Comps and calls for June 2020

Hello everyone,

I said to my webbie, “I must do a glossary. Some of the terms I use can be confusing.”

He gave me a withering look.

“You’ve already got one! It’s in the FAQs!”

To my surprise, he was right. I’d completely forgotten doing this! So if you’ve ever wondered what spec fic is, or SF/F/H, or flash, just click on the FAQs to find out. The one I haven’t mentioned there is MS, which means Manuscript. The plural is MSS.

Three cheers for webbies with memories!

I sometimes talk about my successes here, so I should talk about my less than successful attempts too. I have had a LOT of rejections recently. I don’t know whether or not there’s a particular reason – I usually find that both acceptances and rejections come in clumps anyway. After many years I still get that deflated feeling, but now I know not to draw any depressing conclusions from it (“I can’t write” “This piece is terrible” etc). After feeling sad for a little while, and occasionally boiling with righteous rage if the editor/publisher has said something unfair or unkind, I shrug my shoulders and get on with another piece, or send the same piece somewhere else after a re-read to see if there’s a problem with it.

This is a bumper edition, with extra opportunities without deadlines, so have a go!

Best wishes and stay safe,

Cathy x

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.


4th Jun 3 – 15 ten minute episodes of 8-10 minutes each (suitable for new platform Quibi – designed for mobile phones) showing what a sustainable society might look like. PAYING

15th Jun ‘…currently accepting entries for the eighth annual Christopher Hewitt Award. Named in honour of A&U’s first literary editor, the award showcases outstanding responses to the AIDS pandemic and the realities of individuals living with or affected by HIV/AIDS in the genres of fiction, poetry, drama, and creative nonfiction.’ PAYING

15th Jun Speculative flash fiction inspired by the provided image. PAYING

19th Jun One category (Chairman’s Prize) accepts entries from non-British citizens living overseas. British citizens and British Citizens living abroad: poems about lockdown. Three categories are over 70s only – one category is over 60s. Unlimited entries. PAYING

19th Jun Poems about the lockdown and beyond. CHARITY/GOOD CAUSE COMPETITION

28th Jun Poem by a poet living in Europe. ROYALTIES recommend the waxpoetryart comps – I have experience of them, and they’re lovely)

28th Jun Nigeria only: poem up to 35 lines ROYALTIES

28th Jun Lighthearted poem up to 35 lines. ROYALTIES

30th Jun ‘The award is open to writers who have published a novel or a book-length collection of fiction with a reputable book publisher, or a minimum of three short stories or novellas in magazines or journals of national distribution. Digital-only publication and self-publication do not count toward this requirement.’ For manuscripts of short stories, two or more novellas, or a combination of short stories and novellas, between 150 and 300 pages. PAYING (LOTS)

1st Jul Novel MS. PAYING (Cathy’s note: there are different publishers to submit to, depending whereabouts in the world you live.)


2nd Jun Poetry, fiction and nonfiction by immigrants and refugees. ‘Please note than, in addition to to our usual eligibility criteria, we are also accepting, for this volume only, submissions from non-immigrant artists who have experienced displacement as a result of climate disaster.’ Theme: Climate. PAYING

5th Jun Poetry, prose and especially prose poems, on the theme of Carnival.

5th Jun Poetry and more.

7th Jun Poetry and fiction on the theme of Secrets.

7th Jun Spec flash fiction on the theme of Taste. PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORS (Cathy’s note: they pay if they include your piece in one of their anthologies.)

8th Jun Women only: poetry and fiction on the theme of Wildlife. PAYING

8th Jun Poetry and more for this Quaker magazine. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

11th Jun Nonfiction poetry on the theme of Science.

12th Jun Spec fic 1000-5000 words on the theme of It Calls from the Sky. ROYALTIES

12th Jun Poetry, short fiction and more on the theme of Challenges.

14th Jun 2000-word story on the theme of Something Left on the Doorstep. ‘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!’ PAYING

15th Jun ‘Send your flash memoir and fiction of up to 300 words, your poetry of up to 12 lines, and your visual art.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

15th Jun ‘The writing can be about cancer, loss/grief or surviving cancer, but doesn’t have to be. I’m only accepting UK submissions for this one. I’m looking for: Creative non-fiction or Short stories up to 2000 words Poetry up to 50 lines. Send them to with a bio of up to 100 words.’ CANCER CHARITY ANTHOLOGY

15th Jun Drabbles: ‘ Unlike ‘Japanese Fantasy Drabbles’ which was all one culture, this anthology is looking for stories set in different Southeast Asian countries; such as Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Laos, Indonesia, Cambodia, and the Philippines. Main characters should be Asian, from the same country as your setting.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

15th Jun ‘Fire and Ice is seeking full length novels that take place during the holiday season (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years.) Novels should preferably be light hearted and humorous, and do not have to be romantic in nature, but can be.’ YA/NA. ROYALTIES

15th Jun Fiction 1500-4500 words on the theme of Race, Identity and Gender.

15th Jun Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Lost.

15th Jun Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Delicious.

15th Jun Speculative poetry on the theme of Sex. PAYING

15th Jun Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Resistance.

