Comps and calls for September 2021

Hello everyone,

Yes, I’m back! Covid was awful, but I’m very lucky, and I’m over it now. Many, many thanks to all those who contacted me, and sent good wishes, prayers, good vibes and healing thoughts. You have been FABULOUS. I was far too ill to reply to some of you, for which I apologise.

So — back to competitions and calls for submission! I hope you’ve been writing loads and enjoying it, and now you’re thinking of sending some work off. You deserve success and I hope with all my heart that you get it.

Much love,

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.


14th Sep (BUT fee-free submissions are capped at 300, so get your entry in ASAP!!!!! – Cathy’s note). Flash fiction up to 1000 words.

3rd Sep Fiction 1000-5000 words on the theme of Monsters. PAYING

8th Sep Spectator Competition No. 3216: rock god. ‘You are invited to retell a well-known biblical story in a secular style that might enhance its appeal to a contemporary audience. Email entries of up to 150 words to by midday on 8 September.’ PAYING (Cathy’s note: scroll down for the comp.)

10th Sep Mystery story in exactly 50 words. VOUCHER/OTHER

15th Sep ‘Articles must be unpublished, original work that relates medicine to the humanities. We welcome submissions from health professionals, students, and scholars of the humanities and social sciences. We also encourage patients to contribute pieces that reflect their experiences or perspectives on healing and health.’ PAYING

15th Sep Speculative flash fiction on the theme of Artemesia I of Caria. PAYING

19th Sep ‘We’re so excited to announce the launch of Love to Write in partnership with Love Island winner, Amber Rose Gill, to find new voices from underrepresented ethnic backgrounds for Mills & Boon! Our aim is to increase racial diversity and representation within the romance genre, so we’re particularly interested in submissions from writers from underrepresented ethnic backgrounds, including, but not limited to, Black, Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin American and Mixed-Race.’ PAYING (With thanks to )

25th Sep Horror fiction 1500-4000 words on the theme of Mummies. PAYING

25th Sep ‘Everyone’s perspectives have all been altered this year. Priorities have been re-orientated, the importance of connection and community has been highlighted like never before and many people’s world views have shifted, choosing to slow down, and re-evaluate what’s important in life.’ Fiction, Nonfiction or Poetry on the theme of perspective. PAYING

30th Sep Art of Unity Creative Award:  ‘The call for submissions for 2021 is now open. We accept literary (poetry; essays and short stories under 2500 words); video; music; dance; performance or visual work around the theme: “Never again: Remembering to heal and overcome.” All pieces must be previously unpublished.’

30th Sep ‘The International Human Rights Art Festival announces the creation of this new literary award, celebrating poetry, short stories (up to 2500 words) and essays which use the written word to celebrate justice.  Applicants may offer one submission in each category.’ PAYING

30th Sep Drabble on the theme of Time Travel Gone Wrong. PAYING

1st Oct  ‘The Perito Prize will be awarded to outstanding new short fiction of between 1000 and up to 2000 words… You just have to make sure the story is centred around the theme of accessibility, inclusion, diversity & inclusive environments. Also make sure it is able to be printed on the website so please don’t swear or write anything with potentially offensive content. This means no Fifty Shades of Access Auditing.’ PAYING


2nd Sep ‘We will accept short-form fiction any way you want to write it. This can include poetry, flash fiction or short stories.’ ‘For this issue, we’re looking for stories about agents of evil and their minions whose employment situation is something other than we might expect.’ PAYING

5th Sep Story 800-2000 words on the theme of Magic & Mayhem.

5th Sep ‘We’d love to see your prose, flash and micro fiction, poetry, essay, creative non-fiction, photography, ekphrastics, and more!’ Theme: Masks & Manes.

5th Sep ‘2k-5k word short stories written by women and femme-identifying individuals that explore the ways in which women are shaped by the men around them. There is no restriction on sub-genre or subject matter, but the story must incorporate how a feminine figure is shaped by male hands through a horror lens.’ PAYING

7th Sep BIPOC-only submissions of speculative poetry and fiction. PAYING

7th Sep Poetry and Art on the theme of Art.

8th Sep Fiction 5000-10,000 words on the theme of Screaming in the Night. PAYING

11th Sep Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of War and Peace.

14th Sep Poetry, fiction and more.

14th Sep Poetry, flash, short fiction and more on the theme of Road Trip.

15th Sep Fiction on the theme of Border Crossing Narratives. PAYING

15th Sep Speculative poetry on the theme of the Sea. PAYING

15th Sep Fiction 2500-5000 words on the theme of Silence in the City. PAYING

15th Sep Poetry, prose and more on the theme of Nostalgia. PAYING

19th Sep From the Yonder: ‘A horror, short-story collection of regional legends and tall-tales from around the World.’ 1000-7000 words.  PAYING

19th Sep ‘We at Zombie Works Publications are currently accepting thirteen short story submissions. They will go into our “Natural Instincts Tales of Witches and Warlocks.” We are looking for short-stories that involve as the title says, Witches and Warlocks.’ 2000-3000 words. PAYING

20th Sep Poetry and articles on the theme of Language of Faith for this Quaker-themed journal.

24th Sep Full length poetry MSS for debut (first book) collections.

30th Sep Poetry and prose.

30th Sep Food poetry. PAYING

30th Sep Writing on the theme of Decay by those who don’t identify as cisgender males.

