Comps and calls for May 2017

Hello! I hope you’re having a wonderful Spring. At last it’s getting warmer here, and it’s very tempting to go outside and watch the cats bounce around the flowers – but there’s submitting and entering to do first…

This is one of the biggest editions of Comps and Calls so far. There’s a lot to go at, whatever you write. Make the most of it – like the Spring.

My thanks to BlankPage for sponsoring this month’s update. BlankPage is a motivational writing service, helping people finish their stories. Give it a try!

Cathy x

Here are May 2017’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.

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.


3rd May Spectator Competition No. 2997: global mourning ‘You are invited to submit an obituary for planet Earth. Please email entries of up to 150 words to by midday on 3 May.’ PAYING

4th May ‘We want to see your most original, funny and feel good dog story for your chance to win £1,000 and tickets to see the movie. Has your dog got itself into a really odd situation, do they perform a good trick or got you into an embarrassing fix? Tell us about it, in no more than 300 characters on the form below.’ PAYING

4th May ‘Each year, a new theme is created and this year’s theme is ‘The Future’. Children aged 4 – 14 are transported to the year 3017 where a lot of things have changed. They will need to consider the new buildings that have been constructed, new technology that has been invented and the fancy new transport that everyone whizzes around on. We’re looking for the best story of 500 words or fewer which is set one thousand years in the future.’ NON-CASH PRIZE

5th May Poem on the theme of New Beginnings. VOUCHER/OTHER

5th May UK and ROI only: The first 5000 words of your crime novel, plus a synopsis of the rest. PAYING

5th May ‘This year, young people aged 7-25, from anywhere in the world, are invited to take part in Love the Words, an online competition in celebration of International Dylan Thomas Day. Simply download the opening paragraphs from Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood below, cut up the words, use them to create your own poem, take a photo, and share it with the world on Twitter. Use the hashtags #LovetheWords and #DylanDay so everyone can see your poem! And use the same hashtags to see everyone else’s, too.’

7th May ‘All we’re asking for is an original piece of comedy that deals with one or more of the themes from Anita and Me in no more than 500 words. It’s that simple! We’re open to submissions from people of all abilities… professional, wannabe and the family comedian.’ PAYING

10th May Spectator Competition No. 2998: lost in translation. ‘You are invited to submit a set of instructions for an everyday device that have been badly translated into English. Please email up to 150 words to by midday on 10 May.’ PAYING

12th May ‘We want to know who has put a smile on your face recently through a kind gesture or a compliment or by simply making you feel welcomed!’ Up to 300 characters. NON-CASH PRIZE (thanks to for this one)

12th May ‘Just tell us in 50 words or less why you think chocolate is good for you!?’ NON-CASH PRIZE

14th May ‘The competition aims to find original stories around the theme of mothers and daughters or other inter-generational relationships between women. Stories should be a maximum of 1,500 words long.’ VOUCHER/OTHER

15th May ‘Professionals and freelancers are encouraged to write articles that describe their experience living, moving, and working abroad. Often your experience is extended and transformed by activities in the host country, so living, working, studying, and traveling abroad are often inextricable — and we are interested in exploring all such organic interconnections.’ PAYING

15th May ‘For your chance to be noticed, simply write 500 words on an inspirational travel experience. Keep your piece focused, capture the essence of the destination and ensure your writing has National Geographic Traveller (UK)’s defining features: immersive travel and authentic storytelling.’ NON-CASH PRIZE (thanks to for this one)

15th May Pakistan only: ‘We seek work that is original, thought-provoking, well-written, and well-articulated with a voice that can speak to an international readership and characters we can empathise with and care about. Entries must be no longer than 5,000 words.’ PAYING

25th May Win a coaching session for fiction writing (Cathy’s note: technically this isn’t a writing comp, as you just have to send an email. As it’s such a useful prize for writers and free and easy to enter, however, I’ve included it. If you enter, I expect that you’ll receive some marketing from them afterwards). NON-CASH PRIZE

