Comps and calls for January 2020

Happy New Year! Happy New Decade!

I do hope that you had a better festive period than I did. Just before Christmas, my lovely sister-in-law died, unexpectedly and young. Last year, my father-in-law died at the same time. It’s been very tough. But I won’t dwell on that here. Because it’s the New Year! Time to look ahead, to try new things, and to create new goals. There are oodles of opportunities below to have a go at – try something outside your comfort zone! (Or in it, if you’re fragile.) I do wish you all writing success and personal fulfilment – and health and happiness.


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.


Weekly: travel writing. PAYING

3rd Jan Story 1000-3000 words based on one of the provided prompts. PAYING

3rd Jan First crime novel. PAYING (thanks to for this one)

4th Jan Poetry. PAYING

6th Jan Story set in a winter cabin. There are various categories for different ages. NON-CASH PRIZE

8th Jan Spectator Competition No. 3131: you must remember this ‘A poem by Adrian Bailey was published recently in The Spectator inspired by ‘Adlestrop’. It began: ‘Yes. I remember Monica —…’ You are invited to submit your own take, substituting the proper noun of your choice for ‘Monica’, on Edward Thomas’s poem. Please email entries of up to 16 lines to by midday on 8 January.’ PAYING

13th Jan ‘Scottish PEN is bringing together writing influenced by the Declaration of Arbroath for a collection of poetry and prose to be published in August 2020, with an award of three prizes of £250 for pieces selected by Scottish PEN and Sir Tom Devine.’ PAYING

15th Jan Ekphrastic speculative flash fiction inspired by the provided image. PAYING

15th Jan ‘In this issue we are also hosting a Writing Contest with a $250 award in all 3 written genres for stories and narratives that raise awareness on issues related to mental health, such as homelessness, missed or delayed diagnosis, or loss (of family, husband/wife, jobs), with extra credit given to those who can tie both into our theme of Hope.’ PAYING

15th Jan Spectator Competition No. 3132: bizarre books ‘You are invited to provide an extract from one of the following books (these are genuine titles): Noah Gets Naked: Bible Stories They Didn’t Teach You at Sunday School; The Joy of Waterboiling; Ending the War on Artisan Cheese; Versailles: The View from Sweden. Please email entries of up to 150 words to by midday on 15 January.’ PAYING

24th Jan PRIMARY SCHOOL PUPILS ONLY: Write a story all about you. NON-CASH PRIZE (thanks to for this one)

31st Jan NON-UK ONLY: Script and synopsis by writers living outside the UK. PAYING (thanks to for this one)

31st Jan SCOTLAND ONLY: Writing and more exploring personal and societal values. PAYING

31st Jan Age 16-18 only: ‘Poets are asked to write on the theme of Songbird. This can be interpreted freely – whether about birds, song, birdsong or any combination thereof. Poems can be comic or serious, avant garde or traditional, but the Judges do advise that works flying too far from the theme will not be considered. 2020’s Young Romantic essayists are asked to address this question: ‘The world should listen now as I was listening then.’ PB Shelley (sort of) How can the poetry of PB Shelley and/or John Keats help us in our current climate crisis?’ PRIZES (UNKNOWN WHAT)

31st Jan ‘The story should be suitable for a children’s book of up to 28 pages with an age suitability of 0-5 years. Submissions should be a complete text in English. It must be entirely original fiction. The text must not be a rhyme, as this is difficult to translate if the winning title were to be published in another language. Books with an ABC theme will not be accepted.’ ‘ Entries are welcomed from authors who have a wonderful story to tell that is suitable for children aged 0-5, or from illustrators who can create charming images for that age group.’ PAYING


2nd Jan Poetry and more on the theme of Lists and Collections.

3rd Jan ‘We’re looking for stories of humans who manage to find love or just escape Grumpy Old Gods whose love mojo is a little shaky – (maybe their eyesight isn’t so good…maybe they just don’t have the juice…maybe they are tired as hell of making matches and really need to retire). The stories should be 3000-4000 words and include at least one god / goddess.’ ROYALTIES

5th Jan Writing and more on the theme of Black History Month – More Than a Month.

