Apologies for lateness. Sometimes the human body and the technological world just don’t work together! There are loads of good opportunities here by way of apology, so I hope you’ll forgive me.
It’s April, and I only have one piece of news, really — I’m a finalist in The César Egido Serrano Foundation short story contest, in the English language category! This is a free annual comnpetition with no fee, and with cash prizes. Didn’t enter last year? Enter this year instead! I know that the chance of winning is small, but to have my story picked out of 46,000 is very validating.
Yes, I’ve had plenty of success, but my Imposter Syndrome still says: Cathy, you aren’t really any good, you have no talent, you should stop trying, people are just being kind if they say they like your writing… Do you have an inner narrative that suggests those things to you too? I know writers who’ve landed six-figure book deals who still feel that way! Change your narrative to something more helpful!|
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.
2nd Apr ‘In no more than 350 words enter our FABLE COMPETITION to write a 21st Century Fable in the style of the great master, Robert Louis Stevenson.’ PAYING https://www.mrrls.com/fable
3rd Apr Scotland only: speculative story on the theme of Roots. PAYING https://www.shorelineofinfinity.com/cymera-shoreline-of-infinity-prize-for-speculative-short-fiction-2022/
4th Apr US age 25-35 only: ‘Applications are sought from those poets at the beginning of their careers, ages 25-35 years. This scholarship, to be awarded every year, aims to encourage and assist an emerging poet in their creative poetry writing endeavours.’ PAYING https://www.waltwhitman.org/poets-poetry/poetstocome/
6th Apr Spectator Competition No. 3244: worse verse. ‘Bono’s Ukraine-themed poem for St Patrick’s Day has been dubbed ‘the worst poem ever written’. You are invited to submit a poem to mark St George’s Day (not necessarily with a topical theme) that rivals it in awfulness. Email entries (16 lines max.) to firstname.lastname@example.org by midday on 6 April.’ PAYING https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/spectator-competition-winners-spring-triolets
13th Apr ‘Spectator Competition No. 3245: French connection. You are invited to take a passage from a classic of French literature (please specify)and recast it in Franglais. Please email entries of up to 16 lines/150 words to email@example.com by midday on 13 April.’ PAYING https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/spectator-competition-winners-the-polar-bear-who-came-to-tea
14th Apr Spec flash on the theme provided. PAYING https://apparitionlit.com/submissions/
15th Apr ‘New science fiction short story by a new author.’ Up to 7499 words. PAYING https://www.arcmanorbooks.com/resnick
15th Apr There are four awards for fiction or poetry, and there’s no entry form -just submit your work to Descant, and if it’s published, it might be picked for an award. PAYING https://descant.tcu.edu/awards/
15th Apr 53-word story inspired by this month’s prompt. NON-CASH PRIZE https://www.press53.com/53word-story-contest
15th Apr Flash fiction up to 500 words. PAYING https://brilliantflashfiction.com/writing-contests/
17th Apr ‘We are looking for emerging writers who have yet to publish a collection of poetry (not including self-published chapbooks). Submit a manuscript featuring 15 to 30 poems in standard .doc / docx or pdf document.’ PAYING https://kingdomsinthewild.com/poetryprize
17th Apr Under 18s: Short Story. PAYING https://broadwayartsfestival.com/short-story-prize/ (Cathy’s note: Over 18s may also enter, but there’s a fee that I consider quite hefty to do so.)
