Comps and calls for April 2021

Hello everyone,

You know those times when you have a thousand things to do and your head is filled with custard, or something similarly inappropriate? I’m like that at the moment. If there’s an April Fool, it’s probably me…and my traditional one in the listings. But is it really an April Fool?! Duh – duh – DUHHHH!!!!


Have a good April! Keep writing, keep submitting, stay safe, have fun.

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.


Weekly. Poem. Reprints OK. PAYING

2nd Apr Short story 1000-3000 words on the theme of Fool Me Once (use the provided prompts for inspiration). PAYING

4th Apr Writers 14 and over who live in Scotland: speculative fiction on the theme of After the Plague. PAYING

7th Apr The first 10,000 words of your completed crime novel. NON-MONETARY COMPENSATION

7th Apr Spectator Competition No. 3194: Tutti frutti. ‘Tony Harrison wrote a poem entitled ‘A Kumquat for John Keats’. You are invited to substitute your own choice of poet and fruit and submit a poem of that title. Please email entries of up to 16 lines to by midday on 7 April.’ PAYING

12th Apr ‘In this inaugural year of our cli-fi contest, Fix is asking writers to assume the role of future ancestors, building the world they want our collective descendants to have — on paper.’ 3000-5000 words. PAYING

15th Apr Speculative short story on the theme of Still Waters, Deep Thoughts. ‘The contest is open to non-professional writers (those who have not met eligibility requirements for SFWA or equivalent: sale of a novel or sale of 3 stories to a large-circulation publication.’ PAYING

15th Apr Speculative flash fiction inspired by Stephanie St Clair. PAYING

15th Apr Flash up to 500 words. ‘We want a feel-good fantasy story with a present day setting.’ PAYING (Cathy’s note: click on ‘Events’ to find the comp.)

23rd Apr Poem on the theme of Social Justice: Human Rights. NON-CASH PRIZE

30th Apr Adventure story in four age categories. PAYING

30th Apr ‘We call on you—poets, writers, fellow human beings—help us expose the especially heinous crimes committed against a peaceful and law-abiding group of Chinese citizens: Falun Gong practitioners.’ Poems up to 50 lines each. PAYING

30th Apr Fiction up to 500 words by a New England author or have a New England setting if the author is not from New England. PAYING

30th Apr SF short story by a new author. PAYING

30th Apr ‘For spring, we’re looking for stories about transhumanism. Tell us about Humanity 2.0, Homo Sapien Plus, the next stage of our species’ evolution. Do we become cyborgs? Do we digitally upload our minds to machines? Do we ascend into meat vapors of conscious gas? Send us drabbles (i.e. 100-word stories) that meet this prompt in an original, interesting way!’ PAYING

30th Apr ‘Every year, QSF holds a flash fiction contest to create an amazing new anthology of queer speculative fiction stories. We ask authors to do the nearly-impossible – to submit a sci fi, fantasy, paranormal or horror LGBTIQA story that has no more than 300 words.’ Theme: Ink.

1st May Women only: microfiction 20-100 words on the theme of Metamorphosis. PAYING

1st May Women over 60: 1-3 poems.


1st April For the perfectly reasonable sum of one million English pounds sterling, you may have the unpublished, original poem of your choice (up to five lines long) or unpublished, original story of your choice (up to 200 words long) featured on this page in perpetuity. Just pay the million English pounds (Sterling) to  on 1st April 2021.

2nd Apr ‘Raising Mothers is currently seeking submissions in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, graphic narrative, and hybrid writing exploring the theme TO BE TENDER. We are interested in submissions from BIPOC women and nonbinary writers of color who explore this theme from either the child or parent perspective.’ (Cathy’s note: It’s free to submit poetry.)

4th Apr Speculative Flash fiction on the theme of Orange. PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORS (Cathy’s note: contributors are paid if their story is used in an anthology.)

5th Apr Chapbooks of lyric essays and/or prose poetry. ‘Please know that we prefer nature-themed submissions, place-based submissions, and the like. We like hopeful, beautiful, and sculpted writing.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

5th Apr Poetry and fiction on the theme of Distanced.