25th May Under 16s only: story written to the guidelines provided. NON-CASH PRIZE (thanks to for this)

26th May ‘Silent Pool Distillers wants you to explain what ‘intricately realised’ means to you. You can express your answer with images or audio, references to other skilfully crafted products or brands, or simply with a description or explanation. The response that best embodies Silent Pool Distillers’ lovingly hand-crafted philosophy, as decided by the Directors, will be selected as the winner.’ NON-CASH PRIZE

27th May ‘Sapiens Plurum is seeking writers who can plot amazing outcomes. Our Earth Day Short Fiction Contest this year challenges authors to dream big enough dreams. Tell us of a future: In your imagination, can we evolve humanity to a better place? Or will we, like Icarus, end up too close to the Sun?’ 1500-3000 words. PAYING (thanks to for this one)

31st May ‘We don’t care about your gender, age, race or nationality. Our only requirement is that you should be a current high school/college/university student. Only in this case, will we check your essay. The length of the essay should be between 500-700 words. Answer the following question in your persuasive essay: Will virtual reality classes replace traditional education?’ PAYING

31st May Travel writing up to 1000 words (Cathy’s note: this comp stays open after the date I’ve given here, but there’ll be a fee to pay then. Enter now!). PAYING

31st May US only: ‘Entries must be original works of fiction of no more than 5,000 words that illuminate the role of the law and/or lawyers in modern society.’ PAYING (thanks to for this one)

31st May Full-length play. PAYING

31st May ‘Southern Fried Karma seeks unpublished fiction for its 2017 Novel Contest. We focus on cultivating the artistic voices of the new millennium with a Southern accent. The successful manuscript will go beyond stereotypical depictions and illuminate the multiplicity of the Southern experience; past, present, or future; the good, the bad, and especially the unexpected.’ (Cathy’s note: scroll past the entry form to find guidelines. I think that they mean the Southern States of America when they say ‘Southern’.) PAYING (thanks to for this one)

31st May Story by a writer aged 13-19. PAYING

1st Jun Sonnet (Cathy’s note: this comp is free for those aged 17-and-under, but there’s a fee for adults). PAYING

1st Jun ‘Two samples of your playwriting, no more than 10 pages each.’ PAYING (thanks to for this one)


2nd May ‘Since the beginning of time, everything that has promised to liberate women has also been accused of corrupting them. Think suffrage, trousers, the pill, the internet, feminism, learning to drive, owning a house, having a bank account, working… Or, more recently, alcohol consumption and selfie culture. I’m looking for fresh and sexy takes on these issues, along with anything else that women have been criticised for doing.’ 2500-4000 words.

5th May ‘Bright Wall/Dark Room is currently accepting unsolicited submissions for its monthly magazine. Essays, criticism, poetry, reportage, interviews, and short humor pieces will all be evaluated and considered. The theme for our June issue is THE HERO’S JOURNEY. We’re looking for writing on films or television shows that deal with this structure in some way—the Hero’s Journey, or the monomyth, as defined by Joseph Campbell and further popularized by Christopher Vogler.’ PAYING

5th May ‘Abridged in 0-1979 explores those moments, big and small when our world shattered and changed and our attempts to make sense of it all. When there’s nothing here for me and you…’ Poetry.

5th May Afrocentric steampunk, 1000-7500 words. PAYING

5th May ‘We hope that we will once again receive art, writing (creative or factual, poetry or prose), photography and creative responses of all kinds to the story of King Maine.’

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

5th May Poetry or fiction: retellings of Arthurian Legends. PAYING

5th May ‘In our Spring 2017 issue, we are looking for pieces that tell the story of a CLASH: anything from a simple dispute between friends to a deep fissure within society or a difficult internal struggle. Tell us about any time you’ve experienced things coming together in discordant, violent, or unexpected ways.’

5th May Sketches for the series ‘Class Dismissed’.

7th May Fiction 800-2000 words on the theme of Questions and Answers.

