Comps and calls for May 2020

Hello everyone,

Here we are again, and I’m thinking about those of you I know even a little – are you OK? Are your friends and loved ones OK? I hope so with all my heart. Whether I’ve chatted to you or not, best wishes and I hope you’re safe and well.

I had a strange and rather cheering experience this month: a poem of mine was rejected several years ago, but then a new judge looked through the old entries and liked mine, and so it is going to be written on a sign next to a sculpture in a beautiful park, in another country thousands of miles away! Isn’t that lovely? You never know what will happen with writing – give it a go.

Best wishes and stay safe,

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.


3rd May Trans and/or nonbinary writers only: essay on the theme of Trans Everyday. PAYING (thanks to for this one.)

3rd May ‘You must live in the Midwestern United States to submit. This includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.’ Poem up to 35 lines. ROYALTIES

3rd May Under 25s only: poem up to 35 lines. ROYALTIES

4th May ‘Please submit a full stage play script (minimum of 45 minutes in length, no maximum) and a one-page synopsis about the play in PDF format.’ PAYING

5th May Adventure writing by those age 11-21 (there are various age categories). PAYING

6th May Spectator Competition No. 3148: selfie. Some famous painters are thought to have slipped small self-portraits into their other work. What if a well-known novelist had done the same with an added minor character? You are invited to submit the resulting extract (up to 150 words and please specify author). Email entries to by midday on 6 May. NB. We are un-able to accept postal entries for the time being.

6th May ‘This one-year Award is an opportunity for a student who has graduated from any university in the UK, Ireland, the Commonwealth or the USA. During the year the Award Holder is expected to engage in a course of study or research, and produce a piece of original fiction, drama or poetry. Funding up to a maximum of £15,000 is provided to cover accommodation and living expenses during the course of the year.’ PAYING (LOTS)

10th May: Ireland only: poem up to 35 lines. ROYALTIES

10th May Scotland only: poem up to 35 lines. ROYALTIES

11th May New Zealand only: flash fiction up to 300 words. PAYING

13th May Spectator Competition No. 3149: lockdown lit. ‘You are invited to tweak an existing book or poem title for lockdown (e.g. Wigan Pier is Closed, ‘Not Upon Westminster Bridge’) and submit an extract of up to 150 words or a poem of up to 16 lines. Please email entries to by midday on 13 May. NB. We are unable to accept postal entries for the time being.’

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

15th May Poem for ‘Poetry in the Time of Coronavirus’ anthology. TRIP, CHARITY/GOOD CAUSE ANTHOLOGY

17th May Poem up to 35 lines. ‘Submissions are open to First Nations, Métis,and Inuit Canadians, Native Americans, and indigenous people livingaround the world.’ ROYALTIES

17th May ‘You must live in the prairie provinces of Canadaor the plains states of the USA to submit.’ Poem up to 35 lines. ROYALTIES

24th May England only: poem up to 35 lines. ROYALTIES

24th May India only: poem up to 35 lines. ROYALTIES

31st May Under-represented writers in the UK only: poetry and/or fiction on the theme of Tomorrow. PAYING

31st May Essay by ‘graduate and undergraduate high school students’ on one of the provided topics. PAYING

1st Jun ‘The International Human Rights Art Festival announces the creation of this new literary award, celebrating poetry, short stories and essays which use the written word to celebrate justice. This ideal may be imagined in any manner in which the writer sees fit, however, it must be based in our signature values of beauty, sincerity, vulnerability and engagement. We do not publish work or engage with artists whose work is based in anger, or stems from an “us v. them” mentality.’ PAYING


3rd May Story 800-2000 words on the theme of Mystery & Suspense. If your work is chosen, it will be read by a professional actor on the night of the performance.

3rd May Australians under 25: Comics and art. PAYING

4th May Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Stories from the Lockdown. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

6th May Short and sweet flash fiction.

7th May ‘We are looking for submissions of speculative autobiography from women and those who self-identify as women of all ages in the UK. Following the success of Disturbing the Beast, a collection of weird fiction stories by some of the best women writers in the UK, we are now on the lookout for submissions to an anthology of women’s memoir centred about experiences of mis-behaving bodies.’ PAYING

10th May ‘We are looking for pieces related to all things love, sex, and eroticism. But, we want to see your sensual expressions living within intersections.’ Poetry, prose and art. PAYING

10th May Poetry on the theme of Propaganda. Only Australian contributors will be paid.

10th May Poetry, essays and stories on the theme of Bacon.