6th Apr ‘Arachne Press are looking for poems linked to The A4. 70 Mae gwasg Arachne Press yn eich gwahodd i gynnig cerddi gwreiddiol sy’n gysylltiedig efo’r A470 ar gyfer blodeugerdd. Arguably the most famous road in Wales, the A470 is 186 miles from shore to shore through the backbone of Wales, linking north to south… We want unpublished poems from Welsh poets wherever you are, and all other poets living in Wales.’ ROYALTIES

6th Apr ‘We are looking for poems, stories and essays that focus on speech / dialogue / a conversation (or more) between 2 people (or more).’

8th Apr Up to 3 poems. Optional theme: Rise. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

9th Apr ‘Our Spring/Summer 2021 issue will be devoted to highlighting Black writers, Indigenous writers, writers of color, and writers who identify as LGBTQ+.’ Poetry, flash, short fiction andmore on the theme of Love.

9th Apr ‘At 86 Logic, we only have one real requirement for submissions—you must have worked in the hospitality industry at some point in your life…What we’ve published so far: poetry, prose, fiction, art, comics, photography, and non-fiction/journalism.’ PAYING

9th Apr ‘HOLYFLEA! likes so many things but we particularly like: nonsense rhymes, vampires, drawings/paintings/doodles/comics/post-it note scribbles/ink spillages that look eerily like the bathtub in your old house, weird stories, diary entries, transcripts of meaningful conversations, mash up genres, something inspired by your favourite movie, poetry that is not sure if it’s poetry, a page ripped out of your dream journal, lyrics to a song you wrote when you were eight and you think still reads as particularly charming, (brackets) and, most of all, things that have a unique voice/don’t feel like they fit in elsewhere. We like the weird and the offbeat.’

10th Apr ‘Novellas only, standalone, original and not previously published. Speculative fiction, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Dark Fantasy (and their sub-genres).’

10th Apr Intersectional feminist writing and more.

10th Apr ‘This is a new Anthology open for Young Adult and New Adult Dark Academia short stories.’ 1000-15,000 words. ROYALTIES

11th Apr Poetry, prose andmore on the theme of Cravings and Compulsions.

11th Apr Flash fiction or poetry of up to 500 words, inspired by the photo. (Cathy’s note: although this is listed as a contest, there’s no prize mentioned)

12th Apr Poetry, fiction and more.

14th Apr ‘Arachne Press is planning an anthology of fiction and poetry from UK resident writers of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic heritage. Publication will be October 2021. We will pay royalties. Once published in an Arachne anthology you may be invited to submit a collection or  novel…We have an overarching theme for all our anthologies for the next 12-18 months of ‘maps and mapping’. You do not need to take this in any way literally – ‘the map is not the territory.’’ Poems and short stories. ROYALTIES

14th Apr ‘Arachne Press is planning an anthology of fiction and poetry by Deaf and hard-of-hearing writers, which will be produced as a printed book, an eBook and a series of videos… We have an overarching theme for all our anthologies for the next 12-18 months of ‘maps and mapping’. You do not need to take this in any way literally – ‘the map is not the territory.’’ Poems and short stories. ROYALTIES

15th Apr Story of about 50 words on the theme of Water.

15th Apr ‘Staying under 5,000 words is encouraged, but we will read short story, novelette, and novella fiction manuscripts of any length. We do not publish full length novels, flash fiction, non-fiction, stage plays, screenplays, poetry, hybrid works, or unsolicited interviews.’

15th Apr Poetry and fiction. (Cathy’s note: although there’s no pay as such, those who have work accepted are eligible for four awards with cash prizes. These are explained on the website)

15th Apr Theme: Petals. Poetry, prose and more. ‘We’ll always love dark elements, but petals point to the sky—so, most important to us for the coming issue will be a mystical, ethereal & seductive vibe.’

15th Apr ‘We are looking for radical, forward-thinking fiction and poetry that examines the future of our planet as it relates to Climate Change.’ PAYING

15th Apr ‘The theme for Issue #4 is “Classifieds.” 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? Shoot your shot, fellow writer, dreamer, lover, child of the universe.’

15th Apr Under 25s only: ‘BreakBread Literacy Project is a space for young creatives to take root and grow. BreakBread seeks to empower and honor the voices of all young artists.’ Poetry, fiction and more.

