Comps and calls for December 2019

Hello all!

Phew! I’m exhausted, but in the best way. My play A Taste of Paradise won the Cheshire Literature Prize 2019, and was performed at the Garret Theatre in Chester, UK! Not only that but I got to meet one of my heroes, Phil Redmond—he who came up with Grange Hill, Brookie (Brookside) and Hollyoaks. He was lovely and I had an amazing time. The rehearsals were fascinating. I got to see just what a talented director can do to really get the most out of a piece of writing, and how wonderful professional actors are. Not an ego in sight as they did everything they could to make the play as good as possible. And I met the High Sheriff of Cheshire!

I’d never written a play in my life before…. Remember: have a go! Just give it a go!

Anyway… It’s December, the best month to submit and enter, as most people are far too busy to do so, and there are lots of weird and wonderful opportunities around. Good luck to you all, and have a wonderful festive season whatever your beliefs. Enjoy your writing, enjoy sending stuff off to meet its fate, and enjoy everything else as well.

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 Poetry on the theme of Crossing the Divide. PAYING (thanks to for this one)

4th Dec Spectator Competition No. 3128: Dear Santa ‘You are invited to submit a letter to Father Christmas written in the style of a well-known author, living or dead. Please email entries of up to 150 words or 16 lines to by midday on 4 December.’ PAYING

6th Dec Fall-themed short stories (as in Autumn, not tripping over). PAYING (thanks to for this one)

6th Short story based on one of the provided prompts. PAYING

9th Dec Short story or CNF up to 3000 words on the theme of The Censor. PAYING

9th Dec Spectator Competition No. 3129: The night before ‘You are invited to submit a poem entitled ‘Twas the Night before Brexit’. Please email entries of up to 16 lines to by midday on 9 December.’

13th Dec ‘The award, for a story of 6,000 words or less, is open to any novelist or short story writer from around the world who has been published in the UK or Ireland.’ PAYING – LOTS

15th Dec Spec flash fiction. ‘The flash must pass The Apparition Test, which sets out that 1) the main character must not be a writer with writer’s block, 2) boobs cannot be described, 3) Story cannot involve a long scene with a character driving, 4) Story cannot involve rape or violence toward women/children/animals’ PAYING

15th Dec ‘The poems should resonate with the themes of peace, conflict transformation, and student advocacy.’ PAYING

16th Dec Poetry on the theme of Krampus. PRIZES (UNKNOWN WHAT)

16th Dec Response to one of three prompts. NON-CASH PRIZE (thanks to for this one)

31st Dec Short fiction 4000-10,000 words on the theme of Gift. PAYING

31st Dec ‘L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Contest is an opportunity for new writers of science fiction and fantasy to have their work judged by some of the masters in the field and discovered by a wide audience.’ PAYING

31st Dec Poetry, fiction and more. ‘The creative work that most excites us in a given issue will win the Prospero Prize—$150 cash and feature placement in the Annual.’ PAYING (thanks to for this one)

31st Dec Poem suitable for a greetings card. PAYING


Until filled: anthologies of stories about mythical beasts/creatures. Also a faerie anthology. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

2nd Dec ‘We are looking for fiction, poetry, and essays within the horror genre. And, as per usual, we seek provocative works that are centered within a cityscape.’ PAYING

2nd Dec Women and nonbinary writers only: “What exactly is knowledge? Is it a thing, an event, a practice, a movement toward? What does it mean to be intelligent? What is the nature of knowledge? What is worth passing on?” So asks Manulani Meyer in her book on Hawaiian epistemology Ho’oulu: Our Time of Becoming. Dark Matter issue #9 will be devoted to these questions.’

11th Dec ‘Placeholder Press have decided to assemble a series of personal essays reflecting on the past decade to be digitally published on NYE. We want this collection to offer a spectrum of definitions and experiences on this decade, and all the ways everything has changed. While the focus will be on personal essays, we will also be accepting poems, prose, and art that reflects on your personal experience of 2010-2020.’

12th Dec Writers for whom English is a second or non-native language: please submit your short stories, essays, poems and artwork.

15th Dec Romance stories and poems. PAYING

15th Dec Poetry, flash and short fiction on the theme of Romance Gone Wrong.

15th Dec Poetry on the theme of Hard Science Fiction Tropes. PAYING

15th Dec Poetry, flash, short fiction and more on the theme of Home/Work.

15th Dec ‘Use your imagination to support two projects saving endangered species: the Willow Tit Project, and the Ancients of the Future project which is working to protect 28 threatened species which live in ancient trees, including the Violet Click Beetle, the Royal Splinter Cranefly, Eagle’s-claw Lichen, Coral-tooth Fungi, Knothole Moss and the Noctule Bat. Back from the Brink is creating an anthology of poetry and fiction inspired by these projects. Send your speculative stories and sci-fi poems.’ CHARITY/GOOD CAUSE ANTHOLOGY

16th Dec Poems or short fiction with the names of months as titles.

16th Dec Insight: ‘Responses to works of art, literature, and culture that raise questions or address issues about the matters that concern us aesthetically, politically, ideologically.’ PAYING

20th Dec Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Synchronous.

21st Dec Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Virtual Realities. PAYING

22nd Dec Poems and stories on the theme of Fruit.

25th Dec ‘We want yr trash.’

