Comps and calls for October 2020

Hello everyone,

So many bereavements – and this time, it was my father. We had an awful relationship, and I hadn’t seen him for years, but naturally his death brought up complicated feelings. So if I’ve made a few extra mistakes this edition, please forgive me!

I do hope that you are all well, and not struggling through similar events.

Anyway – on to happier things. I’m thinking of running a series of workshops in the New Year. These would be exercises based on different prompts – with the twist that all the prompts were upcoming themes in litmags or anthologies, and participants would be encouraged (but not forced!) to submit their work to the relevant publication (or to an alternative publication, from a list that I’ll provide).

Would any of you be interested in this? Another possibility is November, but it’s looking like New Year unless you’re all particularly keen for November. The whole thing would happen on a secret Facebook group, as I’m not really a fan of Zoom, Skype etc. There would be a charge. I can’t commit that amount of time without getting paid for it. Don’t worry, C&C will always be free, as long as I have any say in the matter.

Those interested – which would you prefer – one night a week (probably a Thursday) for five weeks with the workshop from 7-9pm GMT (though accessible at any time), or one week of concentrated workshops: two hours a day (or evening) for five days?

I would give short feedback on each piece if wanted.

At the end of the course you should have ten pieces that are ready to be submitted – poetry or fiction. That would be up to you…

I would welcome any thoughts you have at

Thanks as always to my Patreon subscribers and one-off donors. You are stars.

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 Oct Poem up to 35 lines. ROYALTIES, POSSIBLE CASH PRIZE

4th Oct Flash fiction 500 words or fewer, based on the prompt, which won’t be up until 2nd Oct. PAYING

4th Oct Poem up to 35 lines. ROYALTIES, POSSIBLE CASH PRIZE

5th Oct ‘Send us your Halloween-themed poetry, fiction, short plays, and creative non-fiction.’ PAYING

7th Oct ‘Spectator Competition No. 3170: letter of the law. ‘Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world,’ according to Shelley, so let’s have a well-known poet writing their own law in verse. Please email up to 16 lines to by midday on 7 October.’

8th Oct Short stories up to 2000 words on the theme of Old-Fashioned Hallowe’en. PAYING

15th Oct Age 12-18: short story 250-500 words on the theme of “Once upon a time in my future”. NON-CASH PRIZE

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

15th Oct Flash fiction up to 300 words for this monthly comp. (Cathy’s note: I don’t usually post comps wherein the only prize is publication, but I notice that they offer a comment on every story submitted, so it might be worth entering if you’d like some free feedback.)

19th Oct ‘Something to say? Up for a challenge? Can you get your point across in exactly 55 words, no more, no fewer? Help us celebrate our 55th year of Welter by composing a 55-word story, poem, or piece of creative nonfiction.’ PAYING

23rd Oct Fiction 2000-6000 words on the theme of Home. PAYING

30th Oct ‘This year, which is a challenging one for most people, we are looking for a bit of light relief. So please send us your farce, satire, screwball, or any other subgenre that qualifies as comedy. We need the laughs.’ Fiction 1000-2500 words. VOUCHER/OTHER

31st Oct Atlantic Provinces only: Flash fiction inspired by the photo. PAYING

1st Nov Weird Christmas stories up to 350 words. PAYING (thanks to for this one)

1st Nov ‘In your flash fiction piece, give us a snapshot into a post-pandemic world in which a shift towards positive systems change has occurred and a new paradigm is established or unfolding.’ 1000-1250 words. PAYING


2nd Oct Writing on the theme of Justice.

2nd Oct ‘All writers who identify as ‘Other than White’ but to include White minorities. All levels welcome (unpublished, published, solo or agented). What to submit: Collections of short stories and stand-alone novels of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Dark Fantasy (and their sub-genres).’

2nd Oct ‘Our Capsule Stories Winter 2020 Edition theme is Bare Bones. We’re looking for stories, poems, and essays that feel cold and wintry and bleak.’

2nd Oct Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Fever Dream.

3rd ‘For this edition, “Rituals,” we want to see work that engages with religion and spirituality of any kind.’

