Comps and calls for September 2016

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Hello all! It’s September, and probably time to do something other than complain that we didn’t get any Summer at all here in the UK (shakes fist at sky). Submitting and entering is probably more productive! Many thanks, as ever, to those who email me to tell me about their successes from my links. Many thanks to our sponsor this month,, a website all about technology and how it can aid writers and editors.

Good luck!

Cathy x

Here are September 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.


Weekly: US only: Fiction. PAYING

2nd Sep ‘For this contest, we challenge you to write a creative, compelling, well-crafted story between 1,000 and 5,000 words long in which the concept of “darkness” plays an important role. You may interpret “darkness” any way you want–literally, metaphorically, or any other way. Darkness doesn’t have to have a value judgment attached to it, and it doesn’t have to be symbolic in any way, although it can.’ PAYING

2nd Sep Women only: sample of writing for residency at Edith Wharton’s house. PAYING (thanks to for this one)

6th Sep Scary MSS PAYING

8th Sep Spectator Competition No. 2965: selfie ‘Edna St Vincent Millay (among others) wrote a poem about a sonnet written in sonnet form (‘I will put Chaos into fourteen lines’). You are invited to write a poem about a verse form, written in that form (sorry, but a maximum of 16 lines please). Please email (wherever possible) entries to by midday on 8 September.’ PAYING

12th Sep US only: ‘Each award is tailored to a particular literary form. The Merrill Award recognizes a poet, while fiction writers may apply for either the Johnson Award (for a short story) or the Russo Award (for a novel-in-progress). Winners receive full tuition support for our January Seminar and Workshop Program, round-trip airfare, lodging, a $500 honorarium, and the opportunity to appear on stage during the Seminar. Runners-up for each award will also be offered financial assistance packages. Poets and writers living in the United States who have not yet published a book with a major publisher are eligible to apply.’ PAYING (with thanks for this one to Hope Clark’s Funds for Writers:

12th Sep Up to three poems. PAYING (with thanks for this one to

14th Sep Gothic short story up to 2000 words. NON-CASH PRIZE

15th Sep A selection of your flash fiction. ‘All writers previously unpublished in SmokeLong Quarterly and who do not have a published chapbook or book-length work in any genre (or are not under contract for such) are eligible to apply.’ PAYING

15th Sep Flash fic up to 500 words on the theme It Came in the Mail. PAYING

15th Sep Short poetry, flash fiction and more. PAYING

16th Sep UK only: Story up to 1000 words on the theme of Jungle, Animals and/or India. NON-CASH PRIZE

17th Sep Story up to 700 words on the theme of Past Loves. PAYING (with thanks to

19th Sep US only: essay on the theme of Life Lessons. PAYING (with thanks to

21st Sep Sonnet. PAYING

26th Sep Poetry, drama, fiction and more incorporating disability as a theme or having a major character with a disability. PAYING

29th Sep ‘The prize, worth £30,000 to the winner, is an international award, founded in 2010, that is open to any story of up to 6,000 words written in English. Stories need to have been either previously unpublished or only published after 31 December 2015. Five authors shortlisted for the award will each receive £1,000. The prize is administered by the Society of Authors. To be eligible, the author must simply have a record of prior publication in creative writing in the United Kingdom or Ireland.’ PAYING

30th Sep ‘We are seeking aspiring or established travel writers to send us interesting, original writing relating to the competition theme: Off the Beaten Track. Your article may be about a fascinating, relatively unknown place near to where you live or that you came across by chance when travelling around, or it may be a totally fictional place. It’s entirely up to you.’ Up to 750 words. PAYING

30th Sep Africa only: writers and other artists can apply for six-week residencies. NON-CASH PRIZE

30th Sep Children aged 5-12 only: drawings and stories. NON-CASH PRIZE

30th Sep Fiction up to 2000 words on the theme of Anyone but Me. VOUCHER/OTHER

30/9 UK only: say why you’d like to win a trip to LA to do the Colour Run, with spending money and various other nice things. PAYING