15th Jun ‘Through Other Eyes is an anthology of tales featuring non-human protagonists. Become someone—and something—else. Submissions are now open! We’re eager for monsters, androids, vampires, elves, and aliens, but we’re especially excited to meet species of your own design.’ 1500-5000 words. PAYING

16th Jun ‘We want flash fiction that surprises and engages us; that’s powerful and dynamic; that’s unexpected and humorous; and that dazzles us with language and emotional resonance. Pieces should be more than a punchline or joke, and submissions that trade on body part humour are unlikely to be accepted.’ 750 words or fewer.

16th Jun ‘The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts is looking for, as you might guess, “compressed creative arts.” We accept fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, mixed media, visual arts, and even kitchen sinks, if they are compressed in some way.’ PAYING

20th Jun Poems and stories on the theme of New Build.

21st Jun ‘ Write us a story or poem or song that responds or reacts or is inspired  by the poem Tymes goe by Turns, (by Robert Southwell) or some concept in it. We are also open to  musical settings of the actual poem – I think there is at least one  already.’

26th Jun Poetry and fiction. PAYING

26th Jun ‘I’m seeking tales of cosmic dread featuring protagonists who are hiding an otherness. White male mechanics who are the epitome of traditional masculinity in public but submissive on the weekends. Respected academics who collect life-sized dolls. Inner city teenagers who secretly want to live in a library not graffiti it. Protagonists who aren’t what those around them would consider normal, but aren’t publicly defined by it.’ 1000-10,000 words. PAYING

30th Jun ‘We’re looking for previously unpublished prose by writers of colour—non-fiction especially, but we will consider fiction and poetry—on nature, place, and environment.’ PAYING

30th Jun Speculative fiction novellas 17,500-40,000 words. ROYALTIES

30th Jun Poetry.

30th Jun Australia and New Zealand only: ‘We are looking for short stories 5000 – 15000 words in which the presence and the methods of the great detective can be felt and referenced, but where he himself can be mentioned but not actually appear.’ PAYING

30th Jun Poetry on the theme of Landscape.

30th Jun Western horror. ‘Stories should take place in the western United States between 1850 and 1900. This can include western Canada and northern Mexico. Preferred length is 1k to 5k words, although we will accept stories to 8k words. We tend to see too many sheriff stories.’ PAYING

30th Jun ‘Women of the Woods is an upcoming collection about the lore, myths, and legends of women who dwell in the forest.’ Stories 2000-8000 words. PAYING

30th Jun Writing on the theme of Solitude. ‘Here at Tiny Spoon, we are especially interested in experimental work, although not exclusively. If you’ve had trouble finding a home for your work because it doesn’t fit into generally recognized categories, chances are your home is right here with us.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

30th Jun Canada only:  ‘We accept unsolicited submissions for publication in our digital magazine from Canadian writers in the following categories: fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and children’s literature (up to and including YA).’ PAYING

30th Jun Tales of deadly women who will stop at nothing until vengeance is theirs. 5k-10k words. PAYING

30th Jun ‘We are open to submissions of full-length poetry collections. Submissions should be at least 40 pages, We have no definitive preference for what are looking for, we enjoy a variety of genres and styles and consider anything. If it’s good enough for us we’ll take it. Please consider buying a book so you know what we produce and how we publish, though this will not affect your chances at all.’ ROYALTIES (thanks to the poet John McCullough for this one)

30th Jun Fiction 2000-8000 words on climate change and the future. PAYING

30th Jun ‘Submitted works should be inspired by one or more of the themes: isolation, disruption, abandon, and what is essential. It is up to the author to define and make the argument for what is essential in times like these.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

30th Jun ‘Our theme for 2020 is Lifelines: books that help us get through periods of isolation. “Books” can be any one-way form of communication: a box of letters, a podcast, skywriting — anything the recipient can’t easily reply to. “Isolation” can be either physical or social: an astronaut alone in a spaceship; a person in a place where no one speaks their language; someone in prison.’

30th Jun Gothic flash fiction up to 1500 words. PAYING

30th Jun Love poems.

30th Jun ‘In this post-apocalyptic anthology, nothing matters except survival. In a world full of humans pitted against each other, how can there be anyone left to trust?’  Fiction 5000-15,000 words. ROYALTIES

30th Jun Writing and art on the

30th Jun ‘At the for cartoons, short stories and funny takes on life.’ Writing by women on the theme of Conspiracy Theory.

30th Jun ‘We don’t strictly adhere to a theme, but works that deal with ISOLATION, SURVIVAL, REVIVAL, MAKING CONNECTIONS, and MAKING THINGS HAPPEN are welcome in the current submission period.’ Poetry, fiction and more.

30th Jun New Zealand only: Flash up to 250 words on the theme of Matariki.

30th Jun ‘In celebration of Anne Sexton, The Gold Issue will feature poetry, prose, and essays about and inspired by Anne Sexton and Transformations.’

30th Jun ‘We want complete stories that explain the last war of the elven race.’ 4500 – 19,500 words. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

30th Jun Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Ritual.

