Comps and calls for November 2020

Hello everyone,

Sorry this one is appearing a bit late! On Sunday morning our alarm doesn’t go off… I could pretend that we had technical difficulties… I’m so sorry!

Remember, remember, submit in November… Hello all! Many thanks for your kind messages re: my recent bereavement. Many thanks also for your kind donations and Patreon subscriptions. You’re all lovely, and kindness really is what keeps the world going around.

Thanks also for feedback about my proposed series of workshops. Everyone was agreed – one workshop weekly, in the new year, so that’s what I’m preparing. If you missed last month’s info: I’m planning a series of workshops on Facebook, with the idea that we write to certain themes (poetry or fiction – you’ll be able to do either), with the plan that the themes are from specific calls for submission or competitions. The idea is that we then submit or enter our work to those (though no one will be forced to!). You will need to be on Facebook and have Paypal to participate – as I will be charging for this series (it’s too time-consuming not to, I’m afraid). It will probably be on Wednesday nights, 7-9pm GMT, though if you’re signed up, you can access the info for as long as the course is on. I’ll be giving short personal feedback (if wanted) to all participants.

I would welcome any thoughts you have at

Of course Comps and Calls is still completely free and as long as I have control of it, always will be (I don’t know why I add that caveat. Do I think that Daleks are going to take over the world and insist that I keep running Comps and Calls, but charge for it?!).

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 Nov Spectator Competition No. 3174: true to type. ‘You are invited to write a poem with each line beginning with the letters A S D F G H J K L Z X C V B N M, in that order. Please email entries to by midday on 4 November. We are now returning to paying winners by cheque, unless you state on your entry that you would prefer to be paid by bank transfer’ PAYING

6th Nov POSTAL Deadline. Graphic novel. PAYING (Cathy’s note: I don’t usually include comps that require postal entry, but there are so few for graphic novelists that I thought I’d bung this one in.)

6th Nov Story 1000-3000 words, written to one of the prompts on the website. PAYING

11th Nov Spectator Competition No. 3175: a bit previous. ‘You are invited to supply a prequel to a well-known poem (please specify). Please email entries of up to 16 lines to by midday on 11 November. We are returning to paying winners by cheque, unless you state on your entry that you would prefer to be paid by bank transfer.’

15th Nov Flash fiction inspired by the provided image. PAYING

26th Nov Poetry or story on the theme of Course. PAYING (thanks to for this one)

27th Nov Hour-long play. PAYING (thanks to for this one)

27th Nov at noon (though students get an extra day!) ‘We are looking for good storytelling (fiction or non-fiction) written specifically for delivery and reading/viewing on a PC or Mac, the web, or a hand-held device such as an iPad or mobile phone. It could be a short story, novel, poem, narrative game, documentary, or transmedia work using words, images, film or animation with audience interaction. Interactivity is a key element of new-media storytelling’ PAYING

28th Nov Free for prisoners and children: Poem on the theme of My Companion, My Best Friend. PAYING

30th Nov Metrical sonnet. PAYING

30th Nov Monologue up to 10 minutes. NON-CASH PRIZE

30th Nov ‘Imagine a world where androids are a sentient, self-governing race and co-exist with human beings. The two civilizations live and work together, make friends and enemies of each other, and engage in trade and war as any two nations on Earth.’ SF 800-1200 words. PAYING

30th Nov ‘The Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers recognizes outstanding young poets and is open to high school sophomores and juniors throughout the world.’ NON-CASH PRIZE

Last Thursday of each month: Writing according to the prompt, by children 12 years of age or under. NON-CASH PRIZE


2nd Nov Horror story. PAYING

2nd Nov ‘The London Reader is issuing an open call for short stories, travel writing, poems, photography, art, and postcard stories about travelling by land in Europe and neighbouring regions. We’re looking for road stories, interrail stories, city stories, language stories, hitchhiking stories, and border stories.’

3rd Nov Poetry and fiction on the theme of Touch. PAYING

3rd Nov Fiction and essays on the theme of Angels. PAYING

4th Nov Fiction 800-3000 words on the theme of Weird and Wonderful. (Selected works will be performed)

5th Nov Speculative fiction up to 3000 words on the theme of Gluttony. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

6th Nov Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Fight or Flight.

7th Nov ‘Hard, gritty and raw’ poetry, fiction and more. Theme: Begin Again.

7th Nov ‘We are currently accepting submissions for both debut collections from new or emerging poets and submissions from established poets with previous collections published. We welcome poets of all ages. We will only seriously consider publishing poets who have a track record of publication or audience for their poems in the United Kingdom in some form.’

9th Nov Horror story of roughly 2000 words on the theme of Sleep Deprivation. PAYING

10th Nov Story on the theme of Fairytale.

15th Nov ‘We seek truly terrifying stories that deal with futuristic themes, set in the near future or far.’ 2500-4500 words. PAYING

15th Nov Poetry, fiction and lots more on the theme of A Life of the Spirit.