3rd Oct Witch-inspired writing, art and photography. (Cathy’s note: They are also looking for black editors: )

5th Oct Speculative flash fiction on the theme of Sight. PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORS (Cathy’s note: they pay if they include your piece in one of their anthologies.)

5th Oct Speculative novellas by black writers. PAYING+ROYALTIES

5th Oct ‘Zombie Pirate Publishing is seeking short stories 2,000-7,000 words long for PIRATES OF THE EMPYREAN. Science fiction, fantasy, speculative fiction, or steampunk stories featuring pirates. Send us your tales of swashbuckling adventure set against space, sky, or sea.’ PAYING

8th Oct Halloween (sic) poetry and stories. PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORS’s note: pays fiction contributors only)

9th Oct Poetry and fiction. PAYING

9th Oct Canada only: ‘Understorey Magazine seeks submissions of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, spoken word, and visual art about women/gender and all aspects of food work. We are interested in submissions by women and non-binary writers and artists on their experiences of creating, gathering, processing, transporting, cooking & serving food, as well as the work of disposing of or redistributing food waste, food policy, and food aid.’ PAYING

9th Oct ‘The theme for this issue is all things spooky, macabre and haunting. We want pieces that are reminiscent of jump scares, short yet memorable and lingering.’ Poetry, art and photos. PAYING

9th Oct Poetry and prose on the theme of What Do You Fear in the Dark?

11th Oct Poetry on the theme of Brownface. PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORS (Cathy’s note: only Australian contributors are paid.)

14th Oct Grim, fractured fairytales. PAYING

15th Oct ‘Are you a fan of pop-singer Madonna? Has she impacted you in a significant way? We’re seeking original stories that detail the effect she’s had on individual lives. Story and essay submissions should be between 1500-3500 words. Feel free to supplement your submission with your journal entries, photos with Madonna, photos dressed like Madonna, or other related materials.’ PAYING. Send submissions to:

15th Oct 50 word fiction on the theme of Mercy. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

15th Oct ‘Poems may be written on any subject, in any style or length, but the poet must be a person with neurological differences.’ PAYING

15th Oct ‘We are looking for poems that deal with the supernatural, the mythological, the mysterious, the uncanny.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

15th Oct Fiction, poetry and more, on the theme of Animal, Vegetable, Mineral, More. PAYING

15th Oct Poetry, fiction and lots more on the theme of Memories. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

15th Oct ‘We are seeking short story submissions (1000-7500 words) for this anthology. The stories must be based upon a regional/cultural legend or tall-tale from any location or culture in the World. “Regional” can be a specific place (Loch Ness) or a larger region (Bigfoot in the Pacific Northwest). We are seeking stories in the horror genre.’ PAYING

15th Oct Poetry and more on the theme of Silence|Sound. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

18th Oct Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Animal Love. PAYING

19th Oct ‘For the next issue of Apofenie, we welcome submissions of fiction, poetry and non-fiction brought together by our latest theme – “the city”.’

20th Oct Research papers, interviews, articles and scripts on the theme of Drama. ‘Along with these, Litinfinite is accepting short stories, poems, book reviews and essays in English and Bengali for its regular section.’

21st Oct Poetry, articles and more on the theme of COVID-19 and Community.

22nd Oct 500 word fiction on the theme of Horror Toys. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

25th Oct ‘For our Fall 2020 issue, is calling for work by Black women authors and artists as part of our Black Voices and Experiences series. We especially welcome work by Black trans women for this issue. We are dedicated to creating a supportive space for Black women’s creative productions across multiple media and genres.’ Poetry, fiction and more.

30th Oct Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Gift.

30th Oct Weird fiction around 5000 words. CONTRIBUTOR COPY+ ROYALTIES

31st Oct Theme: Resist with every inch and every breath. ‘Stories of resistance and rebellion, but also of the steps in between and the change that comes after.’ Up to 15,000 words. PAYING (Cathy’s note: This is the Priority Deadline ‘… for historically marginalized authors including those who are Black, Indigenous, people of color, migrants, queer, disabled, women, working class, currently or formerly incarcerated, and/or living in poverty.’ You can also submit (anyone, historically marginalised or not) from Nov 1st to Dec 31st.)

