Comps and calls for October 2019

Hello everyone! As I write, the north of England is experiencing rain that is like a giant tap being turned on. It’s not great for going out (unless you are a duck) but it’s what I call good writing weather! So, make yourself a cup of tea and get stuck in to this month’s opportunities…

I’ve just finished writing a short play for a competition. My ‘treatment’ was longlisted, so I’m guaranteed £50, but I would dearly love to win as this particular competition is dear to my heart. Also, having just moved, my life is measured out in cardboard boxes. I have no trousers at present. That’s the writer’s life, isn’t it? Exciting projects and searching for trousers (is that a metaphor? Not in my case!).

Good luck, all of you!

Cathy x

Ps. You can support Comps and Calls via Paypal or Patreon.

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.


2nd October Spectator Competition No. 3119: watch the birdie. ‘Birds have been a popular subject for poets.You are invited to submit a poem about a yellowhammer. Please email entries of up to 16 lines to by midday on 2 October.’ PAYING

4th Oct ‘In honor of Alcott’s novel, this week’s writing prompts are all themes and elements pulled from her seminal family drama. And don’t worry if you haven’t read the book or aren’t too familiar with the March family — these themes are all universal!’Story 1000-3000 words. PAYING

6th Oct Unpublished travel writers: ‘To enter the competition, you should write a piece of 600–800 words, which must be original, written in the first person and based on personal experience. For this year’s competition, instead of a general theme, entrants must include the phrase ‘and then it happened’ somewhere within their entry. Please note, ‘and then it happened’ should NOT be the title of the piece, but those four words should occur naturally somewhere in the text.’ NON-CASH PRIZE

9th Oct Spectator Competition No. 3120: back space’In 1969 a competition was set in this magazine inviting poems commemorating man’s first landing on the moon. You are invited to submit verses, in the style of a well-known poet, reflecting on the Apollo 11 mission, 50 years on. Please email entries of up to 16 lines to by midday on 9 October.’ PAYING

15th Oct ‘The speculative flash must pass or discuss The Finkbeiner Test, which sets out that the story must not mention 1) The fact that the subject is a woman, 2) Her husband’s job, 3) Her child care arrangements, 4) How she nurtures her underlings, 5) How she was taken aback by the competitiveness in her field, 6) How she’s such a role model for other women, 7) How she’s the “first woman to…”’ PAYING

19th Oct A flash suite: “A series of at least three flash fiction works that correlate, and build to something greater. Recurring characters, extended motifs, harmonious subject matters, and/or sustained narrative are such correlations– but we encourage innovation and new ideas.” PAYING

25th Oct 50-word scary story. PAYING (thanks to for this one)

25th Oct Fiction 2000-6000 words on the theme of Artificial Intelligence. PAYING

26th Oct Story with one of the provided beginnings, and featuring chocolate. NON-CASH PRIZE

31st Oct ‘The whole point of this magazine is to raise awareness of the harm that we are doing to our planet and the dire consequences this will have.’ Fiction 1500-5000 words. PAYING

31st Oct Short story – check theme and length. PAYING

31st UK writers aged 18-25: essay on the provided theme. PAYING (thanks to for this one)

31st Oct ‘We are looking for stories of 500 words or fewer that have a joyful, hopeful or uplifting theme. There are no genre restrictions and stories may be for adults or children. One entry per person.’ (thanks to for this one)

1st Nov Short story, novelette, novella or novel. PAYING


3rd Oct Poetry, fiction and more suitable for Christian children on the theme of GAK SAYS LET’S EXPLORE OREGON TRAILS. PAYING

7th Oct Poetry and fiction on the theme of Truth. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

8th Oct ‘A critical part of the Embracing Our Differences exhibit is the impact of personal thoughts that accompany each work of art. These quotations provide members of our community a chance to voice their thoughts, feelings and ideas reflecting our theme of “enriching lives through diversity and inclusion.” The combination of visual art and the written word adds a deeper dimension to the overall experience. Please consider submitting an original quotation.’

9th Oct Poetry and flash on the theme of Monster.

10th Oct ‘BWR’s next issue of Boyfriend Village is seeking new work before which rather large structures get weak-kneed. We want work that bores discursive holes through the internet, or is manufactured from the dialog beneath the discourse.’ Poetry, fiction and more. PAYING

11th Oct ‘As before, we’re looking for yarns of dark urban fantasy, the weird, the macabre and the hopeful. Tell us of unassuming teenagers stumbling upon witch meetups, who weave spells for good or ill. Of hell-born creatures leaving scenes of carnage that confound the police. Of trolls trying to fit into the society of the homeless. We want them all.’ 5000-8000 words. PAYING

13th Oct Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Decay.

14th Oct Writing on the theme of Drugs for this Quaker magazine. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

14th Full length and chapbook MSS of poetry, short stories, novels and novellas.

15th Oct ‘In the spirit of shining a spotlight, we open our call for submissions to any and all Black creatives—of all identities, expressions, backgrounds, abilities, personalities, and communities (including global)—to submit.’ Poetry, fiction and more. PAYING

15th Oct Writing for children. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES’s note: you have to scroll a long way down to get to the anthology info!)

