Comps and calls for August 2020

Hello everyone,

Many, many thanks to my Patreon supporters. You are WONDERFUL.

It’s been a busy month – why does life do that? Why is it sometimes quiet and then everything happens all at once? Anyway – lots of opportunities this month. Have fun with them and if you’re busy too, good luck fitting them in!

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.


Cathy’s note: Although the deadline for this Galley Beggar Press Story Prize is in September, there are some no-fee entries available for those on a low income. These are allocated on a first come, first served basis, so if you have a suitable story and are on a low income and want to enter, get in there quickly!

5th Aug Spectator Competition No 3161: bout rimes ‘You are invited to supply a sonnet with the following rhyme words in the given order: dead, sun, run, mead, lead, done, fun, weed, never, frost, shrills, ever, lost, hills. Please email entries to lucy AT by midday on 5 August.’

7th Aug ‘On the first Friday of every month, a new set of story prompts will be revealed. You will have 55 hours to submit your best 500-word (or fewer) story for the chance to win… (drumroll)… $500!’ PAYING

12th Aug Spectator Competition No. 3162: double time ‘You are invited to supply double dactyls on stars of popular or classical music (a maximum of three entries each). Please email entries to lucy AT by midday on 12 August.’ PAYING

14th Aug UK and ROI only: novel by an unpublished writer. PAYING (Cathy’s note: self-published authors may submit, I think, Check the criteria carefully!)

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

23rd Aug India only: poem up to 35 lines. ROYALTIES, POSSIBLE CASH PRIZE

23rd Aug Nigeria only: poem up to 35 lines. ROYALTIES, POSSIBLE CASH PRIZE

30th Aug UK only: poem up to 35 lines. ROYALTIES, POSSIBLE CASH PRIZE

30th Aug Canada only: poem up to 35 lines. ROYALTIES, POSSIBLE CASH PRIZE

31st Aug Up to 2 poems. PAYING

31st Aug USA only: YA fantasy short stories about a person facing and overcoming a monster. PAYING

31st Aug UK only: ‘We want to hear your tales of time spent on or by our canals and rivers. Write us a story in 300 words or less about your most memorable visit to the waterways.’ NON-CASH PRIZE

31st Aug Published Canadian writers only: application for a residency. PAYING

31st Aug Flash fiction 800-12,00 words on the theme of Humans and Djinn living together in harmony, and of course, occasional conflict. PAYING

31st Aug ‘For VIRUS POEMS we’re asking for your response to the pandemic and the times we’re in now.PAYING (SUBJECT TO FUNDRAISER)

1st Sep Traditional and/or modern sonnet. PAYING


2nd Aug Poems about body image aimed at the middle and high school reader. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

2nd Aug Dark poetry and fiction on the theme of Mythopoeia. (Cathy’s note: It’s free to submit until their free submission allocation is used up, so get your sub in as quickly as you can!)

3rd Aug Black voices only: ‘We have recently published the moving poem by Prince Bush, and he has generously allowed it to be an inspiration for a new series called Types of Burns, for Black voices who have something to say about this moment.’ PAYING

3rd Aug Spec flash fiction on the theme of Sixth Sense. PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORS (Cathy’s note: they pay if they include your piece in one of their anthologies.)

7th Aug Fantasy flash, short fiction and poetry. PAYING

7th Aug Flash, fiction and more on the theme of John Prine.–submit.html

8th Aug Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Sudden Change.

11th Flash and short fiction on the theme of Central Park.

14th Aug ‘Understorey Magazine publishes stories based in life experience and told through fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and visual art. We feature writers who identify as female or non-binary and who also have a strong connection to Canada.’ Theme: Gender and technology. PAYING

14th Aug 2000 word story on the theme of The Dark Web. ‘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 Aug Women over 60 only: writing on the theme of Justice.

15th Aug Theme: Goodness. ‘We invite you to explore this subject with us in poetry, story, memoir, or creative non-fiction.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

15th Aug ‘Denver Horror Collective is looking for stories of the Wendigo. The point of view could be a person becoming the Wendigo, from a Wendigo, pursued by a Wendigo, or a witness to a Wendigo-esque situation unfolding.’ 3000-12,000 words. PAYING

15th Aug Country/Small Town Romance, 5000-50,000 words. ROYALTIES

15th Aug 50-word story. (Cathy’s note: most accepted submissions don’t get any money, but every month there’ll be a ‘story of the month’ that receives cash.)

