Comps and calls for July 2016

After December, July and August are the best months to submit. Children are on holiday and their parents are too busy to submit; people (even writers, sometimes) go on holiday and take a break then, and they won’t be submitting and entering either. If you live in a country that sees the sun (*glares at UK sky*) then there’s that to enjoy, too. So if you get the chance, submit and enter everything you can – it’s a wonderful time for it. Also, isn’t it fun just to do someting to take your mind off the maelstrom of horrifying politics?

Cathy x

Here are July 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 Jul UK only: poem on the theme of Community. NON-CASH PRIZE
6th Jul Spectator Comp No. 2956: frightfest. ‘It’s festival season — in case you hadn’t noticed. You are invited to provide extracts from the unappealing-sounding programme of a festival that is making a misguided attempt to stand out in an overcrowded marketplace. Please email entries of up to 150 words to by midday on 6 July.’ PAYING

8th Jul Children only: ‘We’d like to read poems written in response to: Cat; Sketching a Thatcher. Cat can be found in The Cat and the Cuckoo (Faber & Faber); Sketching a Thatcher in Ted Hughes’s Collected Poems (Faber & Faber).’ PAYING

11th Jul Micropoem on the theme of Science. NON-CASH PRIZE

11th Jul ‘Write a short story, of 700 words or fewer, that begins with the following line of dialogue: “You don’t have enough points, sir.” ‘ PRIZE UNKNOWN AT TIME OF WRITING

13th Jul Spectator Comp no. 2957: Lookist. ‘Keats wrote a sonnet ‘On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer’. You are invited to provide a poem of up to 16 lines entitled ‘On First Looking into [you choose]’. Email entries to by midday on 13 July.’ PAYING

15th Jul USA only: story up to 8000 words on the theme of Cities of Empowerment. PAYING

15th Jul Ethnographic poetry. PAYING

15th Jul ‘All submissions must be related directly or indirectly to HIV/AIDS, including but not limited to personal, historical, critical, international, and political perspectives on HIV/AIDS—and in styles ranging from sonnets to science fiction.’ PAYING

15th Jul Story up to 500 words including the words Pizza, Selfie and Corruption. PAYING

18th Jul 700 words reviewing a recent contemporary art exhibition. PAYING (Many thanks to for this one.)

20th Jul LGBTQ flash fiction.!contests/eza2k

29th Jul Poem or other short piece of writing. PAYING

30th Jul ‘This year the award will focus on prose. Using our Submittable portal, submit a manuscript of fiction, nonfiction, creative nonfiction, or prose poetry of about 7,000-12,000 words. The manuscript may be a collection of mixed pieces–short stories, flash fictions, prose poems, essays, or a stand-along excerpt from a longer work–but should be unified by a common theme.’ PAYING

31st Jul Poems by children 11-17. NON-CASH PRIZE

31st Jul (early bird deadline) Humorous fiction/nonfiction essay 100-500 words. PAYING

31st Jul Travel writing up to 1200 words. PAYING

31st Jul Flash fiction. PAYING

31st Jul ‘We’re welcoming poems and short stories on all aspects of caring – the joys, challenges and complex emotions that come with looking after a loved one.’ VOUCHER/OTHER

31st Jul ‘The Louise Meriwether First Book Prize is open to women and nonbinary writers of color (or those who self-identify as other than white) who are residents of the fifty (50) United States, the District of Columbia, and US territories and possessions; 18 years of age or older at time of entry; and who have not had a book published or have a book under contract at the time of submission. First time authors, submit your complete manuscript, either fiction, including novels and short story collections, or narrative memoir, of 50,000 to 80,000 words, and you could receive $5,000 and a publishing contract from the Feminist Press!’ PAYING

31st Jul Story up to 2000 words on the theme of Creation Simulator. VOUCHER/OTHER

1st Aug ‘All students, regardless of major or academic level, are eligible to participate.’ Essay on one of the provided themes. PAYING


3rd Jul Writers of colour only: poetry, fiction and more. PAYING

3rd Jul Fiction 800-2000 words on the theme of Work and Play.

4th Jul Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Broken.

