Comps and calls for September 2019

Hello all! Many thanks to those of you who’ve emailed me about your successes — you’re a talented lot! If you’re still waiting for success, remember: proofread your work properly, avoid clichés, try writing a bit outside your comfort zone, and keep trying.

As I write this everything here is chaos. We’re moving house on August 29th. Also, a treatment for a play script I wrote has been shortlisted for an award — now I have to write the play itself! This is something I have never done before.

Phew! Wish me luck with both — and maybe I’ll be less busy next month!

Best wishes,

Cathy x


Here are some 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.


Closing date unknown. ‘KEEP WRITING is a contest for Writers organized by the Enlivening Emotions. We all have beautiful Illusions in our Mind that make us Write so we Welcome you to the Family and Let’s Grow Together in the World of Writing. It can be Story, Poetry, Song, Shayari, Ghazal, Blog, Rap. All writing forms are welcome and as We know Writing is an Emotion. It has no Language but comes in every language and it’s all about expression so Let’s be expressive…’ Entries can be in Hindi, English or other language. NON-CASH PRIZE (Cathy’s note: I wasn’t sure abut this one as there’s no tangible prize, but as it’s free to enter, I thought some of you might find it fun.)

2nd Sep ‘Imagine a bottle rides the waves of the ocean until it finally washes ashore, where someone discovers the bottle, pulls out a cork, and…there is a message inside. Tell us what the message says in 27 words or fewer. The person who creates the most compelling “story in a bottle” wins a free Gotham class of his or her choosing.’ NON-CASH PRIZE (thanks to for this one)

3rd Sep ‘Portland Reviewwelcomes themed prose submissions of fiction and nonfiction for the 2019 Verna Marion Nugent chapbook contest. The winner will receive $500 and publication as a chapbook included inside our Laborissue, to be published in 2020.’ Theme: Invisible Labor. PAYING

4th Sep Middle-grade fiction on the theme of Voyagers, 3500-5000 words.  ROYALTIES

8th Sep ‘Have you experienced mental health problems, or are you a family member or friend of someone who has? We’re inviting you to enter our poetry competition, Healing Words, which is back for its second year.’ Poem up to 25 lines. NON-CASH PRIZE

10th Sep ‘The Nan Shepherd Prize is a new competition to find the next voice in nature writing. It aims not only to celebrate nature writing but provide an inclusive platform for new and emerging nature writers from underrepresented backgrounds.’ PAYING (Cathy’s note: although ‘unpublished writers’ are specified in the guidelines, you can still enter if you have self-published, if you’ve had poetry published, or if you’ve had short pieces published in litmags.)

15th Sep TV, Film and Short Screenplays. PAYING

16th Sep Poetry on the theme of Discovery by children from Yorkshire or Lancashire, Years 1-6 or there’s a separate category for Years 7-13. VOUCHER/OTHER and

21st Sep ‘Send us your Halloween-themed poetry, fiction, short plays and creative non-fiction.’ PAYING

27th Sep Theatre script by a writer of 55 or over, who is resident or works in the North West of England. PAYING

30th Sep SF/F story by new and amateur writers. PAYING

30th Sep ‘Our recent survey revealed that almost half of you think there are not enough books featuring middle-aged or older female characters. In response to that, we’re delighted to announce that, together with HQ, an imprint of HarperCollins, we are launching a fiction writing competition for women writers over the age of 40. We will specifically be looking for stories featuring a leading character aged over 40.’ OTHER

30th Sep ‘Three times a year, Jerry Jazz Musicianawards 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 Drabble on the theme of Treasure Hunt. PAYING

1st Oct Flash fiction narrated by a teacher, or featuring a teacher as the protagonist. PAYING


2nd Sep Fiction 800-3000 words on the theme of  Accident and Emergency.