11th May ‘Friends Journal comes out of the unprogrammed tradition of waiting worship, but many Friends throughout the country and the world have incorporated mainstream elements of Christian worship—pastors, planned sermons, liturgies, and even some sacraments. What are the different forms of pastoral worship and what are the unique challenges, benefits, and cautions for this style of Quakerism?’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

15th May ‘Adanna Literary Journal is a women focused print publication.  We are seeking essay, poetry, and creative non-fiction that speaks towards the experience of mothering in a time of crisis—caring for children, especially those with children in college returning from affected areas, those with younger children exposed to media and the anxiety of school shut-downs, as well as women who are caring for elderly relatives or those in the medical profession.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

15th May ‘ We go for stories that are dark, literary; we are looking for the creepy, the weird and the unsettling.’ PAYING

15th May ‘Chipper Press is looking for short stories that feature fully developed royal worlds of old. We want these stories to be middle-grader appropriate. Please watch the language. The stories we are looking for should feature a royal princess.’ 4500-17,000 words. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

15th May Poetry and prose.

15th May ‘FULL METAL HORROR 3: The Unknown is seeking short stories 2,000-7,000 words long. We’re after sci horror, cosmic horror, and bizzaro horror.’ PAYING

15th May Women over 60 only: scroll down to find Short Takes. Theme: Election Stories. (Cathy’s note; although this is billed as a contest, I only list contests that have prizes, so I’m treating this as a call.)

15th May Speculative poetry and fiction on the theme of Redemption. PAYING

15th May Theme: In the Labyrinth | Healing Pathways and Practices ‘We invite you to submit an essay up to 1000 words, a poem, or other artwork, in response to any of these prompts or what ‘In the Labyrinth’ means to you. We will choose several works to publish in our Quarterly and on our website.’

15th May Poetry, fiction and more. PAYING

15th May Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Edges and Borders.

15th May YA spec fic on the theme of Banned Books Week. PAYING

15th May Poetry, fiction and lots more on the theme of SUSTAINability.

15th May Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Plastic Identities. PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORS

15th May Poetry.

16th May ‘Not every hero survives. All heroes pay a cost, some the ultimate sacrifice. We’re examining that theme of ultimate sacrifice as key to heroism. Not only the willingness to sacrifice all, but the act of sacrifice for the greater ’cause,’ whatever that may be. These are tales of loss. Death can be a cost of heroism–but it might not be the greater loss come story’s end. Heroes die.’ 2000-9000 words. PAYING

25th May Poetry on the theme of Green.

31st May Poetry, prose and more. Marginalized writers highly encouraged to submit.

31st May ‘DUETDUET is an experiment in blind dates and/or happy accidents publishing equal amounts of work from two separate authors (perhaps strangers), oriented in opposite directions. the results are curiously perfect hot air balloons.’

31st May Poetry, fiction and more including the elements: Lobe, Parrot, and Half-life.

31st May ‘We are looking for stories about the humorous or serious sides of life after 60.’ Poetry or prose. PAYING

31st May Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Toxic.

31st May Poetry chapbooks.

31st May NEW ZEALAND AND AUSTRALIA ONLY: ‘We’re limiting this callout to current or former Australian or New Zealand residents and citizens. We want memorable, dark fiction/horror stories that could only happen (or be told) here in Australia or New Zealand. Be inspired by the people, country, history, geography, cultures, myths and legends, but please be culturally sensitive.’ 4000-8000 words (approximately) PAYING

31st May Fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and visual arts. Oyster River Pages looks for language, stories, and images that speak to what it means to be alive in this world.

31st May ‘Leaping Clear is accepting work for the Fall 2020 issue only from accomplished writers and artists with a dedicated meditation practice. Any and all traditions of meditation are acceptable: Buddhist, Sufi, Yoga, Christian, Jewish, TM, Mindfulness, and integrated mind-body practices such as yoga and qi gong. Please let us know in your cover letter if your dedicated practice is in a tradition we haven’t mentioned.’

31st May ‘For this anthology, Temptation Press is looking for short stories centered around what it means to be marked. Dig deep into your writing skillset to avoid a ‘typical’ erotic read. Pick one POV and show the reader what is happening. What does the mark stand for? How does one become marked? Is the mark a paranormal distinction? Is it a right of passage? Is it a clan distinction? Is it ownership? While this is an erotic collection, the plot is what our readers really want.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

31st May Poetry, flash fiction and more.