4th Jul 1000 or 2000 word stories on the theme of Fear. PAYING

4th Jul ‘What does it mean to be an international faith of such wide theological diversity? How do we inter-visit and how do we disagree with integrity and compassion? What does it mean to be a peace church today and what core values do we or should we share? How do we boldly declare the values and insights of our respective branches of Quakerism without denying the legitimacy of other Friends?’ Poetry and more.

4th Jul Short alternative comedy plays.!play-time-submissions/w95gl

5th Jul ‘The first issue is based around the colour red. This can be interpreted in many different ways. We are in particular looking for writing that focuses upon: love, lust, passion, sex, anger, meat, blood, communism, capitalism and any other red object you can think of. If you are a creative writer, thinker, poet, or have any interest in writing an article, please get in contact with us.’

7th Jul ‘We are now accepting submissions of contemporary essays, stories, and creative non-fiction, as well as writing that pushes poetic forms into prose. We also welcome submissions of new digital writing genres (tweets, status updates, etc.) that tell compelling stories about black activism and the black experience in the 21st century.’

9th Jul ‘We want to bring narcissistic abuse out of the shadows with stories of experiences, healing, and renewal. Although fiction is a powerful way to connect with readers, this anthology will focus on truth told through essays, poetry, reported pieces, and creative nonfiction.’ PAYING (SUBJECT TO FUNDRAISER) (Thanks to for this one)

15th Jul Positive writing and more on the theme of Sage. CONTRIBUTOR COPY

15th Jul Poems on the theme of Prince (Cathy’s note: the musician, not royalty).

15th Jul ‘Tell us about your beach and pool memories in a poem (any reasonable length) or prose piece (300 words or fewer — this word limit also applies to prose poems).’

15th Jul Writing of all kinds on the theme of softness. PAYING

15th Jul Poems about Leicester.

15th Jul Writing on the theme of Perspective.

15th Jul ‘The theme of this issue is on the symbolic nature of paralysis. James Joyce, in his short story collection, Dubliners, wrote of paralyzation on both a personal and societal level. We’re not looking for a literal rendering of the word paralysis, rather, we’re looking for an interpretation based off of the lives of the oppressed around the world.’ Poetry, fiction and more.

15th Jul ‘In this collection, we are looking for sweet romantic tales about how couples seduce each other, how they tempt their partners, and keep the spark alive. These shorts should be suggestive without being explicit. Allude to the sex, but don’t describe it.’ (Cathy’s note: there’s also a call with the same deadline for stories about menages a trois, with a higher heat rating.) CONTRIBUTOR COPY

15th Jul ‘Outlook Springs is a literary journal from another dimension. It is devoted to your PREVIOUSLY UNPUBLISHED fiction, poetry, and non-fiction tinged with the strange.’ PAYING (With thanks for this one to

15th Jul Poetry, fiction and more.

19th Jul ‘The Grey Wolfe Storybook anthology accepts submissions of “G” rated, family-friendly short stories, poems and essays. Contributors wishing to achieve the goal of publication may submit short stories and personal essays of not more than 8,000 words; or poetry of not more than 45 lines, with a central theme or character involving children or family. Proceeds from the sale of this book will aid the American Society of Deaf Children.’

20th Jul Poetry, prose and more. PAYING (Thanks to for this one)

20th Jul Poetry of Tragedy.

20th Jul ‘ We invite your first-hand collaborative experiences, with this premise: what happens when a mentor-mentee pair go rogue, abandon their assigned roles, & make together? We are interested in process as much as product & we want to know how you reformulate an ostensibly hierarchical relationships into something that is mutualized, reciprocal, give & take—or even inside out, backwards, upside down, like Billy, & The Kid.’

22nd Jul ‘Who says October has to be gloomy? Let’s shine a little light on the dark night of All Hallows Eve by showcasing grim humor, graveyard mischief, and good old-fashioned Halloween fun. From fun and silly to creepy and quirky, what embodies the spirit of Halloween for you?’ Speculative flash fiction. PAYING

24th Jul Poetry and fiction on the theme of Hope. CONTRIBUTOR COPY

28th Jul Writing on the theme of Derail.

