Comps and calls for October 2017

Hello all! It’s October, and my operation went very well. Thank you for all your kind wishes. I am much better now, though my bruising is record-breaking, apparently! Please blame any mistakes this month on my post-op meds!

I have had some excellent news to cheer me even more – my third poetry collection, The Colour of Not Belonging, will be published by Arachne Press! I am thrilled – I’ve had a poem in one of their anthologies before and I know that they are lovely people. This is one reason to get your work in anthologies and magazines – you might find the perfect place for your book.

I have a milestone birthday this month, which I am going to celebrate with unadulterated joy. So many of the most wonderful people I know are older than I am, so I don’t fear ageing at all.

As we head into Xmas and if you’re looking for gift suggestions, might I be so bold as to suggest my book – How to Win Writing Competitions? I explain the techniques and tricks that can be used to build-up a collection of writing awards. It’s well worth a read. Available for Kindle and in traditional print.

Have a wonderful month, everyone!

Cathy x

Here are October 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/tap 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.


Monthly: Email your travel experience in up to 500 words. PAYING

2nd Oct UK aged 5-11 only: bedtime story about friendship, 200-800 words. NON-CASH PRIZE

5th Oct ‘The American Antiquarian Society (AAS), a national research library and learned society of American history and culture, is calling for applications for visiting fellowships for historical research by creative and performing artists, writers, film makers, journalists, and other persons whose goals are to produce imaginative, non-formulaic works dealing with pre-twentieth-century American history.’ (Cathy’s note: the residency is in Massachussetts, and there’s no travel allowance, so bear that in mind before applying!) PAYING (thanks to for this one)

6th Oct Poem relating to PersonalLordSaviorJesusChrist (sic). ‘This contest is not limited to Christians–in fact I want to hear all voices on this contest. I think it would be awesome to write a poem in Satan’s voice about Jesus; I think it would be awesome to have a person write to Jesus in anger in this contest. I want to hear from heterosexuals, gays, lesbians, transgender, drug addicts, atheists, prostitutes, immigrants, Jews, Scientologists, Muslims, Hindus, agnostics, all religions, and all people, especially those who feel marginalized. And of course from those who love Jesus Christ.’ PAYING (thanks to for this one)

6th Oct ‘To be in with your chance to win one of three Toys R Us vouchers, worth £250, send us a description of your family’s favourite outdoor memory.’ VOUCHER/OTHER

8th Oct Poem about Trump (no profanity/vulgarity) (Cathy’s note: usually I don’t allow comps where the only prize is publication, but it is the New York Times!). (thanks to for this one)

8th Oct Aged 18-23: poetry MS.  PAYING (thanks to for this one)

13th Oct ‘For 2017, the Futurescapes Contest theme is “Blue Sky Cities.” We’re seeking stories set in a near-future city where significant strides have been made toward improving air quality, climate adaptation, or even net positive impacts on climate and air quality.’ Up to 8000 words. PAYING (thanks to for this one)

15th Oct (Cathy’s note: deadline has been extended from original date of October 1st) Poem. PAYING

15th Oct (Cathy’s note: deadline has been extended from original date of 1st Oct) Socially-engaged poem. PAYING

15th Oct Prose piece. ‘Only writers who have not yet published or been contracted to write a book-length work are eligible.’ PAYING

20th Oct Essay by a high school student on one of the provided themes. PAYING

22nd Oct Greater Manchester residents only: record yourself telling a scary story in 3 minutes. NON-CASH PRIZE

30th Oct ‘A thin dirt road winds through a large forest. Local lore is filled with stories about people going missing after following the road into the forest’s depths, and the trail itself has come to be called “The Ghost Path.” Your main character walks down the Ghost Path on a dare. An hour or so after entering the forest, they loose (sic) both the road and their way. What happens next?’ Up to 2000 words. VOUCHER/OTHER

31st Oct Essay 800-1000 words on the theme: How to Stay Healthy in 2017. PAYING

31st Oct Poem. NON-CASH PRIZE

31st Oct Short story up to 5000 words. (Cathy’s note: I don’t usually list comps where you have to interact with social media, but there are alternatives for those who aren’t on Facebook, and it’s only liking and sharing the comp post anyway. Also I trust Dean) PAYING

31st Oct Say in 50 words or fewer why you’re the best candidate to make the switch to all-electric driving. NON-CASH PRIZE

31st Oct UK aged 18-25 only: ‘Each year a question or quote exploring Franklin’s relevance in our time is open for interpretation in 1000-1500 words. The 2017 Franklin quote is : ‘If you would not be forgotten, As soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing.’ Poor Richard, 1738’ PAYING

31st Oct ‘The Jane Lumley Prize will be awarded to poets who have not published more than one full length collection, and/or have only published chapbooks, and/or have published work in literary magazines and/or anthologies. We also strongly encourage unpublished writers to submit their work for consideration.’ PAYING

1st Nov MS by an emerging Southeast Asian writer. PAYING

1st Nov Short story 2000-5000 words by a Commonwealth citizen. PAYING

1st Nov ‘What might a world look like where all of our most basic needs are met? In 5,000 words or less, we want you to explore the impacts of a basic income on individual lives and on society at large. To be clear, we are not expecting you to draft economic policy, but hope to ignite debate around new economies with stories that offer nuanced critique and evidence of impact.’ PAYING


2nd Oct Short fiction on the theme of Protest.