5th Jan Horror poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Misfortune. PAYING

5th Jan Story 800-2000 words on the theme of Scoundrels and Scandals. PERFORMANCE

6th Jan Drama scripts for TV, film, radio, stage or online.

6th Jan ‘Seeking stories that explore the darker side of speculative fiction. We want stories that are scary or disturbing or upsetting, or that wouldn’t be out of place in a collection of Gothic prose or Grimm folktales or dark contemporary fantasy or a dark forest as night comes on … While horror is the name of the game, this anthology is for those stories that might not hit all of the tropes, but still leave us unsettled when the night settles in.’ PAYING

7th Jan Folk horror 4000-8000 words on the theme of Fiends in the Furrows. PAYING

12th Jan Australians under 25 only: poetry and fiction on the theme of As If!

15th Jan ‘We are looking for first-person true stories and poems up to 1200 words. Tell us about the magic of your cat or the magic of a cat you know.’ Stories and poems. PAYING

15th SF story 2500-10,000 words about a teen girl (14-18) with an interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, or math). CHARITY/GOOD CAUSE ANTHOLOGY

15th Jan ‘We are looking for first-person true stories and poems up to 1200 words. Tell us about the magic of your dog or the magic of a dog you know.’ PAYING

15th Jan Story 3000-8000 words, with elements of science fiction and horror. PAYING

15th Jan ‘Short stories of mystery and suspense with an overarching theme of heartbreaks and half-truths.’ PAYING

15th Jan ‘Art, poetry & quotes by women.’ PAYING

15th Jan Postcard poems. PAYING

15th Jan Poem.

15th Jan ‘The theme for the second issue is the nuance of scientific discovery and the pitfalls of scientific progress. This edition does not seek to showcase how science interacts with the genre of horror. We’re looking for writing and art that explores the unintended side effects or consequences of scientific advancement.’ PAYING

15th Jan Story 4000-20,000 words on the theme of Deadly Games. ‘We want complete stories from the POV of the person that ends up dead. Start at the death, and work your way backward.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

15th Jan ‘The theme for our March 2020 issue is Hope. What, or who, gives you hope? A caregiver? A patient? A child? A colleague? What did you hope for and receive, or not receive? What are you hoping for as it relates to health and wellness–for yourself or for others? Have you lost hope? Have you found hope? Did a new treatment or wellness plan give you hope for a cure? A better way of life?’

15th Jan ‘Edward Gory, Gahan Wilson, and Charles Adams are standing on a street corner when the Ghost Bus goes by. They all saw it, but each saw it differently. What did you see when it went by, or were you a passenger? Just who rides the Ghost Bus anyway, and where the heck is it going? Wait… is that Miyazaki’s Cat Bus coming the other way?
Tell us your best story in approximately 50 words about what you saw.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

 20th Jan ‘If you think you’ve got what it takes to terrify, scar and haunt our audience of 10,000 daily listeners, then we want your stories!’ 2000-word story on the theme of Silence. PAYING

21st Jan Poetry, flash and more on the (optional) themes of (be)longing, crystallization, grace, renewal, sublimation. PAYING

25th Jan ‘We want stories based in Wonderland. They do not necessarily have to involve Alice. Side stories about the other crazy characters in the world of Wonderland are welcome.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

26th Jan Poetry, prose and more on the theme of Protest, Prophecy, Play.

30th Jan ‘We are now collecting stories for our HOLIDAY 2020 book and we are looking for stories about the entire December holiday season, including Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, and New Year’s festivities too.’ Stories and poems. PAYING

31st Jan ‘A new charity magazine-sized flash-fiction anthology in support of victims of Australia’s bushfires. The theme is Valentine’s Day, so we’re after dark, suspenseful, menacing, memorable tales of human love gone wrong, or monster love gone right! We want to have your stories by end of January please! Aim for 1000 words.’ CHARITY/GOOD CAUSE ANTHOLOGY

31st Jan ‘Rebuilding Tomorrow will again focus on disabled and/or chronically ill protagonists but, rather than focussing on survival in the immediate aftermath of an apocalypse, we want stories set a significant time after an apocalyptic disaster.’ 2000-6000 words. PAYING

31st Jan Story 5000-15,000 words on the theme of Reign of Queens. ROYALTIES

31st Jan Poems on the theme of the Olympics. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