30th Sep ‘Historical Fiction. Any person, location, or time period accepted as long as dragons are included.’ 5000-15,000 words. ROYALTIES

30th Sep ‘Any stories involving a female Main Character and dragons.’ 7000-15,000 words. ROYALTIES

30th Sep Indigenous writers only: ‘Guest editor Shauna Osborn (DJ Tenacious Oz) requests you dig up your best mixed tapes, 8 track singles, Blue Note vinyls, bootleg drum circle recordings, Bey cover band concepts, Solid Gold video tapes, old iPod playlists, and write. Oh, and before you ask, she will even listen to your collection of dubstep remixes.’

30th Sep ‘We are interested in reading poems and short stories on the Pandemic theme that speak of the tragedies our planet and humankind have suffered and lessons derived from the Coronavirus outbreak but not limited to Covid-19. A story or poem can be about any epidemic known to the world in the 21st century. We are open to reading all kinds of work submitted to us; however, we are more inclined to publishing literature which uplifts, assures, and establishes faith in humanity.’

30th Sep ‘We are looking for “playfully dark”, intelligent, humorous, descriptive literature written for children ages 8 – 13. We invite poetry and fiction submissions by email.’ Theme: Lost. PAYING

30th Sep ‘Pure in Heart Stories is a new online and print children’s magazine of Christian-themed stories, poetry, and artwork created by adults (and now kids, too!), for kids between the ages of 6 and 12 years old.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES (MAY BE PRINT OR DIGITAL)

30th Sep Romantic fiction 2000-10,000 on the theme of Billionaires of New York. CONTRIBUTOR COPY+ ROYALTIES

30th Sep Poetry, prose, and art. PAYING

30th Sep Poetry on the theme of Adversity. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES (MAY BE PRINT OR DIGITAL)

30th Sep Poetry, flash, fiction and more on the theme of Open Space. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES (MAY BE PRINT OR DIGITAL)

30th Sep ‘The theme of this fantasy anthology is light in the darkness. Your story should contain the element of hope shining through the dark, whether this is subtle or a leading theme throughout the story’s fabric. The editors are seeking bold stories with a lot of heart and stories that do not shy away from gritty themes or dark topics. If you enjoy weaving stories with hope throughout insanity, you’ve found the right submission opportunity.’ 2000-8000 words.  ROYALTIES

30th Sep Horror story 4000-8000 words on the theme of L is for Lycanthropes. PAYING

30th Sep LGBTQ Romance stories 12,000 words and up on the theme of Jolly Holidays. ‘Stories set during winter holidays. Christmas, of course, but we’re also open to Hanukkah, Yule, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, New Year’s. You could also do Chinese New Year, Diwali, Valentine’s Day … any holiday set during the winter months.’ ROYALTIES

30th Sep Poetry on the theme of Roots.

30th Sep LGBTQ Romance stories 12,000 words and up on the theme of Opposites Attract. ROYALTIES

1st Oct Fiction of exactly 100 words on the theme of Winter Shocks. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES (MAY BE PRINT OR DIGITAL)

1st Oct ‘Everyone loves the zoo, some maybe love it *too* much. Escaped animals, encounters gone horribly wrong, deranged zookeepers, and more. Give us fresh takes on zoo trips to make us squirm!’ 100 words exactly. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES (MAY BE PRINT OR DIGITAL)

1st Oct ‘Highland Park Poetry is accepting submissions of poetry and art/photography for our Fall/Winter Muses’ Gallery. It’s Poet’s & Artist’s Choice. No theme or form required.’

1st Oct ‘ Slash-Her is a Women of Horror slasher anthology which is a mixture of invite and submissions… We would like to see varied interpretations of this genre. Of course, we (Janine!) are hoping to see some splatterpunk submissions but this anthology will be filled to the brim with nuance. Wow us with your quiet horror, surprise us with your humour. You want an axe wielding soccer mom who has had enough of the other yummy mummies with their lattes, do your worst! Show us what you believe women can bring to the slasher sub-genre.’ 3000-5000 words. CONTRIBUTOR COPY+ ROYALTIES

1st Oct or when filled: ‘I will be accepting up to 200 poems that fit the theme of places: landscapes that are either rural and remote or set in a city.’

1st Oct Poetry, flash and more on the theme of Liminal.

1st Oct Fiction 300-5000 words, ending with the line: “Welcome to the family.” PAYING

1st Oct Poetry and fiction on the theme of Flight.


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

Poetry, fiction and more.

‘We publish fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry, as well as a select catalogue of visual art. We also accept work in foreign languages. We are looking for writing that is personal, philosophical, experimental, ripe, queer, feminist—we are a journal of eclectic tastes.’

‘Valiant Scribe calls for submissions that focus on faith and social issues, including sanitation and hygiene, sexual violence, poverty, criminal justice, human trafficking, mental health, unknown inventors, people of color, climate change, etcetera.’

Poetry, fiction and art. PAYING

‘As its name implies, The Washington Boast tends to focus on current events in the political realm that could benefit from a unique satirical perspective. But since daily life involves a mishmash of other things, submissions on those subjects are also welcome, however unimportant they may seem in comparison. Make the mundane interesting.’

Transgressive/dirty realist poetry, stories and novels.

‘We are a Toronto-based publisher of military-focused fiction and non-fiction works. We’re interested in material that sheds new light on familiar topics, or that changes what we think we know about a topic. Although we are primarily interested in Canadian or Canada-based authors, we will consider works by writers who are farther afield.’


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