15th Aug Prose poetry, flash fiction and essays on the theme of Water. PAYS ONE CONTRIBUTOR—water.html (Cathy’s note: editor’s choice will receive $50.)

15th Aug ‘The Enchantress: An Erotic Collection’. 4000-17,000 words. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

15th Aug ‘A new world is struggling to be born. How do we midwife this emergence collectively and learn to live in new relationship with the Earth and all beings?’ 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 the theme means to you.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

15th Aug Poetry on the theme of Politics. PAYING

15th Aug ‘Mizmor is an annual anthology considering high-quality poetry that expresses spiritual experiences with a strong emphasis on the relationship between the modern world and ancient wisdom. We favor true experiences with striking imagery, we do not accept devotional-religious poetry.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

15th Aug Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Social Justice.

16th Aug Fiction and nonfiction.

16th Aug ‘We are looking for essays of around 300 words on the particular work of art—be it a work of visual art, performing art, or literature—that you are turning to right now. It could be an appreciation of the art you have access to from your home. It can also be a remembrance of the art you wish you could see or hear right now, or a trip to a museum or arts organization that you wish you could relive.’ PAYING

23rd Aug ‘We invite you to submit your best work created in 2020 for potential inclusion in a digital anthology that will be published later this year. Type of art: Any, with the exception of audio and video work.  Topics / Themes: Anything that is positive, uplifting and inspirational in nature, with the exception of erotica and politics. Also, coronavirus-related pieces that do not contain strongly positive / uplifting / inspirational elements will be automatically rejected. Clean art only. No dirty or swear words allowed!’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES (Cathy’s note: it’s free to submit one piece! There are fees to submit more.)

23rd Aug Horror story up to 3500 words on the theme of STRANGE SIGNS // RITUAL PROTECTION MARKS. PAYING

24th Aug Speculative poetry, fiction and essays on the theme of Governance. PAYING

31st Aug ‘Christmas is a magical time of year, but for these characters, this special holiday is turned upside down by chaotic circumstances. Whether it’s troublesome family or magical mayhem, these stories should be Christmas-themed wrapped with mischief.’ Fiction 5000-15,000 words. CHARITY/GOOD CAUSE ANTHOLOGY

31st Aug Flash up to 250 words on the theme of Machines.

31st Aug Poetry about Transportation. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

31st Aug Feminist writing on the theme of Queer Loving.

31st Aug ‘Short Viking tales that feature Reanna the Red.’ 4500 – 19,500 words. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

31st Aug ‘Creature publishes up to four book-length works of feminist horror a year. We are looking for books that celebrate fluidity—the ability to cross boundaries and inhabit more than one category at once. While we acknowledge that categories have a certain utility, we refuse to separate horror, thriller, sci-fi, and fantasy from each other or the literary from the mainstream.’

31st Aug Poetry and prose touched by nature on the theme of Rise. PAYING

31st Aug Poetry.

31st Aug Story, poem or more containing the three words Trapeze, Calico and Pinprick.

31st Aug Poetry on the theme of either Journeying or Coronavirus.

31st Aug Black and African Writers only: poetry pamphlet. PAYING

31st Aug Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Street Life.

31st Aug Work on the theme of Cross Roads.

31st Aug ‘This issue will focus on speculative fiction by Indigenous people in Mexico, Mexican people, and people of Mexican origin. This includes people living in Mexico, in the borderlands/la frontera and Rio Grande Valley, and in diaspora, as well as displaced and undocumented peoples making home in these places.’ PAYING

31st Aug Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Social Justice.

1st Sep ‘Please submit your original short fiction that combines themes of witchcraft and bicycling, through a feminist lens. Both witchiness and bicycles must be inherent to accepted stories—ie, if you swapped these elements out for detectives and toasters, the stories would not work. The witchcraft can be informed by actual Paganism or another tradition, or more along the lines of Kiki’s Delivery Service or Sabrina the Teenage Witch, or your own invented variety of subversive or transgressive feminist magic.’ PAYING

1st Sep Black writers only: Poetry and more.

