Comps and calls for February 2020

Hello all! How are you all getting on? I’ve had another busy month, and I’m writing this at nighttime on January 31st. The UK is about to leave the EU, and I’m wishing that I’d done more submissions this month and less online arguing about politics… Anyway! I’ve had a couple of acceptances, and I have lots of ideas fizzing away, so I hope I’m going to find more time to write and submit this month. I’m still writing the play that was commissioned, and trying to put a book together.

Good luck this month! Have a go at a few things you wouldn’t normally try, and exercise those writing muscles!


Cathy x

Ps. 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 Feb ‘2020 marks the 20th anniversary of the Waterman Fund. To celebrate this milestone, the Fund has created a reflective essay prompt focused on changes in the wild.’ PAYING

3rd Feb ‘Free to enter, the Prize aims to find the best life writing from emerging writers from across the UK. The Prize defines life writing as ‘intended to be true’, reflects someone’s own life journey or experiences and is not fiction. The competition is open to writers who have yet to publish a full-length work or have a literary agent.’ PAYING

5th Feb ‘Spectator Competition No. 3135: just the job. Dominic Cummings’s recent job advert said that the ideal candidate for one of the positions on offer might resemble a weirdo from a William Gibson novel. But perhaps there are other fictional characters out there who might fit the bill. You are invited to submit an application letter for a job at No. 10 from a fictional character of your choice (please specify). Please email entries of up to 150 words to by midday on 5 February.’ PAYING

12th Feb ‘Spectator Competition No. 3136: love me don’t. You are invited to submit a lonely hearts ad guaranteed to send those looking for love running in the opposite direction. Please email entries of up to 150 words to by midday on 12 February.’ PAYING

15th Feb ‘Persimmon Tree’s mission is to bring the creativity and talent of women over sixty to a wide audience of readers of all ages. We are looking for work that reveals rich experience and a variety of perspectives. The Editors choose a different Short Takes topic for every issue. Short Takes are usually short pieces, fiction or non-fiction (250-500 words), but can also be topical poetry, sometimes even drawings or photography.’ Topic: “When I Was 17…”

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

16th Feb ‘Submit original interactive fiction stories with a supernatural romance theme. Stories should be at least 6000-10000 words long in total and must be written in English.’ PAYING

28th Feb ‘Calling all writers! We have partnered up with the Northumbrian Words Project and the Northumbrian Language Society to bring you a new writing competition which offers writers the chance to celebrate the North East dialect. We’re inviting adults, aged 20 and over, to submit contemporary short stories between 500-1000 words in length which use The Word’s Word Bank of Lost Dialects as their inspiration.’ PAYING

29th Feb Flash fiction. PAYING

1st Mar ‘Survival horror story involving three central characters (optional secondary characters) who become trapped at dusk with one or more forces outside that are capable of killing them. Only one of the three central characters survives until dawn.’ PAYING (thanks to for this one)

1st Mar Poetry and more. PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORS (Cathy’s note: Only USA contributors paid)

1st Mar Poem, fiction or CNF on the theme of Perspectives.


2nd Feb Poetry by women on the theme of ‘Surprise us. What does 2020 mean to you? Knock yourselves out. We’re open to time, the universe, your biome, any old atom, particle, tear, hiccup. Apocalypse, crazy hope, Pollyanna world view, astral day dreams…’

3rd Feb ‘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 Parasites. PAYING

4th Feb Fiction and more on the theme of Algorithm.

5th Feb ‘The London Reader is looking for short stories, minifiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and art that reveals the human stories behind inequality (in all its forms: between classes in cities, between generations in communities, between rural and urban regions, and between countries), poverty, end-of-an-era (fin de siècle) decadence, billionaire indifference, millennial survival, any form of wealth gap, and other experiences of living poor on the growing bottom rung.’

6th Feb Poetry, prose and more on the theme of God/dess.

9th Feb ‘Raconteur is a literary magazine publishing engaging, interesting, eclectic and witty writing and artwork by international writers and artists, online and in print, 3 times per year.’ Poetry, fiction and more. PAYING

10th Feb Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Green.

10th Feb ‘We are looking for a grand adventure in search of treasure! It can be an archeologist trying to uncover and ancient secret, pirates in search of fortune, or a hapless bystander who stumbled upon a clue and roped into a concpiracy. We are looking for stories with twists and turns, following clues to unlock the secrets of the hidden treasure.’CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

11th Feb Flash, short fiction and more on the theme of Contemporary Japan.

14th Feb ‘Eligible poets should currently be based in the UK and ROI. Each issue includes authors who share a connection to Northern England or whose poems explore ‘the North’ thematically or tangentially. Please note: the poets we publish in our magazine don’t exclusively live in the North or write about it – our mission is include strong mix of work.’ Up to three poems.

15th Feb Poetry, fiction and more. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

15th Feb Spec fic by women-identified authors. PAYING

15th Feb ‘The pages of Restoration v. 1 seek creative works that reflect the world we hope for; be it mystical, magical, fictional, or true.  Please consider this a playground for your imagination to bring out the best of us at this critical juncture. Such creative pause is nourishment for the resistance; nourishment we need to create momentum.’