15th Apr Poetry and fiction MSS.

20th Apr ‘ “Summer of Speculation” will be a themed anthology containing stories from Fantasy and Science Fiction.’ 4000-10,000 words. PAYING

20th Apr ‘Fill out the form below to submit for an article, publisher profile, theme poem, author feature, artists request, songwriter feature, event, or more!’ Theme: Power.

22nd Apr 500-word stories on the theme of West. ‘Must be set in the wild west or include cowboys, etc.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

23rd Apr Poetry and fiction on the theme of Escape. PAYING

28th Apr ‘Horror stories that incorporate some element of art or craft.’ 1200-5000 words. PAYING

30th Apr ‘THE JEWISH BOOK OF HORROR is an anthology of horror fiction focusing on the culture, history, and folklore of the Jewish people, to be published on the first night of Hannukah, 2021.’ PAYING

30th Apr ‘FIYAH is a quarterly speculative fiction magazine that features stories by and about Black people of the African Diaspora. This definition is globally inclusive (Black anywhere in the world) and also applies to mixed/biracial and Afro-appended people regardless of gender identity or orientation.’ Theme: Sound and Colour. PAYING

30th Apr ‘What does it mean to be a disabled person in Africa today? How do people in Africa living with a range of physical and psychological disabilities experience and express their unique sense of embodiment? The Disabilities in African Contexts Project invites creative submissions for an anthology of original voices around the theme “Alternative Explanations / Alternative Representations of Disability in Africa.” We are open to all genres from poetry to short fiction to creative non-fiction, and everything in-between.  Submissions from African poets now living in the U.S. will also be accepted.’ Submissions should be sent to Prof Kobus Moolman at  (Cathy’s note: it doesn’t say that African poets living in the UK are OK to submit, but I’dbe surprised if they were excluded. If you’re interested in submitting to this then I suggest emailing Professor Moolman.)

30th Apr ‘We publish poetry, non fiction, fiction, illustrated and multi genre/hybrid chapbooks, novellas, and novels. At LAP, we focus on content from underrepresented groups, with a focus on people of color, women, the LGBTQ community, and disabled people.’ ROYALTIES

30th Apr ‘We are looking for poetry, prose poetry, short stories, and short essays or memoirs to include in our publication. We are interested in works that speak on  parenting and grandparenting.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY+ ROYALTIES

30th Apr Horror story 2000-8000 words on the theme of Doors/Portals/Cracks in Reality. PAYING

30th April Poetry and fiction. ‘The genre must be crime or horror. Other than that, there is no specific theme. Surprise us.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY+ ROYALTIES

30th Apr Writing on the theme of Split Tongue: ‘Here, we invite writers to be unfiltered in their bilingual and multilingual experiences. We invite writers to share the joys, the challenges, the resistance, the anger, and the humanness of being in between languages in this country, because our voices are America.’ PAYING

30th Apr ‘just femme & dandy is a biannual literary & arts magazine for and by the LGBTQIA+ community on fashion. We accept submissions in the glowup, sew what, triple thread(s), no scrubs, sole mates, the mane attraction, and cancel & gretel until April 30, 2021. Please take a look at our different sections to get a better sense of what we are after. We also take pitches.’

30th Apr Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of The Classics.

30th Apr Gaslamp fantasy story 2000-8000 words. PAYING

30th Apr ‘Silver Shamrock Publishing is announcing its Open Call for the MIDNIGHT FROM BEYOND THE STARS anthology.We are looking for original alien horror stories with a The Thing/Alien/The Blob/Critters/Night of the Creeps kind of vibe.’ 2500-6000 words.

30th Apr Poetry.

30th Apr Stories 3000-5000 words, inspired by Jules Verne. PAYING

30th Apr Poetry on the theme of Other. PAYING

30th Apr Writing on the theme of Solstice.

1st May Poetry.