1st Sep Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Recovery and Resilience.

1st Sep ‘Libretto Magazine is pleased to announce its call for submissions. We are looking for work with bold and elegant style that pushes boundaries beyond limit. You can play with form, style and language.’

1st Sep Writers of Colour only: flash fiction. PAYING

1st Sep Short prose 6-500 words. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES to Donall and Janice’s newsletter for this one – sign-up here:

1st Sep Poetry and hybrid texts on the theme of Reanimating Ancestors. ‘We are seeking poetry and hybrid texts that exist despite imperialistic attempts at erasure. Does your work juxtapose time, place, and systems of thinking? Do you situate your readers within the multiplicities and nuances of your existence? Do you reanimate what has been widely forgotten? If history, ancestors, and an opposition to losing narratives maneuver your syntax, send us your work.’


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


‘The Aurora Review is a platform for the voices that are too often disregarded, cast aside, and ignored by society. Whether through poetry, prose, photography, or an impassioned blog post, if you’re telling your story, we want to hear it and amplify it.’

Poetry. PAYING

‘Wedding Ritual’ is an online space for artists (including writers, dancers, musicians, filmmakers, visual artists and more) to display a profile of their work. Artists are invited to share three pieces of their own work and to highlight one piece by someone else. The format of Wedding Ritual is inspired by the traditional rhyme supposed to bring good luck to brides – something old, something new, something borrowed, and something ‘blue’.’

‘The minimal, the disjunctive, the contrapuntal, made of edges or fulsome plains; skyward-arching trees of the sparrows, fragile; avoid the all-too familiar lacking a language of birds. Sing to us. Send up to 20 unpublished poems.’ (Cathy’s note: they don’t send rejections, but send acceptances within three weeks. So if you haven’t heard by then, assume that the pieces haven’t been accepted, and send them elsewhere.)

‘SFK Press seeks book-length fiction by fearless authors. Our mission is to tell a million tales of y’all mean ALL, with a Southern accent. We especially encourage submissions from indigenous, LGBTQIA+, disabled, currently or previously incarcerated, and non-binary people, people of colour, and women.’ PAYING

‘If you produce innovative poetry, visual poetry, short fiction, drama, graphic narrative, creative nonfiction, or multimedia art and are interesting in collaborating with The Blasted Tree, please do not hesitate to contact us.’

‘The first year we are looking to publish a few middle-grade titles. Fantasy or sci-fi stories are of particular interest… Please keep in mind that we have a pretty specific mission. We are open to all manner of genres, but all are books will be written from a perspective that is a bit to the right side of center in regards to political, religious, and social issues.’ ADVANCE + ROYALTIES

Short verse, especially haiku.

Tales of the Extraordinary. Short fiction and poetry.

Experimental poetry.

Poetry, flash and short fiction on the theme(s) of Self/Other/Isolation. PAYING

‘Northodox Press is a new forward-thinking publisher eager to work with writers from Northern England. We are exclusively interested in Crime Fiction for our initial releases.’ Short fiction or novels.

‘In terms of genre, I am looking for work that constitutes the ever-moving edge of its kind, as a place between light and dark, consciousness and un, today and tomorrow; work exhibiting the strange, the bizarre, that which is not of the world we know, but more of a twilight realm or even altogether alien place.’ Poetry, fiction and more. PAYING

Until filled, though the deadline states November – get writing! Cake horror stories. PAYING

Poetry and prose.


‘The University of Calgary Press publishes works that embody the spirit of curiosity inherent scholarly inquiry. We invest in ideas that transform how we think about—and shape—our world. We publish peer-reviewed, academic non-fiction in all areas of the humanities and social sciences. We also publish innovative fiction, poetry, and creative forms.’

‘Submissions for our New Voices poetry category are open year round to any new and emerging poet who has not published more than one full-length collection of poetry. New Voices are published online only and will feature a number of poems from new authors each month.’ PAYING

Children 9-13 only: up to 3 poems or one story.

Canada only: ‘We define queer literature and arts as works created by LGBTQ2S+ people, rather than works which feature queer content alone.’ PAYING


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