7th May Poetry on the theme of Land (Cathy’s note: only Australian contributors are paid). PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORS

7th May 10-20 minute play.

8th May Poetry andmore on the theme of The Art of Dying and the Afterlife.

8th May Plays up to ten minutes on the theme of Revolution.

10th May ‘The Midsummer issue of Blink Ink invites you to take a walk in The Enchanted Forest. We are seeking stories of about 50 words to do with encounters with the sublime and the numinous. A woodland setting and perhaps some wildlife would be lovely but are not strictly required.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

10th May ‘We’re looking for reprints of uncanny or dreamlike realist fiction, literary speculative fiction, and magical realism. Our perfect submission defies categorization—pieces that could be “too speculative” for canlit or “not speculative enough” for spec magazines (although we’re open to stories on both these sides as well).’ Fiction, poetry and more. PAYING

14th May Novel of at least 70,000 words.

15th May ‘We aim to stake out a distinctive space for innovative, intelligent, and moving fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, film writing, and cross-genre work. In the spirit of poet Dean Young’s dictum that poets should be “making birds, not birdcages,” we are particularly taken with writing that is simultaneously graceful and reckless.’ PAYING (thanks to for this)

15th May “Nostalgia”–let’s have some fun with this one! We are looking for fiction, poetry, personal essays, ANY format about a time, place or thing(s) you feel nostalgic about…won’t someone write me a poem about those great urban legends of our youth? We can’t wait to hear about all those things you remember fondly!’

15th May Fiction 4500-17500 words on the theme of Paranormal Lovers. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

15th May ‘Women over 60 only: The Editors choose a different Short Takes topic for every issue. Short Takes are usually short pieces, fiction or non-fiction (250-500 words), but can also be topical poetry, sometimes even drawings or photography. We’re especially interested in hearing about your experiences, but you can include your thoughts, dreams, ideas and opinions. Humor and irony are always appreciated! Topic: Fruit.’

15th May ‘In times of seismic change, the stories that matter are the ones that enrich, inspire and support us… or simply give us the strength to carry on. We’re looking for stories of survival in difficult times, when being true to yourself can be the most dangerous choice you make. Stories of protest – subtle or overt. We want stories that have the courage and will to change the lives and worlds of their characters… and our own. Send us unheard voices in unexpected places — tales that transform, and truths that define.’ Up to 6000 words. PAYING

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

15th May ‘The Perch seeks well-crafted, unpublished work that is related to mental health as encompassing physical, emotional and spiritual aspects. We are interested in individual health in social and cultural contexts. We invite many voices, including those with a broad, artistic interest in mental health. For Issue 4, we particularly welcome submissions from voices around the world.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

15th May Writing on the theme of The Myth of Revolt.

15th May ‘This anthology aims to feature the strange and wonderful intersection between work by writers and artists of hybrid identities and the hybrid work they produce. We are especially interested in work from writers and artists of color, trans, queer, neurodivergent, or disabled writers and artists, writers and artists with invisible illnesses, and anyone else who feels their identity is itself an intersection. In short, if you believe your identity is a hybrid form that influences your craft, we want to hear from you.’ (Cathy’s note: you need to scroll down to find this, as all their calls are on one page.)

15th May Space opera novellas 15,000-50,000 words. PAYING

15th May Comedy script of at least 30 minutes.

15th May or when they’ve received 300 submissions, whichever is sooner: dark fiction. PAYING

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 Poetry, fiction and more.

19th May Poetry, fiction and more. PAYING

20th May Poetry and more on the theme of Support (Cathy’s note: I can’t find anything saying that only women may submit, but the content on the website appears to be woman-driven). CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

20th May Paranormal romance 12,000-20,000 words.

20th May ‘“Transcaucasia” is defined as a geopolitical region, encompassing all of Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan, as well as the Caucasus mountain area of southern Russia, eastern Turkey, and northern Iran. Issue 12, slated for June 1, will be a special TRANSCAUCASIA issue featuring work by writers and artists living in the Transcaucasia region or work that is about or inspired by this region.’