15th Nov Poems by children. ‘The author of the poem must have been age 15 or younger when the poem was written, and 18 or younger when submitted.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

15th Nov ‘The Broken City is currently accepting submissions for its winter 2020 edition: I Know What You Did Last Pandemic. It was inevitable; the magazine is running a COVID-19 special. We’re looking for anything and everything related to COVID—what you did; what you saw; what life is like now. Send your poetry, fiction, essays, illustrations and photography.’

15th Nov Poetry, fiction and CNF.

15th Nov Short horror story 4000-8000 words on the theme of H is for Hell. PAYING

15th Nov ‘For our inaugural issue, our theme is UNFINISHED STORIES, which might apply to this political moment, but also to your composition or form, or a personal experience. Send us works which resist completion, narratives whose endings we don’t or can’t know yet, or which begin with pre-existing conditions. Send us a finished story about something unresolved, or an unresolved story about something long finished.’ PAYING

15th Nov ‘Chipper Press is looking for short stories about what life is like for monsters during their middle school years. Do humans know about the monsters? Do they attend school with them? What type of monsters are there? Do they have special classes per species? Do werewolf children get certain days off that trolls don’t?’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

15th Nov Poetry, prose and art on the theme of Sorrow. CHARITY/GOOD CAUSE (Cathy’s note: Proceeds from this issue will be benefiting the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.)

15th Nov Women over 60 only: ‘The Editors choose a different Short Takes topic for every issue. Short Takes are usually short pieces, fiction or non-fiction (250-500 words), but can also be topical poetry, sometimes even drawings or photography. We’re especially interested in hearing about your experiences, but you can include your thoughts, dreams, ideas and opinions. Humor and irony are always appreciated!’ Theme: Random Acts of Kindness.

15th Nov New Tales of Fairy Godmothers. 4000-7500 words. PAYING

15th Nov Confessional poetry on the theme of Thurnderstorms.

15th Nov ‘For this collection, we would like you to send us stories that feature birds with teeth. Any birds you like as long as they possess a large set of extra sharp teeth. Thuggish Itch is our horror, sci-fi and speculative fiction collection. Please make sure that your story falls within one of these genres.’ PAYING

15th Nov Poetry on the theme of Immortality.

15th Nov ‘Issue #3’s theme is “guilty pleasures.” We love honest and funny fiction, nonfiction, memoir, and poetry. We don’t care if you have an MFA or not, we all got a bit of that je ne sais quoi, and really, what do you got to lose?’

15th Nov ‘Submit poetry written in or regarding variety Englishes, to be published in Spring 2021 Issue (41.1). Poems in Singlish, Konglish, Spanglish, AAVE, and other English-associated linguistic forms will be considered for publication. Poets may be asked to contribute supplementary linguistic information to facilitate publication.’ PAYING

15th Nov ‘We invite writers and artists to send unpublished poetry, fiction, nonfiction, cross-genre, photography, visual art, and translations. Pensive seeks work for a feature section on Black Lives Matter for our Spring 2021 issue.’

15th Nov ‘We are always open to submissions of poetry, prose, and visual art that explore questions of ecology and spirituality from within and outside all religious traditions.’ Themes: Advent and Access to Health in both human and nonhuman communities.

16th Nov Poetry and art on the theme of Spring. PAYING

16th Nov Poetry, flash and more on the theme of Birth/New Beginnings.

17th Nov Poetry, comics, photography (open to everyone) and fiction (open only to Canadians). PAYING

18th Nov Canadians only: poetry on the theme of Reflections on the Pandemic.

19th Nov 500 word fiction. Science fiction on the theme of Contact. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

23rd Nov Horror story of roughly 2000 words on the theme of Kaiju. PAYING

25th Nov Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Longing.

28th Nov Poetry and prose with an element of the natural world, on the theme of Other. PAYING

30th Nov LGBTQ+ romance over 12,000 words on the theme of Second Chances.  ROYALTIES

30th Nov Writers of Colour: full length MSS.

30th Nov Poetry, prose, and more. Marginalized writers highly encouraged to submit.

30th Nov Theme: Safeguard. ‘We are looking for beautiful works exploring safety and protection against wild environments, as well as efforts to remove wilderness and chaotic nature from your life, or anything human-made that protects you from harm. We are looking for poems no longer than an A4 page, and would particularly like to receive imagist work and micro-poetry under 10 lines.’

30th Nov ‘We’re seeking poetry, flash fiction, short stories, novel excerpts, and essays written throughout the past seven months of the pandemic.’ CHARITY/GOOD CAUSE

30th Nov Theme: Nostalgia. ‘We only accept submissions from marginalised and underrepresented writers and artists. We are committed to elevating marginalised and underrepresented voices, including (but not limited to) BIPOC, LGBTQ+, women, immigrant, disabled, neurodiverse, and working-class writers, artists, and creators.’ PAYING

30th Nov ‘ProleSCARYet: Tales of Horror and Class Warfare will be an e-book anthology about the horrors of capitalism. We want monstrous bosses, jobs from literal Hell, working class folks fighting back against great cosmic evils, and any other wild idea you can come up with.’ 1000-4000 words. PAYING

30th Nov Flash up to 250 words on the theme of Doors.

