Comps and calls for April 2020

Hello all! Like many of us round the world, I’m at home and staying there, thanks to COVID-19. It’s not much fun and there are all sorts of issues – but has there ever been a better chance to catch up with your writing, submitting and entering? This isn’t much of a bright side to a deadly virus, but we might as well use our time as productively as possible.

My writing tip this month: if you’re in a difficult place mentally (or physically), don’t let that stop you from writing. Some of the best writing in history has come from those places. If the results are a bit edgy or weird – fine! Just make sure to proofread them, and submit them somewhere appropriate. Editors are often looking for pieces that stand out, so your risky, odd writing might be perfect for them!

I wish good health for you and your loved ones, and many writing successes to take your mind off things! Please look after yourselves as best you can.

I haven’t done my usual ‘April Fool’ among the listings this year, as it felt inappropriate.

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.


There’s no deadline available for this that I can find, and nor is there a list of rules anywhere. However, it might be worth having a go, especially if you happen to have a story written already. I assume that it’s for high school students writing in English…

Weekly: poem inspired by the news. PAYING

2nd Apr This is for children living in Wales, who are in year 6 or below: poem on the theme of Identity. NON-CASH PRIZE

3rd Apr Story 1000-3000 words inspired by one of the Spring-themed prompts. PAYING

8th Apr Spectator competition No. 3144: alphabetical. ‘You are invited to submit a poem, six lines at the most, containing all the letters of the alphabet. Please email entries to by midday on 8th April.’

10th Apr ‘Every year, QSF holds a flash fiction contest to create an amazing new anthology of queer speculative fiction stories. We ask authors to do the nearly-impossible – to submit a sci fi, fantasy, paranormal or horror LGBTIQA story that has no more than 300 words.’ PAYING

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

15th Apr ‘The beating drum of the climate crisis is a constant reminder that our planet is a closed, limited system, and that we’re currently living far beyond its boundaries. We are looking for short stories that help us imagine how humans can live within Earth’s planetary boundaries—at the individual level, yes, but more importantly at the level of organizations, communities, and societies, and at the level of a global human civilization.’ Up to 5000 words. PAYING

15th Apr Up to (and including) age 18 only: flash fiction up to 300 words. NON-CASH PRIZE

15th Apr Speculative story up to 1500 words on the theme of Forging. ‘The contest is open to non-professional writers (those who have not met eligibility requirements for SFWA or equivalent: sale of a novel or sale of 3 stories to a large-circulation publication.’ PAYING

19th Apr Canada only: poem up to 35 lines. ROYALTIES

19th Apr: UK only: poem up to 35 lines. ROYALTIES

26th Apr USA only: poem up to 35 lines. ROYALTIES

26th Apr Caribbean only: poem up to 35 lines. ROYALTIES

27th Apr ‘We invite you to write a poem about a member or members of royal families from countries around the world.’ PAYING

30th Apr Poems on the provided themes, all of which feature the Falun Gong. PAYING

30th Apr Poem inspired by the provided image. PAYING

1st May Poem up to 25 lines on the theme of Hope. ‘Poems will be judged by Dylan’s grand-daughter Hannah Ellis and poet Mab Jones, in 3 categories: 10 & under; 11-18; and over 18. A winner from each category will also be chosen and will receive a small prize.’ PRIZES (UNKNOWN WHAT)

1st May ‘This year’s theme is ‘The Impact of Conflict on Communities’ – We invite young people all across the world to write a poem, speech, or song, or create a piece of art reflecting on how a conflict has or is affecting a community.’ Also: ’75 – Create a poem, speech, song or piece of artwork to reflect on the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.’ And: ‘A Fight for Freedom – Highlight the contributions made by the countries of the Commonwealth in Africa and the Caribbean during the Second World War through a poem, speech, song or piece of artwork!’ PRIZES (UNKNOWN WHAT)


3rd Apr ‘A writing gallery created by writers of all sorts from around the world. From poetry to song lyrics, from essays to entire novels and short stories.’ Theme: Essential Elements.

3rd Apr ‘We invite submissions for an essay anthology that takes a contemporary look at silences around class and caste systems that divide us, to be co-edited by a collective of award-winning incarcerated writers and published by Coffee House Press. The pieces should tell the stories of the unseen and the unspoken, and articulate lines of our division. We encourage submissions from all walks of life and across the gender spectrum. Submit to: We are accepting essays, 2,500 – 7,500 words. Submissions open until April 3, 2020. All accepted contributions will be paid.’ PAYING (thanks to for this one)

3rd Apr Speculative fiction, poetry and more. PAYING

5th Apr ‘Strange Lands Short Stories: Packed with strange and distant places, from underground cities, undiscovered islands, ancient lands, hidden continents, civilisations on the moon and Mars this new book will bring together the tales of Washington Irving, H.G. Wells, Otis Kline, with Homer, Samuel Butler and a generation of modern writers for a thrilling read of speculative fiction.’ PAYING

6th Apr ‘Montana Mouthful seeks short fiction/nonfiction, poetry, and artwork submissions for its next issue, and this time the theme is “The Great Outdoors.” ‘

11th Apr Women writers only: ‘We publish adult literary fiction (novels and short story collections) and narrative non-fiction.’