21st May Poems on the theme of War. PAYING

21st May Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Infection.

25th May Ghost story 1500-15,000 words. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

25th May Fantasy stories 2000-7500 words. PAYING

25th May Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Powers of the Universe.

27th May YA poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Puppets and Dolls. PAYING

27th May Poetry, prose and more.

28th May Writing pertaining to music on the theme of Nocturne. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

30th May Stories up to 10,000 words on the theme of Mrs Claus. ‘This anthology is intended for an adult audience, please don’t submit children’s stories.’ PAYING

30th May Poetry, fiction and more on any of the following themes: If at first you don’t succeed, try again; Accidents happen; If you build it, they will come; Famous last words. PAYING

31st May Poetry. PAYING

31st May ‘Theme: Aliens! In particular aliens playing sports (on Earth, in space or on their own planets) and pieces about alien mins, philosophies and desires.’

31st May Poetry and stories on the theme of Donkeyskin. PAYING

31st May Poetry in the tritina form.

31st May Poems and stories on the theme of Positively Happy! PAYING

31st May Flash and short fiction on the theme of The Senses.

31st May ‘The Central Arkansas Speculative Fiction Writers Group’s third anthology will be a collection of short stories about strangers. We want to see stories about estrangement, oddballs, and those who simply do not follow rules. We want to see outsiders and those deemed unworthy by society. Outcasts are welcome.’ Up to 7500 words. PAYING

31st May Haiku, senryu and haibun.

31st May Fiction 3000-8000 words. PAYING

31st May Collaboratively-written dark, speculative fiction. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

31st May Canadians only: ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was Carroll’s most famous work but there are other stories and poems (some within the greater works) where madcap creatures abound. Alice Unbound should contain an element of the speculative and may embrace fabulist, weird, myth, SF, fantasy, steampunk, horror, etc.’ Poetry and fiction. PAYING

31st May Reprints of dragon stories. PROFIT/REVENUE SHARING MODEL

31st May Poetry and fiction on the theme of Courage.

31st May ‘Your story MUST have humor in it, feature a Thanksgiving dish and have a great mystery or crime at the heart of the story.’ 1500-5000 words. ROYALTIES

31st May Stories 2000-8000 words on the theme of Time Lost. PAYING

31st May Flash, short fiction and more on the theme of The Senses.

31st May Poetry and prose on the theme of States of Mind.

31st May Horror stories 5000-10,000 words. PAYING

31st May Poetry, flash, short fiction and more on the theme of Seeing & Looking.

31st May Speculative fiction 1500-6000 words set in Manchester, UK. PAYING

31st May ‘In Issue 6, we are compiling a collection of Prayers for the Planet. All prayers—including theist, agnostic, atheist or humanist—are welcome. We accept fiction, nonfiction, visual art, and poetry of all flavors, from free verse to found. We are also interested in submissions that include raven artwork.’

31st May ‘The Mythos Planet: Lovecraft Inspired Sci-Fi Terror–Drabbles (100 words), Micro-Fiction (101-750 words), Flash (751-1000 words), Short Stories (1001-2000 words), and Poetry (up to 50 lines). I want to see Lovecraftian monsters of your own making here, but you can give me some new takes on the Old Ones, if you like, but make it fresh.’

31st May ‘The theme for the upcoming issue is “Mythos.” Obra/Artifact seeks submissions that root their inspiration in myths, legends, fables, and oral storytelling. Give us your fabulism, your experimentation, your lyric essays, your poetry that expands the bounds of form and art.’

1st Jun Poetry, flash, graphic narratives and much more.

1st Jun ‘Our new Shockwire Chapbook Series recognizes the need to raise the storytelling stakes in response to intimidation, fear, and isolation. We are interested in works of literary and speculative short fiction and creative nonfiction up to 7,500 words in length and collections of between 5 and 10 poems.’ PAYING

1st Jun Prison-themed writing for this publication concerned with maps.