30th Sep Story up to 400 words including characters from more than one generation. PAYING

30th Sep ‘Three times a year, Jerry Jazz Musician awards a writer who submits, in our opinion, the best original, previously unpublished work of short fiction. The Jerry Jazz Musician reader has interests in music, social history, literature, politics, art, film and theater, particularly that of the counter-culture of mid-twentieth century America.’ PAYING

30th Sep Story/essay up to 2000 words on the theme of Connecting Politics with People. PAYING

1st Oct Family-friendly 30-minute play by a member of the British East Asian, South Asian and South-East Asian communities. PAYING!upcoming/c1z71 (thanks to for this one)

1st Oct Poetry and stories on the theme of Apologies. PAYING


Sept/Oct (Exact deadline not clear): Writing by parents of colour on the theme of Loved Ones.

2nd Sep ‘Supernatural stories set in the 1920s. Not horror stories, necessarily, but stories that use the 1920s and its spook culture (and spook-busting culture) in an engaging way. Bring us supernatural adventures, supernatural mysteries, supernatural fantasy, or supernatural pulp.’ 1000-16000 words PROFIT/REVENUE SHARING MODEL

2th Sep Women only: ‘Secret fantasy’.Stories up to 2,200 words and poems up to 40 lines on the theme of erotic passion. Requited or unrequited, chaste or salacious, enacted or just dreamed about, take us on a walk to the wild side of your romantic imagination.’ PAYING

3rd Sep Poetry and flash on the theme of Hope. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

4th Sep Story 800-2000 words on the theme of Flesh and Bone.

5th Sep Submissions wanted for a new anthology of short stories based on the theme of Nothing. ‘Bleak landscapes, empty hearts, insignificant lives, dystopian futures, extinction, limbo, uncertainty, death. A beautiful void or a horrific state of being. The simple complexity of nothingness.’ 3000-7000 words. CONTRIBUTOR COPY

5th Sep Poetry, flash and short fiction on the theme of Fusion.

5th Sep Fiction 1500-2500 words on the theme of Change.

6th Sep Peace poems.

8th Sep Essays by working class people on the working class.

9th Sep GLBT SF stories 3000-15,000 words. PAYING

10th Sep Writing by women.

10th Sep Poetry, flash, short fiction and more on the theme of Trespassers Beware. CONTRIBUTOR COPY

15th Sep ‘Inside The Bell Jar is a quarterly journal accepting poetry, short stories and flash fiction of absolutely any genre. The only real requirement we have is that your piece is related to mental illness in some way; through a character, the general theme, something about the setting – you decide.’ PAYING

15th Sep ‘Darkhouse Books is looking for light-hearted, satirical stories envisioning life under President Trump. Length: 2500 to 5000 (exceptions will be considered) Graphic stories will be considered, as well as paranormal.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY+ ROYALTIES

15th Sep Positive writing and more on the theme of Beloved. CONTRIBUTOR COPY

15th Sep ‘The Fifth Estate, founded in 1965, is an anarchist, anti-capitalist, and anti-authoritarian, anti-profit project published cooperatively by a volunteer collective of friends and comrades. We are committed to non-dogmatic, action-oriented writing and activity to bring about a new world.’

15th Sep ‘We invite submissions that address the question of precarious work, in the humanities as well as social sciences. Scholarly articles, fictional pieces, poetry and artwork should engage with gendering, broadly construed. Academic and fictional pieces that treat contemporary questions concerning women, gender, sexuality, feminism, LGBTQ issues and/or disability studies are especially welcome.’