31st Jan Poetry inspired by the provided image. PAYING

31st Jan FEMALES 14-21 ONLY ‘Girls Right the World is a literary journal inviting young female-identified writers and artists, ages 14 through 21, to submit their work for consideration for the fourth annual issue. We believe that girls’ voices can and do transform the world for the better, and we want to help expand creative platforms for girls of all races, religions, and sexual orientations. We currently accept poetry, prose, short stories, lyric essays, and visual art of any style and theme. We seek work addressing personal experiences and global issues.’ (thanks to for this one)

31st Jan ‘ Room publishes fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and art by women (cisgender and transgender), transgender men, Two-Spirit and nonbinary people. We specifically encourage writers with overlapping under-represented identities to submit their work.’ Theme: neurodivergence. PAYING

31st Jan Survival horror 2000-5000 words. ‘There are 4 slots left to fill for this anthology, but we’re more interested in shorter stories this time around: 2,000 to 5,000 words in length.’ PAYING

31st Jan ‘Our theme for the spring is recognizing our earth’s beauty in order to remind ourselves that we inhabit a beautiful home that deserves to be taken care of.’ Poetry, fiction and more.

31st Jan LGBTQ Romance stories 12,000+ words. ‘Stories where romance blooms when someone extends a helping hand to someone else.’ ROYALTIES

31st Jan Poetry, flash, short fiction and more on the theme of Hopes and Fears.

31st Jan Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Beginnings/Endings. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

31st Jan ‘ Send us your stories related to the topic of “an abandoned place.” Feel free to interpret this however you wish. Only fiction must be topic-related. Poetry and nonfiction can be of any theme.’ PAYING

31st Jan Poem on the theme of True Love.

31st Jan ‘In this anthology, Temptation Press is looking for short stories that explore the naughty side of online dating.’ 4500-20,000 words. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

31st Jan Stories, poems and essays, 50-1000 words, on the theme of The Beautifullest.

31st Jan Poems on the theme of The American South. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

31st Jan Speculative fiction. PAYING

1st Feb Poetry, fiction and more. PAYING

1st Feb 300-5000-word story with the first line: Ravi had just worked a double shift and was having trouble keeping his eyes open. PAYING

1st Feb ‘Small Loves will collect the best LGBTQ+ micro- and flash-fiction that writers have to offer.’ PAYING

1st Feb ‘Tales from the Moonlit Path publishes dark, eerie, speculative stories. Horror is not a necessary element, although fiction should contain some aspect of the weak, frail, changeable human condition.’ Poetry and fiction. PAYING

1st Feb Once Upon a Hallowed Eve – an anthology of romantic ghost stories.’Samhain or one of its variants must be involved such as Halloween, All Hallow’s Eve, The Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos), as well as a solid emotional romance thread.’ 7000-15,000 words. PAYING

1st Feb Poetry, fiction and more, In English or Spanish, on the theme of Natural States. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

1st Feb ‘For this anthology, we want to see more-than-human stories that investigate humanity’s relationship with the rest of the natural world. We’re looking for stories that acknowledge humans as part of a larger ecosystem, for characters who strive for balance with (rather than dominance over) the creatures surrounding them, for settings that depict an optimistic balance of nature and technology.’ 500-5000 words. PAYING

1st Feb Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Milestones.

1st Feb Poetry on the theme of Healing.


(Publishers might not give out their pay rates on their submission pages, so make sure to find them out before signing a contract!)

‘Join fellow thinkers and our invited contributors on questions critical to the future of humanity and life on earth. Come to your own conclusions, and add your voice to the conversation.’ PAYING

‘What kind of stories we are looking for? Anything set in Asia or about Asia or Asians anywhere in the world. The stories/poems must be in English.’ SOME CONTRIBUTORS GET ROYALTIES

Weekly: ‘Poets Respond—a poem written within the last week about a public event that occurred within the last week will appear every Sunday.’ PAYING

Flash fiction.

Flash fiction and art.

‘The Awakenings Review publishes original poetry, short stories, dramatic scenes, essays, photographs, excerpts from larger works, and black-and-white cover art—all created by persons who have had a personal experience with mental illness.’


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.