1st Jun ‘Onyx Neon will release a collection of poems under the umbrella of American Upheaval. The world is reacting to a drastic shift in administration—and those reactions are raw, loud, and critical. We want poems that add to the political conversation.’ PAYING

1st Jun ‘We are collecting poems, stories, translations and nonfiction that address racism, homophobia, xenophobia, sexism, war, political corruption, veterans issues, people with disabilities, and the attack on the environment for an online anthology. We consider translations as well as flash fiction!’

1st Jun ‘What is Eternal Haunted Summer? EHS is an ezine dedicated to 1) original poetry and 2) short fiction about the Gods and Goddesses and heroes of the world’s many Pagan traditions.’ PAYING

1st Jun Poetry and prose.

1st Jun ‘Myths, moons, and mayhem make the perfect threesome—and so do some men. Whether they’re werewolves learning how to fit into the pack, magi seeking to unlock the secrets of the stars, incubi on the prowl, or trolls guarding deep underground worlds, the heroes of this anthology will be male-identified individuals with a thirst for homoerotic group encounters.’ 4000-6000 words. ROYALTIES

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

1st Jun Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Borders. PAYING

1st Jun Fantastical poetry. 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 and critical responses to the work of Sylvia Plath.

Poetry. ‘Submissions are open to new and emerging writers only (no more than one full-length published work forthcoming at the time of submission).’ PAYING

Speculative fiction up to 3000 words. PAYING

Up to 6 tanka poems. PAYING

‘We are interested in nonfiction books that emphasize self-improvement, personal motivation, psychological health, overall wellness or mind/body/spirit integration.’

Short stories. ROYALTIES

‘Invisible Publishing is currently accepting literary manuscript submissions, including works of fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction. All narrative works with contemporary themes will be considered, however, we are not interested in genre fiction or YA projects. That said, if you send it, we’ll read it. Show us your stuff.’

‘Sonder is a journal of cultural criticism, comment and creative writing, free for everyone.’

Canada only: ‘Esplanade Books publishes literary novels, novellas, short story collections, and translations from Canadian authors.’

‘Candy Jar Books is an award-winning independent book publisher. We publish a wide variety of quality books, from non-fiction, general fiction and children’s, through to a range of cult TV books.’

Fiction 1000-4000 words (Cathy’s note: they only notify in case of acceptance, so if you don’t hear back, assume rejection).

‘Describe your Name in a Poem. Tell us who you are. The Why and the Wherefore of your name. How did you get your name? Are you named after someone? Is it Biblical, Latin, or Gaellic, origin etc.? Is there a nickname that you go by? Does someone call you something else? To be 24 lines or less. One Poem per entry. Best of will be published in LONE STARS.’

Horror fiction.

Three-line poems. PAYING

Poetry, fiction and more.

Flash fiction and more.

Poetry. PAYING

Speculative fiction novellas. UNKNOWN PAYMENT

‘We are excited by writing that is difficult to classify—whether specifically speculative, substantially surreal, or slightly strange. We’re interested in realist pieces that verge on the dreamlike or surreal; speculative stories that are almost realist; and, on top of that, any form of literary fantasy/science fiction/speculative fiction.’ For the preview issue, they want reprints. PAYING

Romance stories and novellas. PAYING

SF/F stories up to 10,000 words. PAYING

‘Works dealing with any passionately held emotions and/or alternative viewpoints. These may well entail drink, sex, violence, bad language and any activity outside of the mainstream. Sleazy tales are very much encouraged and form the basis of The Savage Kick. Real-life stories are preferred, unless work is distinctively extreme within the crime, western or war genres.’ Fiction and more. PAYING


1 Comment

  1. Hi Cathy
    My name is Joep Rombouts, mostly Australian, living and writing freealance out of Northern Thailand.

    Could you put me on your ‘mailing list’
    i have submitted to a few of your links already



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