29th Jul ‘We look for true stories of survival and recovery from illness, addiction, tragedy or other challenges that will inspire and empower audiences. In addition to offering traditional compensation models, we invite our collaborators to identify a nonprofit organization that will benefit from a portion of the proceeds of their work. Together, we can make a difference in local communities and in the world at large.’ UNKNOWN COMPENSATION

29th Jul Flash and short fiction on the theme of Movement.

30th Jul Fairytale-inspired poems and stories on the theme of fairy godmothers. PAYING

30th Jul Intersectionalist/feminist protest poetry on the theme of Guns.

31st Jul Poetry and flash on the theme of Emergence. CONTRIBUTOR COPY

31st Jul ‘We are looking for true, non-fiction stories of no more than 1,200 words from current college students up to age 24. You can be enrolled in two-year, four-year, or technical college—any post high school educational institution.’ Poems too.

31st Jul ‘Take us deep into the forest and show us what we’ll find within. Whether it’s leafy branches hiding elfin lords or a steampunk graveyard covered in mechanical vines, we want to know what’s hidden inside the forest and what dragons (or rogue robot monsters) our heroes will have to slay to make their way through. Paint us a vivid world that makes us want to explore the realm you create. Give us new heroes to love and villains we love to hate.’ 2000-8000 words. PAYING

31st Jul Ocean-themed horror 5000-12,000 words. PAYING

31st Jul ‘Sweet Romance with a fall/harvest theme. Autumn is the time for festivals, county fairs and back to school, and one of our favorite times of the year here at Roane Publishing. Bring us your sweet, fall themed romance stories.’

31st Jul ‘Lovecraftiana is a quarterly publication from Rogue Planet Press, with issues coming out April 30th, July 31st, October 31st, and January 31st, featuring stories, articles, poetry or artwork on Cthulhu Mythos / Lovecraftian themes.’

31st Jul Poetry, fiction and more.

31st Jul SF story. PAYING

31st Jul ‘For our fourth issue, Deep Black Sea, we want short stories, flash, and poetry hauled from the brine of oceans both real and fantastic.’

31st Jul Poetry and nonfiction.

31st Jul Poems on the theme of Bones and Breath. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

31st Jul Novellas 18,000-35,000 words. PAYING

31st Jul Poetry, fiction and more (Cathy’s note: those not in the USA may submit via email).

31st Jul ‘FunDead Publications is currently seeking submissions for an upcoming anthology of chilling Christmas tales. Title TBA. We are looking for stories in the vein of Dickens, or ‘Between the Lights’ by E.F. Benson, or ‘The Kit-Bag’ by Algernon Blackwood. Ghosts and legends are encouraged, historical fiction is preferable for this collection.’ 1000-6000 words. PAYING

31st Jul Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Food. PAYING

31st Jul Poetry and creative nonfiction on the theme of Forgiveness. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

31st Jul UK and Ireland only: Poetry. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

31st Jul ‘ Many of the Christmas stories we hold dear in Western culture focus around male figures – Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas, the Krampus, Rudolph and Frosty. But if you look to the past, female figures were central to family and hearth celebrations occurring on or around the Winter Solstice. Do some research and tell us your own unique story about the feminine spirit in the Yuletide.’ 3000-10,000 words. PAYING

31st Jul ‘We’re looking for stories inspired by recognizable urban legends, but with a romantic twist. The romance needs to be key to the story so we’re not looking for anything too darkly horrific, and the stories must have a happily ever after (HEA) or happy for now (HFN) ending—no killing off the love interests.’ 3000-15,000 words. PAYING

1st Aug Writing and more by girls and women on the theme of What’s Your Future?