15th Feb Spec fic 1000-5000 words on the theme of It Calls from the Forest. ROYALTIES

15th Feb Poetry, fiction and more.

15th Feb ‘National Tell A Fairy Tale Day is February 26th and we’d love to have a new version to share with our readers that day! Send us one previously unpublished fairy tale retelling, up to 1500 words max. There are no restrictions on which fairy tales you may choose to retell.’

17th Feb ‘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 Remote Places. PAYING

20th Feb Poetry. (Cathy’s note: there’s a submission fee for fiction and nonfiction, but not for poetry.)

21st Feb Poems, essays and more on the theme of Ecological Citizenship. PAYING

22nd Feb ‘We’re looking for stories of high adventure that feature one weapon-wielding woman and one woman whose strengths lie in softer skills, but who is just as powerful in her own right. You’re free to choose any setting – from historical to modern to wildly futuristic.’ 3000-7000 words approx. PAYING

24th Feb Poetry and short prose with elements of nature, on the theme of Stripes. PAYING

28th Feb Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Kinship.

28th Feb Poetry and fiction. PAYING

29th Feb ‘We are excited to share this open call to writers of horror and dark speculative fiction. We want you to submit your best short story between 2,000 and 6,000 words for our forthcoming charity anthology “Black Dogs, Black Tales”.

This will be a dark, doggy-themed collection where absolutely anything with a canine connection goes, with one essential caveat – the dog does not die. Everyone else can be slaughtered by zombies, or lost in the depths of deep space, but the dog (or dogs) will always survive. Think outside the kennel.’ CHARITY/GOOD CAUSE ANTHOLOGY

29th Feb Urban nature writing on the theme of Sky. PAYING

29th Feb ‘Stories of serendipitous meetings that lead to happy ever after.’ LGBTQ stories 12,000 words+. ROYALTIES

29th Feb ‘The anthology will include all original stories centering around the idea of boys’ lives being disrupted in some way. It could be through vanishing mysteriously, experiencing a life-altering event, or…? We are seeking well-written, imaginative tales that explore this idea to its fullest.’ PAYING

29th Feb 3 poems.

1st Mar Story 800-2000 words on the theme of Young & Old. PERFORMANCE

1st Mar ‘Contra Viento is a journal for art and literature that seeks to understand rangelands in all their varied forms. Rangelands are the tundra and the steppe, the prairie and the plains, the shrubland, the savanna, and the desert. These places are defined by their scale: rangelands are vast. And they are defined by what they often lack: water, people, and popular resources.’ PAYING


‘Hi. You’re here because you’re a funny person who wants to write satirical nonsense on a website that even search engine bots avoid. You will earn $2.50 USD per article you sell us because money is hard to come by nowadays and we’re generous.’ PAYING

Speculative hybrid fiction. ‘Some examples of hybrid fiction are dark fantasy, steampunk westerns, historical fantasy, weird westerns, and crime fantasy. There are near-endless combinations and limitless possibilities for a writer or artist creating hybrid work.’ PAYING

Original or reprint stories of suspense and horror. PAYING

‘Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal / Year-Round / Poetry, Inspirational/Positive pieces only. Accepts poetry submissions from 13-16 year olds, in addition to adults.’ (Cathy’s note: it’s free to submit one poem. There are fees for submitting more poems, however.)

Poetry for the journal or for their BoxSet series. SOME CONTRIBUTORS GET CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES (Cathy’s note: the chapbook poets get contributor copies)

Horror collections and novellas. PAYING

Deadline TBA: ‘Horror and underground locations. Ideas: Something sinisters dwells in the sewers. What lives in the subway and comes out at night? You live in the tunnels to escape the zombies/aliens/etc. Secret society that works in underground labs. Virus in the flowerbeds. The graves aren’t quiet. An ancient/alien/mythical being/mechanism is unearthed in the mines/caves.’ 20,000 – 40,000 words. ROYALTIES

Poetry by European poets (yes, that includes the UK!) (Cathy’s note: I have experience of waxpoetryart and they’re lovely.)

‘We are exclusively interested in work by those often marginalized in literary spaces, including people of color; women, agender, gender non-conforming, genderqueer, non-binary, trans, and two-spirit people; LGBQIA people; people with disabilities; and people living at the intersections of these identities.’ Poetry, fiction and nonfiction. PAYING


Science fiction stories. PAYING

Essays. (Poetry and fiction will open later in the year.) PAYING

Short SF/F stories. PAYING

Short story or poem. PAYING

Speculative fiction. PAYING

Fiction. PAYING

Poetry chapbooks. PAYING

‘Taking nonfiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. Roe v Wade -elated includes the patriarchy, toxic masculinity, an ode to RBG, reproductive freedom, the suffrage movement, and other aligning topics. This column will run forever, and we hope to publish digital chapbooks along the way.  Proceeds from any chapbooks would benefit Planned Parenthood’ CHARITY/GOOD CAUSE

‘We welcome erasure poetry created from the words of the White House Occupant.  This could include tweet threads, entire or partial speeches, or (……)  Submissions vary from extravagantly colorful to black marker taken to text. This column will run until he is VOTED OUT!’


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