4th Oct Fiction 2000-10,000 words. PAYING

7th Oct ‘Cosmic Caravans is a science fiction anthology that will focus on Pre-Teen readers. The work will be illustrated. We are looking for stories or poems that re-enforce strength of character and scientific principles in a way children can relate to.’ 300-3000 words PAYING

10th Oct ‘Set it in space, in the far future, and include some friendly non-humanoid aliens helping to solve a pseudo-scientific problem.’ Fiction 3500-5000 words. PAYING

15th Oct ‘Gingerbread House is dedicated to publishing quality poetry & fiction with a magical element. Take your fairy tale and twist it. Bend your fantasy to suit your needs. Be original and fresh, loose and lovely.’

15th Oct Poetry, prose and more. PAYING

15th Oct ‘We are calling for BEST 1-3 poems per poet from Africa (living in Africa) or of African diasporas (one of the parents originated from Africa) to be included in BEST “NEW” AFRICAN POETS 2017 ANTHOLOGY. Poems of any topic, form…preferably less than 40 lines but we will read and consider longer poems too, must be in any African indigenous language plus French, English, and Portuguese. Those in local African indigenous languages should be accompanied by a translation into French, English or Portuguese. Entries should be in one doc, include also your contact information, country of stay or country of origin and a bio note of not more than 100 words. Please adhere to submission guidelines, failure of which we will not consider your poems! Entries should be sent to Tendai Mwanaka, Daniel Purificacao, on emails:,

15th Oct Writers who have not yet published or been contracted to write a book-length work: prose sample and some other stuff. PAYING (thanks to for this one)

15th Oct Poems on any subject by immigrants. PAYING

15th Oct ‘We are seeking writers who are passionate about social justice as it intersects with the challenges of parenthood. We are looking for a minimum of five personal essays or well-researched articles on the topics of racial justice and cultural as related to parenting. We will also accept submissions of poetry that are related to these topics or gives special insight to one’s culture.’ PAYING

15th Oct East Africa only: poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Elections.

15th Oct 50-word fiction on the theme of Diner. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

15th Oct Poetry on the theme of You Exist in a Stacked Deck. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES (Cathy’s note: you can find the email at which to submit here: )

15th Oct Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Total Eclipse. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

15th Oct Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Science.

15th Oct ‘Where do we, writers of color and the LGBTQ community, find ourselves in this landscape of the natural/unnatural world. Tributaries wants to see pieces that explore the relationship between the individual and place, both in conflict and in harmony.‘ ‘Writers of color or members of the LGBTQ community may submit one poem or up to 500 words of nonfiction prose that addresses the editorial statement above.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

22nd Oct ‘Icepick accepts submissions of both short (under 10 minutes) and long (10-30 minute) features. Please note that short features are generally purchased well in advance of broadcast. There are no restrictions on form- we accept poetry sets, essays, radio plays, reviews, monologues, interviews, vignettes and all points in between. Please be aware, however, that we are unlikely to produce work written for more than three voices except under exceptional circumstances.’ Theme: Heroes. PAYING

23rd Oct Cis women, trans women, and nonbinary people: poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Make Known. NON-MONETARY COMPENSATION

27th Oct ‘For this issue, we want you to take us on a journey around the world to the places that aren’t reviewed on TripAdvisor. We want to travel the real world through your experiences and memories. Send us your creative non-fiction prose, poetry, micro-fiction and Twitterature and let’s embark on a narrative adventure through the real world.’

27th Oct Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Plant Intelligence.

30th Oct Short fiction and poetry on the theme of Holiday Hell.

31st Oct ‘Your (horror) story must involve music in some way. This could take the form of a specific genre or song, but also the creation of music, an instrument, or even the lack of music. What would you do if you didn’t have your favorite music to calm your mind or to motivate you? What horrible deeds are prevented on a daily basis because someone listened to their favorite song? How many people are alive because someone heard the right song at the right time? What is the power of music?’ PAYING

31st Oct ‘People love reading about the winter holidays – from Thanksgiving all the way through New Year’s Day. We want to hear about your traditions and how they came to be. We want to hear about your holiday memories and the rituals that create the foundation of your life.’ Poetry and prose. PAYING

31st Oct Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Fantasy/Magepunk.

