Comps and calls for March 2020

Hello all! Is it March already? As I write this, the news is frightening and the weather isn’t great either. Time to wrap up warm, stay in and do some submissions and entries. A word about competitions, for those who don’t usually enter. I’ve heard it said that writing competitions are basically a lottery. Well, if lottery tickets were free, wouldn’t you take one?! All the comps I list are free! Also, if you proofread your work carefully, avoid clichés and follow the contest rules, then you have as good a chance as anyone. There are some wonderful comps this month – the Wergle Flomp, the BBC Short Story, the Spirit First, The Foley, and loads more! Some have lovely big prizes. And yes, people do win them – I won $1000 in the Wergle Flomp some years ago! You can always read more in my book, How to Win Writing Competitions (and Make Money). Have a go and good luck!

(Sorry for the late posting of this month’s update – I have a migraine at the moment.)

Best wishes,

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 Mar UK age 16-18 only: poem on the theme of Trees. PAYING (thanks to for this one)

4th Mar (Scroll down for:) Spectator Competition No 3139: grave thoughts You are invited to submit a four-line verse epitaph for a well-known person, living or dead (up to three entries each and please specify). Please email entries to by midday on 4 March.

6th Mar Poem, fiction (and other categories) on the theme of Taste. PAYING

6th Mar UK aged 18-30: poetry. PAYING

6th Mar ‘For this contest, write a creative, compelling, well-crafted story between 1,000 and 5,000 words in which one or more characters face this problem: there is more than one of something that there should absolutely, positively be only one of.’ PAYING

8th Mar ‘America Media is seeking submissions from young writers for this year’s Generation Faith Essay Contest. We want to hear from high school and college students interested in reflecting on the joys and challenges that come with living out (or struggling with) one’s faith in the midst of real life. All entries should be true personal essays, between 800 and 1,200 words.’ PAYING

9th Mar ‘The Award is open to British nationals and UK residents, aged 18 years or over on the submission deadline (9am GMT Monday 9 March 2020) only, who have a prior record of publication in creative writing in the United Kingdom.’ Short story up to 8000 words. PAYING

11th Mar Spectator Competition No. 3140: confessional ‘You are invited to submit a poem in the style of a famous poet in which they make a surprising confession. Please email entries of up to 16 lines to by midday on 11 March.’

13th Mar Short story up to 2200 words, on the theme of Summer. NON-CASH PRIZE

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

15th Mar Unpublished writers living in Scotland: speculative story showing the future of Scotland. PAYING

25th Mar Nonfiction on the theme of The Best We Could Do. ‘Please remove your name from your essay before uploading it. Entries up to 1,500 words in length will be judged on originality, compelling content, and the quality of written expression.’ PAYING

29th Mar Story up to 1000 words inspired by the ‘Stay Rude’ text and/or image provided. NON-CASH PRIZE

31st Mar Up to three poems on the theme of Meditation and/or mindfulness. PAYING

31st Mar UK Primary school pupils only: a poem about food waste. VOUCHER/OTHER

31st Mar Poem on any topic, up to 45 lines. PAYING

31st Mar ‘We are proud to present The Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing. We are looking for extraordinary unpublished submissions from emerging writers of sharp, culture-straddling writing that addresses identity in a global age.’ PAYING

31st Mar ‘The SLF $1000 Older Writers Grant is awarded annually, since 2004, to a writer who is fifty years of age or older at the time of grant application, and is intended to assist such writers who are just starting to work at a professional level… PLEASE NOTE: This grant, as with all SLF grants, is intended to help writers working within speculative literature.’ PAYING

1st Apr Humorous poem. PAYING


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

2nd Mar Short fiction. PAYING

3rd Mar Writing on the theme of The European Exchange. PAYING

4th Mar Story 800-3000 words on the theme of Success & Failure.

7th Mar Short fiction on the theme of Hallowe’en. PAYING

7th Mar ‘Our primary focus is to create and curate a variety of art and content, presenting our take on the multi-faceted nature of mental health purely through art-forms. We are trying to be present and supportive of each other, understand the importance and severity of mental health without invalidating or de-sensitizing it.’

8th Mar ‘Take a hard left turn from normal. Bring us your unsettling stories. If a common activity leads to violations of the laws of man or nature, your story may be perfect for this collection. Ideal genres: horror, crime.’ PAYING

8th Mar Speculative stories and poems by BAME writers. PAYING

8th Mar ‘Inspired by Robert Macfarlane’s work Underland (Penguin, 2019), Black Bough Poetry invite submissions of short poetry to the ‘Deep Time’ edition. As usual, profound, vivid and striking poems are the brief. Avoid cliché and aim for precision of poetic expression.’ Up to three micro-poems (each poem having fewer than 14 lines).

9th Mar Women only: poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Other Worlds. PAYING

10th Mar Poetry, flash and more. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES (thanks to for this one)

10th Mar Work by indigenous writers on the theme of Racism.

11th Mar Flash, short fiction and more on the theme of Africa: 2050.

13th Mar Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Unicorns.

14th Mar Poetry and prose on the theme of Polarity.

15th Mar ‘The theme is Sexual identity, gender and sexuality. If you have a piece of fiction, non-fiction or a poem that relates to our theme please feel free to submit it.’ PAYING

15th Mar ‘The stories we are looking for will show us what happens at the end of magic. Do the magical realms fade away out of existence forever? Or do they blend into another reality?’ 4500-17,000 words. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

15th Mar ‘This special issue of Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora is dedicated to creative artistry for children of the African Diaspora.’