30th Jun Poetry on the theme of Promise. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

1st Jul Poetry and prose on various themes. (Cathy’s note: the first 100 submissions are fee-free each month, but after that they charge, so get in quickly!)

1st Jul Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Love and Sacrifice. PAYING

1st Jul Fiction 7000-15,000 on the theme of Elemental Magic. CONTRIBUTOR COPY+ ROYALTIES

1st Jul 2000-word story on the theme of Ghost Ships.  ‘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!’ PAYING

1st Jul Poetry, flash, art and short fiction on the theme of The Tiny Red Suitcase. PAYING (Cathy’s note: those of us outside the USA may submit electronically.)

1st Jul ‘Still Point Arts Quarterly is now accepting writing submissions (fiction, creative non-fiction, essays, poetry; 5000 words maximum) on the theme The Secret Life of Objects.’

1st Jul Science Fiction stories of various lengths. PAYING

1st Jul Story up to 3000 words. Must include an election or voting process.


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

Three-line poems. PAYING

‘We welcome writers/artists/creators of all ages, backgrounds, sexual identities, and experience, but we’re mainly a publication for women by women. In particular, we want dissections of the ways in which female sexuality is a form of unpaid labour, and the various ways we are rebalancing the scale.’ PAYING

‘We’re on the hunt for: novels, novellas and poetry collections. Our focus is: literary fiction. Here is a list of adjectives that define the writing we want to publish: intelligent, experimental, real, deep, alternative, fresh, brave, thought-provoking.’

Record yourself, saying what word you’d like to bin and why.

Poetry and flash fiction.

Poetry, interviews, reviews, flash fiction, or short stories. PAYING

‘This project aims to bring as many art forms as possible into conversation with each other through the expression of a unifying theme. On Sunday evening I’ll post the prompt which gives you till the following Saturday, Midnight to submit your pieces.’

Various MSS.

‘Derelict Lit exists to republish writing that is hard to find because the original publisher is defunct. No restrictions on form, genre, or word limit.’

‘We accept art in the following categories : poetry, essay, visual art, & photography.’

Articles, short stories and poems.

‘SPORAZINE is a journal of experimental literature written by trans people.’

‘Saccharine Poetry is a “Christian journal” – what we mean by that – is that Saccharine Poetry is interested in creatively engaging with Christianity and culture.’

‘One Art aims to publish poetry that adds value to the life of our readers. A poem must not only be good, it must be lasting. Ask yourself what poems you return to again and again. Those are the poems we want to share with the world.’

‘Highland Park Poetry has been posting daily poems on our Facebook page. These are brief poems about the coronavirus, sheltering at home, as well as poems that inspire calm and perseverance. Featured poems are then published on our website under “Schedule of Events.” Please visit and/or like/follow us on Facebook. TO SUBMIT – email poems as .doc attachment or as text in body of the email. Shorter poems preferred.’

‘Established in 2016 AURELIA LEO is an independent publisher and bookseller. Located in Louisville, Kentucky we specialize in diverse speculative fiction, namely: horror, fantasy, science fiction, alternate history, and paranormal romance.’ PAYING


‘We at Three Crows want your stories of dark and weird fantasy, horror, and sci-fi, with complex characters making morally ambiguous decisions.’ 1000-10,000 words. PAYING

‘We publish fiction, poetry, personal and critical essays, reviews, interviews, novel excerpts, and the unclassifiable. First and foremost, fiction/poetry/personal essays should be true to the author’s intentions and censor nothing in response to the vague concept of an audience.’

Pandemic diaries by the over 50s. (Cathy’s note: they limit monthly submissions, so send your diary off ASAP!)

MSS of poetry, fiction and more.

‘Dead Head Reviews accepts submissions of book and movie reviews, essays, articles, short stories/poems, interviews.’

‘We face an unprecedented era of extremity under Covid-19. We share that as humans. Our stories differ across nation and other structures that web the human world. We can witness from where we are and share what we witness. Let’s write as one world of poets.’

‘Submit your poetry, prose, art and photography for publication in our first ever issue- we’re looking for work that is honest, personal, and riveting.’

‘Share with us your lockdown experience. We want to hear your lockdown story. We are looking for stories of hope, resilience and strength in this situation that has blanketed the whole world.’

‘We publish expressive writing, free writing, non-fiction, personal essay, memoir, reflective essay, poetry, prose, contemplative discourse, and creative non-fiction—all that originate from a writing prompt—by both established and emerging writers.’

Fiction, poetry and more.

‘The “Poetry is Like Bread” Ghazal is a collaborative poem created by a world of poets to nourish us all through the Pandemic and to envision the world After.’

Poetry with both Asian and speculative elements.

‘Poetry X Hunger is urging poets in this Now More than Ever moment to use their gift of words to raise voices against hunger as it accompanies the pandemic. Please consider writing a poem focused on this new hunger threat.’

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

UNTIL FULL: ‘Drabbles about the four horseman of the apocalypse.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

‘We are open to submissions of full-length manuscripts of poetry, prose, and translated texts year-round at’


‘We’re interested in previously unpublished writing on mental illness, neurodivergence, and suicide prevention. Send up to three poems or one prose piece in the body of the email.’ PAYING


Leave a Reply

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