15th Sep Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Nostalgia. PAYING

15th Sep ‘Behind the Mask (working title) is our next themed anthology and it’s all about superheroes! But not how they saved the world this time. We’re more interested in the ordinary day-to-day challenges facing these extraordinary individuals: growing up, growing old, relationships, career struggles, parenting. How they cope with that age-old desire to fit in when, let’s face it, they don’t.’ 3000-6000 words. PAYING

15th Sep ‘Have you ever put a quarter in the parking meter for a stranger? Has someone performed a random act of kindness for you? We love hearing about random acts of kindness and we want to read your best stories about ones that have occurred to you or to someone close to you.’ PAYING

15th Sep Poems on the theme of Bars.

15th Sep Poems and stories on the theme of Fast Food.

15th Sep 50-word fiction on the theme of Crossroads. CONTRIBUTOR COPY

15th Sep Poems inspired by the life and work of Bob Dylan.

15th Sep Speculative poetry on the theme of Ghosts. PAYING

15th Sep Narratives up to 3500 words on the theme of Firsts.

15th Sep Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Interference. CONTRIBUTOR COPY

15th Sep Story up to 8000 words on the theme of Enter the Aftermath. PAYING

15th Sep Fiction up to 3500 words on the theme of Myths, Monsters, Legends and Fairy Tales. PAYING

15th Sep Travel fiction, poetry and more on the theme of either Treasures or Seen. SOME CONTRIBUTORS GET CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

15th Sep Poetry flash and short fiction on the theme of Holidays (Cathy’s note – although this is an NZ mag, they appear to be using the word ‘holidays’ in the American sense, i.e. Christmas, Hallowe’en etc, rather than rests from work and trips away). PAYING

15th Sep ‘We publish short and flash fiction, poetry, word art, and artwork that can be considered “strange and beautiful.” That’s open to interpretation. Literary sci-fi and fantasy, dystopia, utopia, weird tales, bizarro, or just literary stories that are kind of quirky and/or adorable.’

15th Sep ‘Six years have passed since the publication of Lambda Literary Award finalist Dear John, I Love Jane: Women Write about Leaving Men for Women, a groundbreaking exploration of sexual fluidity through intimate, firsthand stories. This anthology remains a crucial resource for women who find themselves deliciously (and distressingly) floundering in the knowledge that although they have always identified as straight, they are now madly in love with another woman. It’s time to update, extend, broaden, and strengthen the conversation.’ PAYING

15th Sep Longform poetry, fiction and more. PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORS

15th Sep ‘d/Deaf and Disabled BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) compose the silent majority of people harmed by police, but mainstream movements for justice have failed to include us. The Deaf Poets Society wants to change that. Send us your state and police violence related poems, art, and nonfiction pieces for publication in Issue 2.5: Nothing About Us Without Us.’ PAYING

15th Sep Horror poetry, flash and short fiction.

15th Sep Poetry and more. PAYING

16th Sep Poetry on the theme of Marine Life.

22nd Sep ‘NILVX (nil-lux) is a multimedia journal providing a platform for writers, philosophers, artists, and photographers inspired by magic and the occult. Whether you are drawn to the symbols and mysteries of the occult or actively part of the magical community, we welcome creatives from all diverse backgrounds and rich traditions.’ Poetry, fiction and much more on the theme of Womb, Egg, Phallus and Seed.

23rd Sep Flash fiction on the theme of Christmas in Crisis. PAYING

25th Sep Poetry, fiction and more. PAYING

30th Sep We ask for prose (inc. nonfiction works) of no longer than 1500 words or 5 poems (prose poems) or no more than 30 lines (300 words) each.

30th Sep Poems.

30th Sep Poetry and flash on the theme of Reflections. CONTRIBUTOR COPY

30th Sep Fairytale-inspired poems and stories on the theme of Ghosts. PAYING

30th Sep ‘The Patchwork Raven is looking for submissions for a book of short bedtime stories for children between roughly 3-9 years old. Stories should be between 500 and 1500 words. In particular, we are looking to create a book of diverse protagonists – stories from and about people all over the world from all kinds of cultures and sub-cultures. Don’t get too hung up on “message”, though – we want strong tales that will be gripping to kids, we just also want multiple kinds of voices in the book.’ PAYING!submissions/dliyq

30th Sep Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Serendipity by lesbian POC.