31st Oct Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Endings, for this healing-centred litmag. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

31st Oct Spec fic up to 12,000 words on the theme of Double Take! PAYING

31st Oct Poetry, fiction and more using the three elements: Delusion, Blueprint, Fisherman.

31st Oct ‘Solidago is currently accepting submissions for art, poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, in response to our upcoming cover image (please see website) or around the theme of TRADITION.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

31st Oct ‘This exciting project will speak to the West’s newness, vastness, sense of territoriality and transience, spanning from untouched wilderness to hyper-urban settings. We’re seeking fresh, original views of the western U.S. Our aim is to capture this region’s unique essence in all of its cultural and geographic diversity.’ PAYING

31st Oct Poem on the theme of Prompt.

31st Oct Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Twin Peaks.

31st Oct Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Sjirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle. PAYING

1st Nov Flash, short fiction and poetry on the theme of Dancing in the Wind (Cathy’s note: non-Americans can submit by email). PAYING

1st Nov ‘Love, lust, desire, and romance have long been driving forces for the actions of humans and mythical beings alike. This anthology will examine all facets of romantic love between gods, gods and humans, or other creatures of myth and religion.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

1st Nov Poetry, prose and art. PAYING

1st Nov ‘TROUBLE THE WATERS: Tales from the Deep Blue will be a new anthology of water-themed speculative short stories that explore all kinds of water lore and deities, ancient and new as well as unimagined tales. We want stories with memorable, engaging characters, great and small, epic tales and quieter stories of personal and communal growth.’ 2500-7000 words. PAYING

1st Nov Poetry, fiction and more.

1st Nov Speculative fiction (preferably noblebright) 1000-10,000 words on the theme of Fell Beasts and Fair. PAYING

1st Nov Poetry on the theme of Love and Justice. ‘Our aim is to provide a space for writers to address this peculiar historical moment, the human condition, and our capacity to come together. Poems may be personal or political or both. We favor accessible language and thought, but we are open to poems that push boundaries and challenge readers. We especially want to hear from writers of color.’ PAYING (thanks to for this one)

1st Nov Short fiction on the theme of Faith and Faithlessness.

1st Nov Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of California.

1st Nov Poetry on the theme of Animals. CHARITY ANTHOLOGY


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.

Crime and mystery books. ROYALTIES

‘Always Crashing is now open for submissions of fiction, poetry, collage text, visual collage, video, labyrinths, manifestos, the generically transgressive, and nonfiction (though we prefer not to be told if it’s nonfiction).’ (Cathy’s note: the website contains bright moving images that might be problematic to those of us with vision problems or epilepsy)

‘Fiction should be written for the feature, “Eww, there’s some geology in my fiction!” We are interested in MG and YA fiction that incorporates Earth Science concepts as key, rather than incidental, elements. Stories with adult characters but written for MG or YA will also be considered. The science element should be more substantive than “cool facts” or jargon that is slipped into a story.’ PAYING

‘Riggwelter is open to submissions of poetry, short fiction, visual art (of any kind – photography, collage, traditional art etc.) and experimental media.’

Fairy tale poems and stories.

‘We are particularly interested in literary novels and narrative non-fiction. We do not publish children’s fiction. We do not accept unsolicited poetry manuscripts.’

Supernatural horror poems and stories.

‘Thoughtful, intelligent stories about alien life that has biology and evolution at its core.’ PAYING

Novel MSS of many kinds.

‘The Patchwork Raven’s next ridiculously over-ambitious project is “Backyard Earth”: a “round the world” series of books. The idea is that we will make five books – one for each continent (more or less). Each book will contain one story for every country on that continent.’ PAYING

‘We welcome and consider work including but not limited to: short fiction, poetry, flash fiction and libretti, interviews, essays, columns or series, criticism, visual art, multi-media collections, travel writing and reportage.’

Open until filled: fiction 2000-10,000 words on the theme of ‘strange things in dense places’. PAYING (thanks to for this one)

‘At Metafore, we’re looking for poetry, fiction, & creative nonfiction that not only reflect the beauty of the superficial experience of the world but that also call forth the profundity — the beyondness — that can be found in all of life, if only we open ourselves to it. Metafore publishes writing that is progressive, that understands the political nature of personal narrative, & that honors diversity in all its expressions.’

‘The Black Voices Series believes that to fight cultural silencing and erasure there needs to be more spaces that provide visibility for black-authored work. We want your poems, your essays, your fiction, and your multi-modal work. We thank you for trusting us with your voices. #blackvoicesmatter #blacklivesmatter #wearevisible’

‘WeAreTeachers welcomes submissions on a wide range of topics pertaining to education and teacher life.’ PAYING

Poetry and short fiction.

‘Do you see yourself in the hulking creatures of legend? The warped beings of myth? If you’re disabled and identify as female and/or nonbinary, we encourage you to submit. Monstering accepts submissions of writing, artwork, and audio-visual features.’ PAYING


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