12th Apr ’45 Poems of Protest – The Pandemic. The entire world is currently responding in unprecedented ways to the threat posed by the COVID-19 virus. We are all thinking and feeling our way through this unprecedented situation. This Breaking Call for Submissions asks all poets around the world to channel this intense experience into poetry.’

12th Apr Australians under the age of 25: Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Butter. PAYING

13th Apr ‘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 Big Brother. PAYING

13th Apr Poetry, prose and art on the theme of Renewal.

13th Apr Microfiction, flash, and Irish Language flash.

15th Apr ‘Our goal is to publish innovative and deeply resonant literature that embodies our core values of justice, awareness, and perspective. We seek unique, powerful writing that transports the reader to places unknown.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

15th Apr ‘We welcome experimental works, including vispo, hybrid, even GIF-poems if you got ’em!’

15th Apr 50 word fiction on the theme of Road Trip. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

15th Apr Short story 5000-8000 words. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

15th Apr ‘Send us your best murder mystery stories! There is one requirement: your story must include a trench coat. We want creativity! While we love Dick Tracy and Humphrey Bogart, we really don’t want any story to contain those particular characters. Give us new, unique tales.’ PAYING

15th Apr Fun speculative fiction. PAYING

15th Apr ‘Poems may be written on any subject, in any length, but the poet must currently be, or have been, employed as a service worker for a significant period of time (years, not months).’ PAYING

15th Apr ‘We ask all of our contributors to meditate on the creation of the piece we publish. This reflection is presented alongside the “finished” submission, both unveiling each author’s unique writing process and bringing the author’s voice into the interpretation of their writing.’ Theme: Food. PAYING

15th Apr Poetry and CNF on the theme of Dread/Desire. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES (Cathy’s note: only the first 100 submissions of the month are free, so act swiftly!)

15th Apr ‘For Volume 23, we are asking for your poems, short stories, essays, flash pieces and black and white 2D art on encounters with the edge, however you define it. Unpublished work is preferred, but we aren’t sticklers. Send us your best creative work exploring Appalachian Edge.’

15th Apr ‘A Flash of Summer will be devoted to flash fiction, poems and prose poems, and excellent art / illustration with a science fiction / speculative / slipstream vibe. All fiction should be under 1000 words for this call.’

17th Apr ‘A writing gallery created by writers of all sorts from around the world. From poetry to song lyrics, from essays to entire novels and short stories.’ Theme: Spiritual Struggles.

20th Apr Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Dissent.

22nd Apr Stories on the theme of Twenty. 2000-5000 words. PAYING

24th Apr ‘For our inaugural issue, Pocket Samovar invites poetry, short stories, essays, and creative nonfiction written around the theme of “dislocation/hyphenation.” For our online issue, we also invite film, multimedia, and visual art. Non-English language works are welcome so long as English translation is included or requested in the cover letter. Although Pocket Samovar is interested in creating a space for underrepresented Eurasian, post-Soviet writers, any works that address dislocation or hyphenation are welcome.’

24th Apr Poems. PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORS (Cathy’s note: Australian contributors are paid.)

24th Apr Microfiction based on science. PAYING

25th Apr Poetry, drama, fiction and more.

Until filled or 30th Apr: ‘ We adore Godzilla, we watch in rapture whenever giant monsters storms across a story, crushing cities, dreams and of course any other monster that gets in its way. Sure, so many of those old movies are hokey as sin now, hardly watchable at times. But we have faith that you can make us tiny mortals tremble once more.’ PAYING

30th Apr Poem on the theme of Punk. PAYING

30th Apr ‘Stories about finding love the second time around.’ LGBTQ stories 12,000 words+. ROYALTIES

30th Apr Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of The Weather. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

30th Apr ‘In partnership with Time To Change (Worcester), we are welcoming entries of poetry or short prose written to the ‘hard times happen’ theme.’ (Cathy’s note: although they’ve titled this as a comp, there’s no prize other than publication, so I’ve classed this as a call.)

30th Apr Poetry on the theme of: ‘Dark Side of the web- Bullying, Social Media and Smartphone addiction, Depression or Body Shaming.’