2nd Sep or until filled: ‘Quite simply, we want Sword & Sorcery tales about immortals in the vein of Karl Edward Wagner’s Kane, Barry Sadler’s Casca, Steven Erikson’s Rhulad Sengar and Kallor, and Dennis O’Neil’s Rā’s al Ghūl.’ PAYING

2nd Sep Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Labor. PAYING

2nd Sep or until filled: ‘Slaughter is the Best Medicine: An Heroic Anthology of Mayhem & Mirth in Melee. This one is exactly what it sounds like – pulpy battle royale with a smile!’ PAYING

2nd Sep Poetry, flash and short fiction on the theme of Chance. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

2nd Sep ‘RBE’s first Western isn’t simply going to be filled with dusty tales of cowpokes and gunslingers no matter how romantic. Oh no – you know better than that! REACH FOR THE SKY is all about cowboys and aliens!’ 2000-9000 words. PAYING

3rd Sep Poetry and fiction on the theme of The Abduction of Persephone. PAYING

3rd Sep Stories and poetry suitable for children, on the theme of Trains, Tracks and Travelers. PAYING

5th Sep or when full: ‘The first in a new series featuring retellings of fairy tales! This one will feature Snow White. We will be looking for new and fresh takes on the tale, however it has to be easily recognizable as a Snow White story.’ 500-10,500 words.  CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

6th Sep ‘Speculative City publishes provocative works that are centered within a cityscape.’ Theme: Industry. Poetry, fiction and more.

7th Sep Poems, stories and more on the theme of Melt. PAYING

8th Sep Poetry and prose that touch upon the natural world. Theme: Fierce. PAYING

10th Sep Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of “Reforming violence | Restorative justice for everyone”.

10th Sep Writing on the theme of Awareness Light.

12th Sep ‘The theme is ‘100 words, 100 years from now’. Please create pieces on any subject such as climate, politics, technology, consumersim, social media, life, love or death, etc. but they must somehow be set in 2119.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

13th Sep ‘Latinx Screams is looking for stories by Latinx and AfroLatinx writers with protagonists facing overwhelming fears and rising to fight horrifying foes. Some will thrive, some with survive, and some will die. Give us your vanquished, and your victors.’ PAYING

13th Sep Spec flash on the theme of Stories that Sing: the 90s. PAYING

13th Sep Story on the theme of Supernatural. 500-3000 words. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

13th Sep Poetry, flash and short fiction on the theme of MYSTERY, DEATH and the DEAD, HARVEST, SEASON OF DARKNESS, and more. (Cathy’s note: Subs are free until they’ve used up 80% of their Submittable allocation. After that there’s a fee. So get in early.)

Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Fun House.

15th Sep Dark literary fiction and twisted horror poetry. PAYING

15th Sep Write a story that lasts. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

15th Sep Poetry, fiction and more about cartoons. ‘Please only send work that has to do with television cartoon series, not animated movies (you can save that for our Pop Culture issue).’

15th Sep Poetry, fiction and more. PAYING (Cathy’s note: when they run out of free submission slots, they charge a fee, so get in early if possible.)

15th Sep 50-word story. ‘There is no payment associated with stories. However, each month a “Story of the Month” is selected, and receives a prize of $10 Canadian.’ PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORS

15th Sep ‘Whether framed as deities or regular folks—as wise role models, rascally clowns, or underhanded villains—trickster figures have fascinated audiences for centuries. For the 34th issue of Eye to the Telescope, we want original work that demonstrates why this is.’ Poetry. PAYING

15th Sep ‘How do you read/experience/address solidão? This issue invites intersectional critical theory from scholar-activists to confront systems of oppression that challenge the idea of universalism and the limited belief that humanity is white, skinny, heterosexual, able-bodied, U.S. American, middle class, Christian, and male.’

15th Sep ‘Zimbell House is holding open submissions for short stories about the old west and how the U.S. Marshal played a part in establishing the law of the land.’ 4000-20,000 words.  CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

15th Sep Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Confession. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

21st Sep Poetry and fiction on the theme of Jungle.

23rd Sep Microfiction based on Science. PAYING

25th Sep ‘We will be looking for new and fresh takes on the tale, however it has to be easily recognizable as a Snow White story.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

29th Sep Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Lore.

30th Sep ‘Truancyis a semipro market for revised folktales, legends, myth and other traditional narratives that have been made new by your retelling or your original fiction that has these folkloric elements or mythic elements.’ Poetry also accepted. PAYING

30th Sep ‘Spy Girl – Chipper Press is looking for short stories that feature a female sleuth. We want these stories to be set in a middle-grade school. It can be a spy ring or a single amateur detective. Keep in mind these tales are intended for middle-graders.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

30th Sep Writing by Asian lesbians.