15th Oct Non-residential fellowship for writers who have not yet published, or been contracted to write, a book. PAYING (thanks to for this one)

15th Oct Poetry up to 30 lines on the theme of Water.

15th Oct Poetry and CNF on the theme of Redemption/Grace. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES


15th Oct ‘We accept short stories (fiction and creative nonfiction) and poetry. Per the Rockford Writers’ Guild Constitution, we do not publish content that is sexist, racist, supremacist, vulgar, or pornographic. We publish work that is new and is a reflection of the global, national, local, or personal times. If you are unsure, please ask.’

15th Oct Story for children. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

15th Oct Poetry, flash and more on the theme of Sleepover.

15th Oct Short fiction set in LA. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

15th Oct ‘CLOCKWORK DRAGONS: A Fantasy Punk Anthology, 1,500-8,000 words long. Stories should be set in a world where magic or fantasy elements have become the prevailing means by which mainstream technology is powered or run.’ PAYING

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

17th Oct Poetry on the theme of Circuits.

18th Oct Pirate stories around the 5000 word range. PAYING

20th Oct Poetry on the theme of Autumn.

21st Oct Poetry and prose on the theme of Writing and Activism. PAYING

23rd Oct Microfiction based on Science. PAYING

24th Oct Poetry, fiction and more. PAYING

30th Oct Horror fiction up to 5000 words by Jewish writers. PAYING

30th Oct ‘LANTERN: The Inner Circle Writers’ Group Christian Stories Anthology 2019 I’m looking for that special kind of story with the ending that J. R. R. Tolkien described as a ‘eucatastrophe’ — a story which, against all the odds, turns to the Good.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES (Cathy’s note: you have to scroll a long way down to get to the anthology info!)

30th Oct Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Grief and Loss.

31st Oct Poetry, fiction and more. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

31st Oct ‘Inspiring protests led by concerned citizens and youth are demanding change.The role of the poet is to critique, celebrate, acknowledge, and inspire, to provoke thought and action, and to speak truth to power. Those are the poems sought for publication in 45 Poems of Protest.’ ROYALTIES

31st Oct ‘We’re looking for four (4) fantasy romance short stories featuring “women loving women/”lesbians, including translesbians, for 2020: asian vampires, afro-mermaids, indigenous shapeshifters, and latinx fairies.’ PAYING

31st Oct ‘In this anthology, Temptation Press is looking for short stories that explore the naughty side of the city. These stories should be about sex clubs. Think ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ meets ‘Exit to Eden’. Any gender combination is welcome. We are looking for a unique take on the age-old tale.’ 4500-20,000 words. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

31st Oct Poetry, flash and short fiction. PAYING

31st Oct Poetry on the theme of Home. (thanks to for this one)

31st Oct Poetry and fiction.

31st Oct Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Weathering. ‘OMQ publishes submissions from anyone with lived experience of madness/mental health challenges/accessing mental health services, and who has experiences to share and a voice to be heard.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

31st Oct Poetry, fiction and much more.

31st Oct Mystery story up to 2000 words, in which the mystery is solved with the assistance of a pet. PAYING

31st Oct ‘We’ve all experienced a night out at the movies. Are you old enough to remember the drive in? Do you dare build a movie theater in your basement and invite monsters and mayhem to your home? Monsters, Movies, & Mayhem is a collection of tales involving monsters and the chaos they create in the movie world.’ Up to 6000 words. PAYING

1st Nov Poetry on the theme of Christmas/Chanukah/Yule. PAYING

1st Nov Poetry, fiction, drama and more. PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORS (Cathy’s note: only contributors from the USA will be paid.)

1st Nov Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of What a Strange Question! PAYING (Cathy’s note: submitters outside the USA may submit by email)

1st Nov Flash and short fiction on the theme of Is it Safe?

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

1st Nov Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Loss. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

1st Nov Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Getting On. PAYING

1st Nov Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Cult: Astarte, Isis and Kore.



An anthology of creative works devoted to the climate crisis and climate justice.

Poetry and fiction.

‘Interstellar Flight Magazine is seeking essays on pop culture, movies, geekery, and scifi/fantasy related topics.’ PAYING

‘Culture Matters is part of our cultural struggle or ‘mental fight’ against class divisions, to achieve a cultural commons in a socialist society – a new Jerusalem, as William Blake called it, and not only in England, but across the world.’ Poetry, articles, art and more. (thanks to for this one)

Data poetry.


Poetry. PAYING

‘We don’t have themed submissions—we feel that poets need to write what they need to write—however we would, for Issue 8, be very keen to read poems that encapsulate the current political climate, be it today or a couple of months from now. Not rants, not abstraction, but those moments which most speak of what it is like to live right now, at this time of political instability: poems about people, their actions, where they go, the things they say.’

Poetry and more.

‘Aggregate is an upcoming fiction anthology, and we’re looking for solid, creative short stories. We tend toward science fiction and horror, but prefer to think of genre as a loose categorization at best.’ PAYING

‘Real and unreal’ stories, poetry and more.

Novel MSS.

Poetry, fiction and more for this Christian magazine. PAYING

Prose and more.

Poetry, fiction and more. PAYING


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