30th Apr ‘This anthology seeks to offer a channel for people under 22 to talk to older people about their experiences and concerns. We are looking for short stories, poetry, essay, memoir, from people under 22 discussing: What worries you? What angers you, or delights you? In other words: what’s on your mind?’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

30th Apr ‘Seeking short personal memoirs in prose, poetry and dramatic form up to 3,500 words for our third volume on the themes of travel, immigration and multiculturalism from a LGBTQ+ perspective.’ ROYALTIES

30th Apr Crime stories set in New England (an area of the USA) or by a New England author.

30th Apr ‘We are looking for tales that delve into the rituals and history of being a healer. How does one become a spirit walker? Can a tribe have more than one? How are they chosen? What are they asked to do by the tribe? Do they live apart? Do they have assistants or apprentices that help them? Are they reincarnated? Do they live many lives?’ 4500-17500 words. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

30th Apr Poetry and Art on the theme of Portraiture.

1st May “We’re editing an anthology of sensual flash fiction and prose poetry that’s inclusive, sex-positive, feminist, and offers positive portrayals of LGBTQA+, kinky, and poly people. We want to publish stories by authors and about characters from around the world, from diverse racial and class backgrounds, of diverse body types, abilities, and ages. All characters must be of legal age and express their consent.” Sensual Fiction and prose poetry. Length 50-2000 words. PAYING

1st May Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Upside Down.


1st May Short fiction celebrating Banned Books Week. PAYING

1st May ‘Looking for stories about fairytales as told from the villain’s perspective. No DC or Marvel retellings… fairytales such as Brothers Grimm… Genres we want are horror, Fantasy and paranormal romance.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

1st May ‘counterclaim is seeking new, original work for the inaugural 2020 publication of its online literary journal. the theme is starting fresh/new beginnings. note that we accept fiction, non-fiction, visual art, poetry, and we’re open to hearing if you’ve got something else in mind!’

1st May Poetry and art on the theme of Love. PAYING

1st May Poetry and fiction starting with: The door was locked. PAYING

1st May ‘We are looking for short story submissions that explore the shape of love and romance in the decades and centuries to come. There is no restriction on gender of characters or perceived orientation, including anywhere on the asexuality/aromanticism spectrum.’ PAYING

1st May ‘We are open to submissions of short fiction, poetry and visual art on the theme VAMPIRES. Note: For this issue, we will not be accepting work by straight, white, cisgender men.’ PAYING

1st May Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of the Wild West.

1st May ‘The theme for Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 7 is “surprise.” This anthology is ONLY open to authors who themselves are women, gender nonconforming, genderqueer and/or nonbinary who have not been published or scheduled to be published in the first six Best Women’s Erotica of the Year volumes edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel. Stories MUST be from the point of view of a character who is a woman, gender nonconforming, genderqueer and/or nonbinary.’ 2000-5000 words. PAYING

1st May Poetry and art on the theme of Spirits. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

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


Poetry, flash and short fiction on the theme of Growth.

‘We seek non-fiction proposals for text-only books about popular music, design, technology, computing, typography and related subjects. Please note that the obscurity of the subject-matter is not necessarily of any great concern for us. Obscurity is welcomed. This is about interest as much as it is about sales.’

Flash fiction, prose poetry, and art.

‘Goal Publications is looking for standalone works of a “furry” nature, meaning that your main character(s) must be anthropomorphic animals, or animals with a human-level of intelligence. (Think Redwall, Watership Down, or even general sci-fi/fantasy books with alien/mythical creatures that while still possessing a human-level of intelligence, are some sort of animal/creature.) We are looking specifically for works that truly utilize the species and characteristics of the anthropomorphic animals portrayed.’ ROYALTIES

Flash fiction up to 750 words.

‘Black Poppy Review is a literary arts journal featuring free verse poetry, flash fiction, and mini-chapbook collections (chaplets), of a darker nature. All is not as it seems at Black Poppy. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Find the key. Unlock the creaky gate on rusted hinges. Explore the dilapidated, mossy grounds. Discover hidden paths and nooks which lead to words that linger and haunt–poems of abandonment, discovery, enchantment, flora & fauna, ghosts, isolation, memories, nature, weathering, wonder, and the otherwise forgotten.’

Poetry, fiction and more. UNKNOWN PAYMENT (Cathy’s note: One source lists this as a paying mag, but nothing is mentioned on the website. Apparently there is a reading period, but we are left unenlightened as to when it is. As usual in this case, submit as soon as you can.)

Novels and collections of short stories.

‘We are a new online poetry magazine interested in what fascinates you, what perturbs you, and what keeps you up at night.’ Theme: Recovery. (Cathy’s note: There’s no specific deadline given for this, but as it’s planned to come out on May 15th, I’d submit sooner rather than later.)


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