15th Mar ‘ALLUVIAN is now taking submissions for the theme of our SPRING 2020 issue: Charred: Life in the Dark. We are looking for thoughtful, creative environmental works of bravery, deviance, burning, and hope. Accepting fiction, art, cartoons, audio, poetry, and video clips.’

15th Mar Poetry and prose on the theme of Re-casting Masculinity. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

15th Mar Speculative poetry on the theme of House and Home. PAYING

15th Mar Speculative fiction 1500-3000 words on the theme of Gotta Wear Eclipse glasses. ‘The future we all want. Examples might include effects of technology on the young (online learning, socialization), climate mitigation and adaptation, new opportunities to boldly go where none have gone before.’ PAYING

15th Mar Poetry, microfiction and more. ‘Headline’s version of restoration is the weaving of personal mythologies with history to challenge the internal and organically inspire social justice from within. We seek creative works that reflect the world we hope for; be it mythical, mystical, magical, or true.’ 10% of proceeds will go to California Fire Relief.

15th Mar Flash, short fiction and more on the theme of Wild Mercury.

15th Mar ‘Here at Periwinkle Literary Magazine, we hope to publish work that might not see the light of day due to being non-academic in nature. We want pieces that teachers have told you not to write. We want your sad girl poems, grotesque imagery, and abstract daydreams. The theme for our first issue is “Something old, Something new, Something borrowed, and Something blue”

16th Mar ‘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 Trophy Hunter. PAYING

17th Mar Poems on the theme of Luck. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

18th Mar ‘The Writers’ Cafe Magazine is open for submissions to poetry (up to 5 previously unpublished) and prose (Word count limit 1000), that adhere to the theme “Can you dig it?”(Archaeology).’

19th Mar ‘Who’s a “real Quaker” and who isn’t? What does it mean for someone to join and what responsibilities do we have for those who are in membership? What other “almost Quaker” identities exist and how do we relate to them?’ Poetry and more. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

20th Mar ‘This is an open call for submissions to a Poetry Exhibition which will be displayed across station platforms in Renfrewshire and Inverclyde as part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival (SMHAF). Anyone with an interest in exploring mental health and wellbeing is welcome to submit work.’ Poetry up to 20 lines on the theme of Perspectives. (thanks to for this one)

22nd Mar ‘Our winter seasonal theme is ‘Gift’. We would love you to send us poems, stories or creative constructs of your own, a selection of which will form a separate Winter strand on the website.’

23rd Mar Fiction and poetry on the theme of Baseball.

25th Mar ‘Poetry, Short Essays, Fiction, and Art by those affected by gun violence.’ PAYING, CHARITY/GOOD CAUSE ANTHOLOGY

30th Mar ‘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 Fire. PAYING

31st Mar Two page Terrors – that is, horror stories 400-550 words approx. PAYING

31st Mar Poetry. ROYALTIES

31st Mar ‘Stories about finding love when all hell breaks loose.’ LGBTQ stories 12,000 words+. ROYALTIES

31st Mar ‘In this anthology, Temptation Press is looking for short stories centred around the protection of the royal family.’ 4000-17,000 words. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

31st Mar Nonfiction.

31st Mar Poetry, short fiction, short plays and more.

31st Mar Poetry, flash, short fiction and more. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

31st Mar ‘We encourage both emerging and established poets who are sexual-trauma survivors to submit up to three (3) original, previously unpublished poems that tell their unique stories.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

31st Mar Short fiction on the theme of Dinovember. PAYING

1st Apr Tot Tales, 1000-5000 words. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES


1st Apr ‘ For this special issue, we are ONLY accepting work by folks who identify as having lived experience of madness, mental health challenges, mental illness, and/or neurodiversity, and who ALSO identify as belonging to the 2SLGBTQQIA community.’ Poetry, fiction, and much more. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

1st Apr ‘Looking for stories about faeries from Irish, English, Welsh and Scottish and other worldwide origins be they from the Seelie or Unseelie Court or the unaligned. Dark and Light elves are also welcome, as well as the more domesticated (household) fey.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES


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

‘Angela Poetry Magazine seeks poems that look upon the lighter and
brighter side of all aspects of life.’ ROYALTIES


Poetry chapbooks and full collections of poetry.

Vignette collection. ROYALTIES

Africa only: poem. ROYALTIES

‘Poets of conscience and courage, living everywhere on Earth, are invited
to submit to 45 Poems of Protest.’ POSSIBLE ROYALTIES

‘AURELIA LEO is open to original speculative fiction (horror, science fiction & fantasy) year-round with periodic, unannounced closures. All submissions should be aimed at an adult audience. Content can be explicitly erotic or violent, but we ask authors to use their discretion based on our current catalog.’ PAYING

Hardboiled thrillers.


Short story.

‘clavmag accepts writing from members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

every month we release a word, like laying an egg. take this word as inspiration and run with it in whichever direction you like.’

‘Poetry with grace and fiction with personality are most welcome; anything that sounds like an academic “workshop” or writers’ “colony” will be printed out and lit on fire.’ PAYING

‘We are looking for: novels (all genres accepted, but with a literary bent), memoirs/biographies/autobiographies, creative nonfiction, and writing/publishing reference books, and short story collections.’ ROYALTIES

‘MYSTIQUE is a themed anthology searching for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender erotic romance with elements of sci-fi and fantasy. Send us your cloaked aliens, masked shifters, and ballroom ghouls. We want to be enchanted by stories bordering on the cosmic, uncanny, and macabre.’ PAYING

Open until full: ‘We are looking for stories and poetry about Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring and the folklore surrounding them along with all other associated correspondence.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES


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