1st June ‘Send me your chilling horror, your stories that are set firmly in the genre, tagging the tropes and atmospherics of things that will cause you to have nightmares and not be able to escape the dark, even when you pull the covers over your head and sleep with the light on.’ PAYING

1st Jun ‘We are looking for afrofuturist fiction, poetry, and essays written by authors who are specifically of Black and/or African descent.’ PAYING

1st June ‘Future//Tense: Sex is an anthology of transfuturistic science-fiction exploring the way sex, intimacy, and kink may change over time, from the near future to far, on Earth or other planets, in humans or those from the stars.’ PAYING

1st Jun Poetry, fiction and more. PAYING

1st Jun ‘Send me your stories of lights in the sky, a storm that brings with it more than rain, comets that crash, aliens that secretly invade, or a wishing star that is hell-bent on revenge. The stories themselves do not have to take place in the sky, but the evil bad does need to come from it in some way or form. We are looking for horror.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY+ ROYALTIES

1st Jun ‘Every tradition has its holy days, sacred festivals, and important dates. Send us poems about Beltane, Dia de Muertos, Walpurgisnacht, and Diwali. Send us short fiction set during Anthesteria, Samhain, and Saturnalia. Send us essays about honoring Artemis and Pan for Arbor Day, how to avoid consumer madness during Yule, the recognition of (non-monotheist) holy days by school districts, and the portrayal of particular holy days in literature.’ Poetry, fiction and more. PAYING

1st Jun ‘The theme for our Summer 2020 issue is Heroes, however given this time of uncertainty we will also accept anyhealth-related story making this issue an open call. We encourage our community to use this creative outlet as a place of healing, exploration, and release of the anxiety that exists in the world right now.’

1st Jun ‘Bibliotheca Alexandrina is seeking submissions for Mother of Mountains: A Devotional for Cybele and Attis…The editor is interested in a variety of material, including but not limited to: prayers, poems, rituals, hymns, essays, artwork, short stories, plays, recipes, and new translations of ancient and public domain works.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

1st Jun Dark, eerie speculative fiction and poetry on the theme of The Great Outdoors. PAYING

1st Jun ‘Soul. Resistance. The end. We’re surrounded by energy, shared with symbols, some sacred, some just circuits, some nearly forgotten or unknown. Will you resist, or discover your frequency and share the universe?’ Poetry, short prose and art. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

1st Jun Poetry and essays on the theme of Split Tongues.

1st Jun Poetry and fiction on the theme of Lazy, Hazy, Crazy. PAYING


‘We have decided to launch a new magazine to complement our existing poetry journal that will feature a mixture of photography, poetry-graphy (like Instapoetry), short stories, six-word stories, and drawings. We plan on adding more genres to this mix after a few issues have been released.’ (Cathy’s note: it’s free to submit one poem – you only have to pay if you submit more.)

‘We publish novels, novellas, and collections in a variety of genres, and though we focus on science fiction, fantasy, steampunk, and horror, we’d love to branch out to speculative fiction, mysteries, non-fiction, and anything else you can come up with. Our goal is to publish fantastic books all year long.’ ROYALTIES

‘Another New Calligraphy seeks work exploring the human experience, our internal worlds, and life among others; these complex systems are often clearest in our slightest moments.’ Poetry, flash and lots more.

‘Hard-as-nails crime fiction. About 1500-5000 words.’ PAYING

‘CRAFT explores the art of fiction, celebrating both emerging and established writers. We focus on the craft of writing and how the elements of craft make a good story shine. We feature new and republished fiction, critical pieces on craft, interviews, book annotations, and much more.’ PAYING (Cathy’s note: thanks to for this one)

Poetry, fiction, art and more. ‘Themes: All things considered, Optimistic apocalypse, On doing nothing, When this is all over.’ PAYING

Fiction up to 2000 words.

‘Annick Press is currently accepting submissions of picture books, middle grade fiction, YA fiction, and non-fiction for kids of all ages. Our stories feature contemporary themes (even if the setting is historical) and aim to instill kids with the joy of reading.’

Canada only: ‘In these difficult times, Plenitude wants to hear your stories. Our call for submissions is asking for writers who identify as LGBTQ2S+ to share their experiences of isolation from a queer and/or intersectional and/or racialized viewpoint. How are you coping (or not coping) with self-isolation and social distancing?’ Poetry, fiction and CNF. PAYING

‘Plenitude Magazine is Canada’s only queer literary magazine. We aim to promote the growth and development of LGBTQ2S+ literature through online publication of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, book reviews, and interviews by both emerging and established LGBTQ2S+ writers. We especially encourage BIPOC and trans writers to submit their work. Submissions are open all year round to Canadian, American, and international writers.’ PAYING

‘As the publishing house of the Church of Scotland, Saint Andrew Press has an exciting and varied catalogue of around 200 titles… Our future publishing programme will continue to engage with a wide range of issues. Our titles will aim to help readers to discover, share and deepen their Christian faith and to explore spirituality, faith, culture and ethical and moral issues in today’s world.’

‘We publish picture books for readers aged up to 10 years.’

Flash fiction. PAYING

‘The Storyteller Series is a podcast bringing back classic radio theatre featuring engaging storytelling delivered to you monthly. From narrated tales to character driven stories performed by multiple voice actors. All will bring you on an audible journey.’ 7000-10,000 words. PAYING


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