30th Dec Blood Crown: Sword and Sorcery fiction 4000-15,000 words. Both elements must be present – blood and crown. PROFIT/REVENUE SHARING MODEL

31st Dec ‘SUBJECT MATTER (for all mediums) is simply anything to do with pop culture.   TV, movies, comic books, video games, music…we’re keeping this pretty broad because we geek out on everything and we keep it nerd real like that. ISSUE #18 is our LGBTQIA+ ISSUE!  If you identify as a member of the LGBTQIA community, please submit your poems and/or art to our inbox for this issue!’

31st Dec Poems and stories from the workplace. PAYING

31st Dec ‘Damaged Goods Press is seeking poetry by QUEER & TRANS poets on queer eroticism for our forthcoming print anthology The Impossible Beast: Poems of Queer Eroticism, edited by Logan February and Caseyrenée Lopez.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

31st Dec ‘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 Dec ‘We are looking for your stories about how you neglected your self-care and then how you realized its importance and so you now engage in it.’ Stories and poems. PAYING

31st Dec Poetry, fiction and art on the theme of Seasons of Rot. PAYING

31st Dec ‘We believe it is important for readers to see themselves reflected on the page. After truly realizing how few characters in classic fairytales are People of Color, we wanted to make an anthology of fairytales where readers of color could see themselves on the pages. We are seeking retellings and rewritings of classic fairytales that FEATURE People of Color or different ethnic or cultural backgrounds (non-white) as the characters and that are WRITTEN by People of Color or different ethnic or cultural backgrounds (non-white).’

31st Dec Food-based horror stories. PAYING

31st Dec ‘Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora seeks speculative fiction that grapples with the question: “What is the legacy and the future of Africa and the African Diaspora?” We want authors and poets from the African continent and the African Diaspora.’ PAYING

31st Dec Poetry, flash and short fiction on the theme of Relationships.

31st Dec ‘Signs of life is an upcoming literary anthology themed around first- and second-hand experiences of illness and care-giving.’ PAYING

31st Dec Map-centred writing on the theme of Alaska.

31st Dec LGBTQ Romance: ‘A trope is a familiar plot device an author uses to bring two characters together. There are dozens of them — friends to lovers, second chances, arranged marriages, forbidden love, celebrity falls for fan, love triangle, secret admirer …
What’s YOUR favorite? Work it into a story, or write a trope you haven’t tried yet, it’s up to you.’ ROYALTIES

31st Dec ‘The Thimble Literary Magazine is primarily a poetry journal but invites submissions on related topics such as artwork, stories, and interviews. We are not looking for anything in particular in terms of form or style, but that it speaks to the reader or writer in some way. When selecting your poems or prose, please ask yourself, did this poem help me create shelter?’

31st Dec Poems on the theme of Act Your Age. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

31st Dec FICTION – LGBTQ+ Coming Out/Coming-of-Age/Identity: ‘This anthology will explore fictional tales of what the mirror cannot show: your sexual identity or sexual history.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

31st Dec Poetry, prose and more on the theme of Lacunae. ‘For this issue of Vestiges, we are looking for works in which death hangs on the balance of a breath; textual memories plucked from their funeral procession, hesitant to cease, frozen from the fridge yet melting on their march. Send us your elegies, laments, meditations, fragments, abandoned works, unbridgeable gulfs, languished poems, and autodidactic literary failures.’

31st Dec Cli-fi SF poetry, fiction and more wanted on the theme of ‘Terraforming Earth for Aliens (a Cli-Fi Anthology of Global Warming Fiction)’. PAYING

31st Dec Dada writing and art. ‘The world is hurtling in a direction that simply isn’t sustainable. DADA came from the absurdity of war, and the destruction to the planet right now is absolutely war, with potentially billions of victims. And so, the theme for MAINTENANT 14 is: UN-SUSTAIN-A-BULL-SH*T’

31st Dec or until they have 100 subs, so submit early if possible! Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Truth.

31st Dec Stories for Air: Sylphs, Spirits and Swan Maidens (Elemental Anthologies #3). PAYING

31st Dec Three anthologies: Galactic Stew, Apocalyptic and My Battery is Low and it’s Getting Dark. PAYING (SUBJECT TO KICKSTARTER)

31st Dec Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Spring. ‘Free to submit two poems (in one document) or up to five pieces of visual art. Currently we accept 250 free submissions per month.’ PAYING

31st Dec Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Dry. PAYING

1st Jan ‘Full Bleed, an annual print and online journal of art and design, seeks submissions for its fourth issue, forthcoming in Spring 2020. We publish criticism, belle lettres, artwork, design, illustration, fiction, poetry, and graphic essays.’ Theme: archives. PAYING

1st Jan Canadians only: poetry, fiction and more on the theme of ‘Resiliency’ (sic). PAYING

1st Jan Speculative short stories about original creatures. PAYING

1st Jan Poetry on the theme of the Virgin Mary. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

1st Jan ‘Crime stories that take place in the future. Preferably these stories will go beyond simple murders or capers to reveal something about how technology and the powers that wield it have changed our world.’ 4000-8000 words. PAYING


(Publishers might not give out their rates on their submission pages, so make sure that they will pay you!)

Poetry, fiction and more. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

Despite the September deadline for issue 3, they do accept ongoing submissions of poetry, fiction and more. PAYING

Poetry, fiction and more.

Poetry, fiction and more, touching on the experiences of Jewish women. PAYING

New Zealand only: poetry, fiction and more.

Poetry and art.

Poetry, fiction and more.


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