31st Oct ‘The inaugural anthology will feature contemporary poetry of Iran and its diaspora. In addition to translations of Persian poetry, we hope to reflect the linguistic richness of Iran with translations of Azerbaijani, Kurdish, Luri, etc.’

31st Oct ‘Zimbell House is holding open submissions for short stories from the point of view of the afterlife’s bounty hunter. Your story must include: which side the debt collector works for, what the debt to be collected is, the consequences at stake, how the afterlife system works, and most importantly, be from the point of view of the debt collector.’ 4500 – 19,500 words. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

31st Oct LGBTQ romantic/erotic fiction 12,000 words and up on the theme of Ride ‘Em Cowboy (or Cowgirl). ROYALTIES

31st Oct Gothic romance 2000-5000 words. PAYING

31st Oct Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Frontiers and Borderlands.

31st Oct Poetry, flash and more on the theme of Celebration.

31st Oct Writing and more on the theme of Anxiety.

1st Nov ‘Short stories must be less than 4000 words. Stories must not have been published anywhere else previously. The theme of this anthology is second chances, redemption, second try, play it again.’ PAYING

1st Nov Fiction 800-2000 words on the theme of Heart & Soul.

1st Nov Poetry, flash, short fiction and more on the theme of The Other Virginia. PAYING (Cathy’s note: those of us outside the USA may submit electronically.)

1st Nov Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Inheritance.

1st Nov Mystery/crime fiction up to 4000 words on the theme of second chances, redemption, second try, play it again. PAYING, CHARITY/GOOD CAUSE ANTHOLOGY

1st Nov Adventure horror 2000-8000 words. PAYING

1st Nov Speculative fiction up to 6400 words on the theme of The Bonds that Unite Us. PAYING

1st Nov Story, poem or nonfiction with the first line: Loud music filled the room, making it hard to hear anything else. PAYING

1st Nov SF/F story on the theme of Decisions.


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

‘We want black voices to be showcased loudly here, so we are launching an ongoing series of black stories.’ PAYING


MSS of various sorts. ROYALTIES

Satires of higher education.

Queer communist SF for this collaborative project. PAYING

Science fiction stories, comics and illustrations. PAYING

‘HARSH is accepting flash fiction, short stories and (prose) poetry. While HARSH specializes in “upsetting, confrontational and aggressive” literature, submissions need not contain extreme gore, deviant sex acts or otherwise aberrant behavior to be considered. There are many ways to upset a reader; HARSH aims to discover all of them.’ (Cathy’s note: be warned! This content may well be upsetting.)

Deadline every Friday: ‘Poets Respond—a poem written within the last week about a public event that occurred within the last week will appear every Sunday. Our only criterion for selection is the quality of the poem; all opinions and reactions are welcome.’ PAYING

‘If you are interested in writing anything or submitting any recipes or other content please get in touch, we are happy to publish anything if it is not racist or hateful in any other way.’

Poetry, novels, and more.

‘Boneyard Soup Magazine is a horror and dark fantasy publication. Our mission is twofold: to publish the finest short stories from across the entire genre and to support new and emerging writers in order to bring fresh perspectives to horror literature.’ Fiction 2000-6000 words. PAYING

‘We’re looking for fiction (short stories, coherent novel excerpts, anything that might be deemed “flash”), poetry (just no goddamn footnotes, please), criticism of the feather-ruffling sort, reporting that tells the truth but tells it slant, and personal essays that have sentiment but aren’t sentimental.’ PAYING

Poetry, fiction and more. PAYING (Cathy’s note: submissions are accepted year-round, but there are deadlines for various issues.)

‘We are looking for speculative stories that explore science fiction, fantasy, and horror with a queer bent. We want queer stories and we want trans stories and we want aro/ace stories. We want indefinable stories. We welcome weird, slipstream, and interstitial writing.’ Up to 1200 words. PAYING


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