1st Aug Fiction 300-5000 words, starting with the line: Mrs. Morrison was too busy to die. PAYING

1st Aug ‘If your rural or western work is drownin’ in its own sweat, it’d be perfect for the Fall 2016 Issue of Cowboy Jamboree, “With Alacrity!” We want stories, fiction or non, that get at it with a sense of urgency for this issue. Storm comin’? Fence down? Calf dyin’? Gun drawn? Whatever sense of urgency your rural or western story carries, we’d be interested in takin’ a poke at it for our Fall issue. As always, we prefer writing with some rough edges and guts. Swearin’ and killin’ don’t offend us. We nominate for Pushcart and Best of the Net.’–submit.html

1st Aug ‘Bring us your best prison stories. Any genre. Any point of view. The story can be from the perspective of an inmate. It can be from the POV of a guard. It can be from the viewpoint of a family member visiting a lifer. It can be about redemption, or a spiral down into oblivion. It can be about friendship, or prison gangs and rivalries. It can be about a riot. It can be about an ex-con, who’s gotten out and is struggling to reintegrate into an unforgiving society. As long as it holds true to the main theme of prison, it fits.’ PAYING

1st Aug ‘We’re looking for stories that are highly romantic, featuring a Scottish man. Stories may be historical or time travel. Stories should be between 10,000-20,000 and meet the requirements for our sweet, PINK satin romance line.’ ROYALTIES

1st Aug Fiction up to 500 words, poetry and more suitable for Christian children on the theme of Hallowe’en Pumpkins. PAYING

1st Aug Writing and more by women. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

1st Aug 3-5 poems.

1st Aug Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Corporeal. PAYING (Thanks for this one to

1st Aug Poetry and prose on the theme of The Kindness of Strangers. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

1st Aug ‘We are seeking stories, essays, and poems that speak to our shared humanity through political engagement; works that bear witness, advocate, and foster authentic dialogue around current issues and events.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

1st Aug ‘Contributors wishing to achieve the goal of publication may submit short stories and anecdotal essays of not more than 8,000 words; or poetry of not more than 45 lines. This is a special edition focusing on the paranormal. Pieces may include characters, scenes and settings introducing readers to a collection of scary, odd, ethereal, transcendent, and unearthly accounts.’

1st Aug Flash, short fiction and more on the theme of Fairy Tales, Mythology and Gods & Monsters. PAYING

1st Aug Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Disability, Mental Health and Chronic Illness.

1st Aug Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Animals Among Us.

1st Aug ‘Burrow Press Review is looking for the four scariest short stories we can find to be published every Tuesday in the month of October, 2016. We are seeking dark fiction that shatters the illusions of safety to which we cling. Send us work that bursts through the comfortable boundary of the page and leaves the reader disarmed, destabilized, and trembling with dread.’ PAYING

1st Aug Writing on the theme of Science or Music or Both.


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, including reprints. PAYING

Short fiction, poetry and more.

Romance MSS of all kinds. ROYALTIES

Open until filled: ‘I am looking for poems that are interesting and creative, that reflect who God is. That isn’t to say that they shouldn’t be in a certain style or follow a form, more that they really express our worship in fresh ways rather than simply saying for instance that God is Holy, or Jesus is Love. I think poetry is best when it delves into these ideas and finds new language to describe something like holiness for example in fresh way rather than relying on clichés.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY

‘We are currently looking for: things that are dark, sexy, strange, unexpected and beautiful. We love essays and photographs, audio recordings and diary entries. We also like lists, round-ups and reviews right now.’

‘Send in the body of an email up to 3 poems of poison and sweetness to ‘

Poetry, fiction and more. PAYING

The Woven Tale Press is a monthly online literary and fine arts magazine. The Press mission is to grow traffic to noteworthy artists and writers on the Web; we link contributors works directly back to their websites or blogs. The Press welcomes submissions of poetry, fiction, memoir, flash fiction and the experimental. We also consider literary works accompanied by original art images. We pride ourselves on being eclectic. Our only prerequisite is that you must have a blog or website url. For submission guidelines visit’ (Cathy’s note: you need a blog or website to submit here.)

Poetry, fiction and more.

Speculative, quiet poetry, flash and short fiction.!submit/cee5

Open until filled (or 31st Aug): speculative fiction and poetry on the theme of Automobilia. PAYING!spekulative-stories/c1cg0

‘We’re looking for edgy, raw, unconventional, difficult, speculative fiction stories. You can pluck our heartstrings, but make it a tune we’ve never heard before.’ PAYING

Poetry, fiction and more.