30th Sep ‘We are looking for stories about something that happened to you in your life – in your relationship with a partner or spouse, a parent or child, a family member or friend, at work or at home – that made you and the people around you laugh out loud.’ Stories and poems. PAYING

30th Sep Canadian women/nonbinary only: ‘Re Nature: Writing on a World under Threat. Understorey Magazine invites submissions of critical writing & visual art – for a nature in crisis.’ PAYING

30th Sep Crime/mystery/thriller story. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

30th Sep ‘We are looking for stories about the humorous or serious sides of life after 60.’ Stories and poems. PAYING

30th Sep  ‘We want all of your travel stories, whether they’re also love stories, horror stories, success stories…you know we’re flexible here.
The only rule is the same as it always is: this trip must include music!’

30th Sep Poetry.

30th Sep Spec fic. PAYING (thanks to for this one)

30th Sep Erotic literary fiction and erotic formal poetry.

30th Sep Poetry and fiction on the theme of Free Will.

30th Sep Poetry and more.

30th Sep Poetry on the theme of Brink.

30th Sep Poetry, flash, short fiction and more on the theme of Night Terrors.

30th Sep Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Anne of Green Gables: All Thngs Anne.—issue-9.html

30th Sep Poetry on the theme of Autumn. PAYING

1st Oct Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Keep Texas Salty. PAYING

1st Oct Poetry, prose and more on the theme of Wilderness.

1st Oct ‘Power Playis all about the action and competition of hockey combined with the drama and emotion of romance. I’m looking for consensual power exchange romance stories that revolve around the rink.’ 2500+ words. PAYING


‘We seek to confront the 21st century headlong and with humanity. To publish poetry that feels crisp and new; poetry that explores rough edges of humanity instead of attempting to smooth them.’ ‘Due to Submittable limits, we are only able to offer a limited number of no-cost submissions each month. If there is no option to submit at no-cost please check back at the beginning of the next month!’


Poetry. PAYING

Various anthology calls, all open until filled: Mythological beasts/creatures, Faeries. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

Poetry, flash and short fiction.

Clean fantasy and SF. PAYING (thanks to www.freedomwithwriting.comfor this one)

Stories under 2000 words. PAYING

Fiction up to 10,000 words. PAYING

‘Wordwooze Publishing seeks talented authors who write stories that are out of the ordinary and feature strong plots, smooth writing, three-dimensional characters, and interesting backgrounds. If that sounds like you, we invite you to send us a copy of your manuscript.’ ROYALTIES

‘The material chosen for Kaleidoscope challenges and overcomes stereotypical, patronizing, and sentimental attitudes about disability.We accept the work of writers with and without disabilities; however the work of a writer without a disability must focus on some aspect of disability.’ PAYING

‘This anthology, to be edited by Steve Berman, seeks short stories and novellettes that adapt classic fairy tales. But we want them populated with Bears! Strapping heroes are fine as long as they are stout. All the stories should have a measure of whimsy and/or wonder.’ PAYING

Until filled: ‘We now have an OPEN call for the high fantasy anthology “Of Witches, Warriors, and Wyverns”.’ PAYING

Spec fic on the theme of Whigmaleeries & Wives’ Tales. PAYING

Erotic spec fiction. PAYING

Christian flash fiction.

Transgressive, bizarro and splatterpunk fiction. PAYING

MSS of various kinds.

‘We are currently open to submissions for our inaugural issue. We want work that breaks through the mundane reality of our daily lives. Send us literature that elevates thought and feeling beyond what we experience in the monotony of daily life. If it floats your boat, you can have that be as fantasy or science fiction.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

‘Welcome to Poetrylandia, a new Wapshott Press journal, we are seeking book length single author poetry collections, as well as book length poems, epic poetry, saga poetry, very long poems, fiction and non-fiction in verse.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

Spec fiction 1500-5000 words on the theme of Birds. PAYING

Poetry, flash, short fiction and more. PAYING


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