1st May Cryptids Emerging: Tales of Dark Cheer: Pick a cryptid from legend or make one up, we want a strange, spooky, alluring, sweet, and/or funny story of emerging. Whether that’s your cryptid coming out of hiding, a human being true to themselves, or a cryptid/human pairing falling in love, the heart of your tale is about rising, changing, growing. We’d especially love LGBTQIA+, disabled, Black, Asian, neurodiverse, and other minority characters. PAYING

1st May Poetry, fiction and nonfiction on the theme of Love and War.

1st May Fiction (and occasionally poetry) 300-5000 words starting with the line: ‘Lena was raised on violin lessons and minimal parental supervision. ‘ PAYING

1st May ‘For our next issue we are seeking examples, definitions, and archives of the queer sacred.’

1st May Theme: Industrial Revolution. ‘What we don’t want: Henry Ford, cotton gins, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fires. Instead, think about things that might have been subject to the assembly line approach that weren’t. Or how life may have changed for someone who did a job that wasn’t made obsolete.  Or the story of a particularly Rube Goldberg or chindogu invention.’ Poetry, prose and more. PAYING

1st May ‘Our first Isolation Edition captured our immediate stories and feelings about the first month of the pandemic. Now we want to go deeper and explore how our lives have been changed, how we’ve changed, after living in the pandemic for a year. Capsule Stories Second Isolation Edition will capture our stories and feelings during the yearlong coronavirus pandemic and the isolating social measures that come with it.’ Short stories, poems, and more.

1st May Poetry, flash and short fiction. ‘Elevate us, and share thrilling stories of horror and romance, betrayal and bloodlust. Wherever you go regarding genre or form, we yearn to read what great works have yet to be read.’ PAYING

1st May Writing on the theme of Folklore.


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

‘We invite stories from badass Black voices that explore post-colonial themes and topics ranging from family turmoil and personal struggles, to political and social warfare.’

Poetry and prose. PAYING

‘Nanoism is a twitterzine, an online publication focused on nanofiction, which in this case refers to stories that clock in at a maximum of 140 characters (conforming to the original inherent limitations of the Twitter service).’ PAYING

Novels for teens, 45,000-105,000 words.

‘Here at Stick Figure Poetry we believe that poetry builds community. We prefer work that is down-to-earth and easily accessible with lots of layers and complexity buried beneath.’

‘Feminist Review is a peer reviewed, interdisciplinary journal contributing to new agendas for feminism. The journal invites critical reflection on the relationship between materiality and representation, theory and practice, subjectivity and communities, contemporary and historical formations.’

Speculative fiction up to 1200 words. PAYING

Poetry, flash, and CNF.

Novellas and novels by BIPOC authors.

‘Teen Breathe is a magazine for young people that want to find time for themselves. Teen Breathe features articles across a wide spectrum, but with a core emphasis on Wellbeing, Mindfulness, Creativity and Escaping.’

Werewolf story 3000-4500 words. PAYING

A novel that could start an ongoing series.

‘We review submissions for children’s picture books and non-fiction books aimed at readers up to 10 years of age. Submissions do not have to be illustrated. We also review young adult novels and non-fiction books.’

Short story 1000-5000 words. PAYING

MSS of various types.

‘GRANFALLOON is seeking works of speculative fiction, science fiction, fantasy, science fantasy, cyberpunk, etc. We also publish speculative/fantasy poetry and art that fits within these genres.’

Darkish poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Cities. PAYING

‘…we are open to reviewing unsolicited manuscripts for both fiction and non-fiction works in the Action and Adventure, Science Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic Fiction, Biography, Western, History, and Historical Fiction genres.  If you have a title outside of this genre, you are welcome to submit it for consideration as we do keep an open mind regarding all submissions and do appreciate your consideration.’

‘at all guts no glory, we’re interested in what’s dear to you. we want your bedroom poetry, your tumblr-era alt-pop musings, your manifestos and your dreams.’ PAYING

Poetry and fiction on the theme of Human and Technology. PAYING

‘Our favourite genres are crime fiction, mysteries, psychological thrillers, cosy crime, police procedurals, chillers, suspense and domestic noir. We will also consider women’s fiction, historical fiction and romance novels.’

F and SF stories. PAYING

Fiction up to 4000 words. PAYING (Cathy’s note: they have a submissions quota, so submit quickly before it’s full!)

Speculative poetry and fiction. POSSIBLE PAYMENT


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