Open until filled (or 30th Nov): ‘The theme of Beyond the Hedge Volume 2 is “Chimeras and Phantasms.” What is the difference between dream and delusion, and how does reality differ from either of those? Are our flights of imagination wondrous or sinister? Show us visions of the past that rock the present. Show us visions of the future that reshape our perception of the modern world. Show us that “reality” itself is suspect. Show us your imagination’s strangest chimeras and most mesmerizing phantasms.’

‘Little Tiger Press publishes picture books, Stripes publishes young fiction and Caterpillar Books publishes novelty and activity titles.’

Poetry. PAYING

‘At Jazz Cigarette, we don’t have a type, but traditional verse will have to be pretty good to land here. Send us your sestinas, though. There aren’t enough sestinas out there. Prose poems and hybrid work will also be considered. In the month of August, we read for The Electric Zoetrope Poetry Prize, and award a winner on October 1st.’

‘Fissure is dedicated to furthering the voices of LGBTQ+ individuals and allies in literature and art, specifically the voices of young and queer writers and artists.’

Open until filled: ‘We are currently seeking stories for a new anthology. Stories must fall into the category of science fiction (hard or soft), and must feature a transgender male protagonist. Given the nature of speculative fiction, however, we are willing to consider stories that feature non-binary, intersex or genderfluid characters, but for this project, any non-binary character should either identify strongly as male, or the story should deal with themes of what it means to be “masculine” or a “man” in terms of the world setting in which the story takes place.’ PAYING

‘As an online journal geared specifically towards exploring the city, we accept poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction related to this subject. Photography and art relating to the city and the city experience is also welcome. You can explore any themes or issues in your work, as long as they are related to a city or cities in some way.’

‘Send us your time travelling tanka, scientific sonnet, robotic rondel, high-tech haiku, alien acrostics and futuristic free verse.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY

‘Whether it’s a journey through our priceless existence, a struggle to achieve personal contentment, a heart-wrenching brush with defeat, an intelligent observation on humanity, a deep desire for your voice to be heard, stirring inspiration, or just pure entertainment, we want it and will strive to share it.’ Poetry, flash, short fiction and more. SOME CONTRIBUTORS GET CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES


‘Xoum publishes non-fiction and fiction for both adults and children. Our specialty areas include true crime, travel, history, popular science, health & wellbeing; select literary fiction, crime fiction, fantasy and sf; and young adult and children’s narrative fiction.’

‘Alebrijes is open to submissions of fiction, poetry, lyrical essays, and visual art. We incorporate all literary forms, but are particularly drawn to experimental pieces that play with form and structure, that exhibit surreal themes while also engaging in the dense and complex issues that arise in (post)modern society. Send us only your best, give us pieces that carry the weight of a remembered dream.’

‘FunDead Publications is currently accepting submissions for a forthcoming poetry anthology, Death Poetic. The theme is, obviously, death! All submissions must be on the subject of death or dying. We are looking for well-written, lyrical pieces. While we welcome all types of poems, we do specifically like rhyming poems for this particular anthology, think The Highwayman or Annabel Lee. We are going for a theme, classical in nature that is more focused in the beauty of the end of life.’ PAYING

Family-friendly Hallowe’en poems (Cathy’s note: scroll down, as there are lots of projects on this page). PAYING

Flash and short fiction.




  1. Hi Cathy,
    Thanks again for all these wonderful opportunities. A word of warning, however, about The Great British Write-Off: It may be true that the first three winners receive a cash prize but everybody else who receives a leter congratulating them on having their poem accepted for the anthology volume has to pay for that volume – not even one free copy, so it’s essentially a vanity publishing firm tricked out with three prizes. I refused to have my ‘winning’ poem published in a book I had to pay for! It’s a bit heartbreaking to realise that, yes, you’ve been accepted, but no, you don’t get paid, and no, not even one complimentary copy. It also makes you wonder about the quality of work accepted. I wouldn’t advertise this one. Otherwise, keep up the wonderful work!

  2. Thanks, Waldo. Thanks for the warning! I got that letter too after the last one. Essentially I ignore the letter and just go for the prize. It sounds rather like those United Press comps, doesn’t it? I might post them but with a warning – the anthologies include practically everyone and aren’t impressive, but the prize money is worth having and it’s free to enter. I think I’ll post a caveat with these listings in future. Thanks again for your message.

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