Poetry and prose PAYING

Poetry, flash fiction and more.

Seek original and well written, mystery, crime, and horror fiction.  Also seek romantic , and erotic short stories. Will purchase poetry with mystery or erotic theme. PAYING

Poetry and fiction.

Open until filled: Sinister Saints – Aftermath.  ‘I’m looking for stories that address the typical themes of YA fiction, but with distinctive dark, edgy or fantastical slants – so dark fairy tales, bizarre fiction, horror, surrealism, fantasy, and dark science-fiction are all cool here. Word count limit 5,000.’ ROYALTIES

‘The Rising Phoenix Review is a monthly online zine dedicated to publishing poetry focused on the working class and other marginalized groups. We believe in the transformative power of poetry, and our mission is to publish writing that actively engages the social issues of our time.’

Poetry and fiction retelling fairytales and myths. PAYING

Poetry and fiction.

‘Anti-Heroin Chic is not really about cool, it’s about the margin-of-error of cool.  As Janis Ian says “If we were inside there, where the light is warm and everybody is laughing and dancing, we wouldn’t be able to see it. We have to be outside in order to see it. That’s what being an artist is.” And that is what Anti-Heroin Chic is about. What we observe through the window.’ Poems, stories and more.


UK only: poetry.

Poetry, flash and short fiction.!submissions/c1s0c

SF and F of various lengths. ROYALTIES

Superhero stories. PAYING

Poetry, fiction and more.

‘Funky gritty, ghastly clunky work (including prose, poetry, micro-fiction, nonfiction essay, photography, print, painting, etc.). If you’d like us to shock you: send submissions with a cover letter requesting edits on your work. we provide creative, grammatical, syntactical, and contextual advice. for free, for you.’

‘Little has been written about the process of writing about animals—from crafting point of view to voice. Writers who hope to raise awareness face many questions and choices in their work, from how to educate without being didactic to how to develop animals as characters for an audience that still views them as ingredients. We hope to address these issues and more with a new collection of essays, by writers and for writers—but most of all, for the animals.’ PAYING

(with thanks to for this one)

Cyberpunk 2000-8000 words. PAYING

‘Eastern Structures No. 2 is slated for an Autumn 2016 publication, and submissions of dynamically correct ghazals, sijo, haiku, tanka, renga and other Japanese forms are certainly welcome for consideration.’

‘Bad Apple invites you to pluck the forbidden fruit off its twisted branch and sink your teeth in deep.  Give us the core of your heart and reveal the worm eating through the centre of your being.  Give us your strange and unwanted, your rebellious and unsettling, your dark and compelling.  We seek stories aimed at the upper YA audience (16+) and the recently coined New Adult (NA) audience.’ PAYING

Poetry, short fiction and more.

Flash and short fiction. ROYALTIES!submissions/dyg5f

One-liners, limericks, funny character sketches, and more.

SF, F and H fiction of all lengths. ROYALTIES

Speculative poetry and fiction. PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORS

Children’s fiction and nonfiction relating to the Jewish experience.


‘We seek poetry, prose, and art that inhabits the entangled spaces of dark and light, and the tension that manifests in those spaces. We want to promote difficult subject matter. There is beauty and rage in darkness, in decay, mental illness, loss, violence, death. Through the written word we explore the difficulties in life, but we also celebrate its rhythms and vibrance.’

Poetry, fiction and more.

‘We’re looking for previously unpublished short stories, comics, and non-fiction. We lean toward the speculative, but some of our favorite writers and artists tell realistic stories grounded in strange, fantastical, or science-fictional sensibilities. We read submissions on a rolling basis, and we strongly encourage work from women, people of color, and LGBTQ authors and artists.’ PAYING

Mystery, romance, detective, suspense and thriller novels. ROYALTIES

‘Through our authors and books, we aim to represent the cultural and ethnic diversity and heritage that can be found in London, with a particular interest in works related to Africa, the Caribbean, and the experiences of those peoples in the Diaspora. We also seek provocative, inspirational writing that shines a light on issues affecting ethnic minorities, women, and young people, and tackles contemporary social issues.’

Original, unpublished novels, possessing unique insights on compelling themes, for young adult, new adult, or adult audiences, in one of the following genres: science fiction, fantasy, literary, historical, mystery, or humor (Cathy’s note: this list was in bullet points, but I have an allergy to bullet points. So It’s my fault, not theirs, if it looks clunky). ROYALTIES

‘We want science fiction stories between 3,000 and 10,000 words that look at the effects of global climate change (preferably the extreme effects) on humanity and the other creatures of Earth.  We’re not looking for stories about the change, but rather the effects of the change.  Although we’d love to have a lot of stories that look at the hard science of climate change, we also want stories that look at the soft sciences.  It’s important that the stories focus on the people, rather than the science, but we still want the science to be plausible. We’ve decided that we will be accepting four, and only four, poems for this collection.’ PAYING

Poetry, fiction and more.

‘Disharmony of the Spheres will be a science fiction anthology in which the main character must be battling some type of mental illness.  While we will consider stories where the character is dealing with an illness like schizophrenia or multiple personality disorder, what we really want to see is characters that are battling an illness like depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, PTSD, etc.  This is meant to be an uplifting collection of stories, so the characters must overcome their illness to defeat whatever they’re up against.  They don’t necessarily have to overcome their illness completely, but they must show that even when suffering from a mental illness, a person can still achieve great things. We want stories that are 2,000 words or longer.’ PAYING

Crime stories. PAYING

Poetry, fiction and more.

Flash fiction.

Fantasy poetry and fiction.

Poetry and more at the intersection of religion and pop culture.


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