30th Sep ‘Write To Meow is a bi-annual, anthology. The goal of this collection is to bring awareness to the plight of the thousands of cats that are currently suffering in shelters and needlessly walked into the gas chamber. 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 cats.’

30th Sep ‘We’re looking for stories about moms of all ages, from young mothers to great-grandmothers, and everything in between. Let your mom or grandmother or stepmother or the mother of your children know that her hard work has been recognized and that without her, the kids wouldn’t be where they are today.’ Poems and stories. PAYING

30th Sep Stories up to 10,000 words on the theme of Uncommon Minds. ROYALTIES

30th Sep Poetry on the theme of Toxic Masculinity.

30th Sep SF and F stories 1000-10,000 words on the theme of Gun Control. PAYING

30th Sep Poetry, fiction and more on the themes of either Rehab or True Crime. Also unthemed. PAYING

1st Oct Fiction up to 500 words, poetry and more suitable for Christian children on the theme of Seeing Eyeglasses. PAYING

1st Oct ‘Evocative language and strong narrative delight us! You do not have to be a sufferer of or write explicitly about mental illness but your work must deal with the theme somehow.’

1st Oct Story ending with the provided sentence. PAYING

1st Oct Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Witness (Cathy’s note: there are loads of categories with submission fees, but there is a free option). 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.

Many genre fiction anthologies. ROYALTIES

Articles and poems.

Fiction novels, novellas and short story collections with a central hook. ROYALTIES

Parodies of women’s magazine articles.

Poetry, fiction and more. (Cathy’s note: if your piece isn’t published within 60 days, consider it rejected.) PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORS

Novels and graphic novels.!submissions/c1t44

‘Dawn’s “nature awareness” titles—almost always picture books—are intended to encourage an appreciation for nature and a respectful participation in it. We want to inspire children as well as educate them.’ (Many thanks for this one to Hope Clark’s

Speculative fiction MSS. ROYALTIES

SF stories. PAYING

Stories 500-2500 words.

Poetry, fiction and art.

Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of What We Wear, for this ‘zine that is a place of healing for those who have survived (or are concerned about) sexual violence).!submit/c1dav

‘We are looking for your poems that don’t see straight. That others aren’t willing to love enough. We want poems that bounce, poems that are flat, poems that pretend to be other things.’

Open until filled: ‘For our inaugural issue, please submit only work inspired by, influenced by or even about RAYMOND. That means Carver, Chandler, Romano, only. If there is another Raymond of which we aren’t thinking of , tell us in your submission. Do not submit anything not-inspired by/not-influenced by/not-about RAYMOND. You will be swiftly and cursorily rejected. Future issues, such as Queen (Latifah, Elizabeth), will be similarly focused.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

Fiction over 3000 words. PAYING

‘We are looking for stories/personal essays about your relationship to your body between 500-1000 words. Whether that be a story about the shape and size of your body, an illness that has claimed your body, an act of violence committed to your body, or the greatest love your body has ever known. We are looking for stories of sexuality and identity. Who are you without your body? Does the shape of the vessel determine its contents? We are looking for stories of love and lust, or waiting and weight-ing. Who has loved your body? Have you?’

‘Day One is looking for: Original short fiction (up to 20,000 words) from debut and emerging writers who have never before published a full-length novel or story collection. Poetry from emerging poets.’ PAYING

Poetry, fiction and more. There’s also a special submission process for work by teens.

Poetry, fiction and more.

Until filled: ‘Unnerving Magazine accepts short story submissions of horror, dark science fiction (light), dark fantasy and dark literary. Generally leaning strongly toward horror over other genres.’ PAYING

MSS of various kinds. ADVANCE + ROYALTIES

Poetry and prose on the theme of Tolerance.

Romance and erotica over 60,000 words. ROYALTIES






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