30th Nov ‘All writers who call Scotland their home, irrespective of place of birth or ethnicity. 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). A Scottish theme or setting is NOT compulsory.’

30th Nov Poetry, fiction and more including the three words Loop, Ghost and Hibiscus.

30th Nov Theme: Last Love. ‘Whether it be the boy next door, a loyal princess, or a supernatural being, all of these stories have two things in common: everlasting love and loyalty.’ 5000-15,000 words. ROYALTIES/ CHARITY/GOOD CAUSE

30th Nov Theme: Wolf Night. ‘Wolf shifters galore! We are looking for romantic tales of wolf shifters in any setting or genre. The spicier, the better.’ 5000-15,000 words. ROYALTIES/ CHARITY/GOOD CAUSE

30th Nov Theme: Imperial Devices. ‘Steampunk! We’re looking for steampunk stories. Additional subgenres are accepted (ex. Dieselpunk, Valvepunk).’ 500-15,000 words. ROYALTIES/ CHARITY/GOOD CAUSE (Cathy’s note: This anthology has different word count parameters to the other DSP anthologies.)

30th Nov Speculative poetry and fiction on the theme of Justice. PAYING

30th Nov Poetry, flash and more on the theme of Energy. ‘We want to read your pieces that play with our heartstrings. We favor works that are highly emotional, experimental in form/language, and especially those that feel light-hearted, bittersweet, and tender.’

30th Nov Poetry and prose on the theme of either Truth, Fair Play and Other Myths We Live by; or Spot-Cleaning our Dirty Laundry. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

1st Dec ‘For this anthology, edited by Robert Kingett and Randy Lacey, we’re looking for short stories between 500 and 8,000 words. We are looking for own-voice stories featuring blind or visually impaired protagonists, written by authors who are blind or visually impaired. The story need not be about being visually impaired or blind, and can be any genre of fiction.’ PAYING

1st Dec or until filled: The Southern Issue. Theme: For the culture. ‘For this issue we are accepting all types of submissions as long as there is a story that connects you to where you came from, and your ancestors. For this issue ONLY we will accept work previously published elsewhere, please just let us know where it was published and in which issue. ‘ PAYING

1st Dec ‘Select a work of art; it can be a painting, a photograph, a sculpture. Write a poem or short story or essay inspired by that work of art. The usual rules apply: the work of art must be Pagan/polytheist in some way, or must be interpreted through a Pagan/polytheist lens.’ PAYING

1st Dec ‘decomp journal is now accepting submissions of Fiction, Poetry, Non-Fiction, and Media/Art for its first themed zine, “Twin Futures: Black Resistance and Indigenous Sovereignty.” Submissions should take up themes of Black and Indigenous futures while rejecting the false binaries and borders between these two formations.’

1st Dec ‘Defined as the offspring of the sons of God and daughters of Man, the Nephilim were said to be monstrous giants. But that’s just one interpretation. Give us yours!’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

1st Dec ‘Whether it’s a poem about the steaming, hazelnut coffee you will drink tomorrow morning, an essay about your hope for prison reform in a rural community, or a short story about an alien invasion in the year 2254—we want your musings, your scribbles, your cries into the void. We publish prose, poetry, and artwork (black & white is ideal, but color works great as well).’

1st Dec Spec fic 2000-20,000 words. ‘…this anthology seeks to remind readers of the hope and beauty of the Arts, and the way our engagement with writing, music, film, theatre, artworks in all media, and craft of all kinds are at the core of our humanity.’ PAYING

1st Dec Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Snow Job. PAYING

1st Dec Poetry, essays and more on the theme of Wellness.

1st Dec Black writers only: poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Composite Dreams.

1st Dec Fiction, poetry and more on the theme of Levity. PAYING

1st Dec Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Intergalactic. PAYING (Cathy’s note: submissions are free until they reach their free subs cap, so get yours in early! I know this is terrible grammar, but it’s very late.)

1st Dec ‘Send us your quarantine dreams, your protest poetry, and all forms of experimentation. In this issue, we want to examine stories that celebrate writing as a form of coping and connection, that wrangle with the tension of the present moment and imagining future memories in this strange new world.’


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

‘It’s simple: We aim to fundamentally change what you think of when you hear the phrase “men’s publication,” and to do so through and for the worldview of Black and Brown men.’ PAYING

‘Albert Whitman & Company currently has an open submissions policy. We will read and review un-agented manuscripts and proposals for picture books, middle-grade fiction, and young adult novels. Please read the following instructions carefully. We will not review any submissions that do not follow these guidelines.’

Dark fantasy fiction. No reprints. Edits & gives feedback. PAYING

Poetry, flash, short fiction and CNF.

‘We’re a weekly online journal that accepts prose, poetry, and
non-fiction pieces with a combined word count of no more than 750. We
also accept art.’

Until full: horror drabbles. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

Poetry and fiction by children aged 9-13.

Fiction up to 3000 words to be critiqued on a podcast.

MSS of various kinds.

Dark fantasy poetry and prose. PAYING


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