21st Apr Comp opens on the 15th April and closes on 21st. Microfiction of 250 words or fewer, based on the provided theme. PAYING https://solarpunkmagazine.com/monthly-micro-fiction-contest/
22nd Apr ‘Part of the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize, the Author of Tomorrow is an annual competition designed to find the adventure writers of the future. It is open to young people, aged 21 and under, who have completed a short piece of adventure writing in English.’ There are various age categories. PAYING https://www.wilbur-niso-smithfoundation.org/index.php/awards/author-of-tomorrow-2019/submissions
24th Apr Short story or poem with a science theme for children by an adult. PAYING https://sruk.org.uk/2022-edition/ (Cathy’s note: most of the bumph says ‘story’ but there in the rules it mentions ‘poems’ too. Thanks to https://publishedtodeath.blogspot.com/ for this one)
24th Apr Age 16-18 only: There are two comps, one for poetry and one for essays, both with provided themes. PAYING https://keats-shelley.org/prizes/young_romantics_prize_2022
SUBMISSIONS WITH DEADLINES
2nd Apr Essays and prose poetry on the theme of Love. http://www.portyonderpress.com/issue-15—love.html
2nd Apr Under-represented writers only: speculative fiction novella. https://www.lunapresspublishing.com/submissions
3rd Apr Poetry. https://poetrybusiness.co.uk/about/submissions/
3rd Apr Fiction, CNF and poetry about the sea. PAYING https://seabornemagazine.com/submission-guidelines/
3rd Apr ‘Hecate Magazine strictly prioritises work from women writers and accepts submissions from the following marginalised gender identities and expressions: bigender/polygender person, cisgender woman, intergender person/intersex person, non-binary person/gender non-conforming person, transgender woman/transfeminine person, two-spirit. Please do not submit to us if none of the above apply to you (eg. you are a cisgender male).’ Theme: Devotion. ‘We want your ugly prayers, divine conquests and holy matrimonies. We are accepting poetry, prose, creative non-fiction and artwork for this issue.’ https://hecate-magazine.com/submissions
8th Apr Real Cool World: ‘From glaciology and marine biology to geopolitics, international law, fiction, big ships and more, this collection will showcase subjects and stories from the planet’s deepest south. We’re looking for new work that responds to the theme in the form of essays, reportage, creative non-fiction, fiction, memoir and visual essays.’ PAYING https://www.griffithreview.com/submit-to-griffith-review/
8th Apr Theme: Enchantment. ‘At Fathom we publish articles, personal essays, profiles, interviews, book reviews, Bible exposition, theological and/or historical analysis, poetry, and short stories.’ https://www.fathommag.com/writing-for-fathom
9th Apr Speculative fiction novella. https://www.lunapresspublishing.com/submissions
9th Apr For this issue of Riddled with Arrows we seek writing-related fiction, creative non-fiction, ars poetica, non-classifiable written objects and visual art exploring the theme of “writing endings” . PAYING https://www.riddledwitharrows.com/guidelines/
10th Apr ‘While we are devoted to giving a voice to LGBTQAI+ creatives, we also want to give a voice to women creatives, disabled creatives, and neurodivergent creatives. We also wish to give a voice to creatives with mental illness(es), invisible illness(es), and/or trauma.’ ‘It must be inspired by our Popular Culture theme. We are reviewing works inspired by She-Ra and The Princesses of Power, Stardew Valley, and Sailor Moon’ . Poetry, prose and art. https://www.thewinnowmagazine.com/submitguidelines.html
14th Apr Poetry, flash and short fiction on the theme of Post-Apocalyptic Pride. PAYING https://wearethequietones.com/submission-calls/
14th Apr Poems. https://www.whiptailjournal.com/submissions.html
14th Apr Science Fiction Fairytales. PAYING https://www.shorelineofinfinity.com/submissions/
15th Apr Rumors, scandal, gossip, innuendo, hints and allegations, whispers and suspicions, slander, spillin’ the tea—Tell us your best stories of approximately 50 words, about Rumors……” Please send us your best stories of approximately 50 words regarding Rumors in the body of an email to firstname.lastname@example.org No poetry, bios, or attachments please.
15th Apr Poetry and fiction. https://descant.tcu.edu/submit/
15th Apr Nonfiction, art and photography. PAYING https://www.maskslitmag.com/submit.html
15th Apr Haiku and senryu on the theme of Write Like Kerouac. https://poetrypea.com/submissions/
15th Apr ‘ “Summer of Speculation” will be a themed anthology containing stories from Fantasy and Science Fiction. All Sub genres are welcome (with a few exceptions noted in the submissions guidelines). We are seeking fresh faces as well as seasoned scifi/fantasy pros for this yearly anthology to be released in the summer every year. 4000-10,000 words. Our 2022 theme will be “VILLAINS”. PAYING https://www.cloakedpress.com/summerspec/
15th Apr Theme: The Power of the Pause. ‘We invite short stories, poetry, memoir, and creative non-fiction to help us explore this theme.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES (MAY BE PRINT OR DIGITAL) http://universaltable.org/wisingup.html
15th Apr ‘Drawing on the spirit of Appalachia, how will you reveal the masked or unmasked facets of a past, present, or future time? For Volume 25, we are asking for your poems, short stories, essays, flash pieces and black and white 2D art in response to the theme, Appalachia (Un)Masked. We mostly accept unpublished work, but we aren’t sticklers.’ http://www.sawconline.net/pmsg-submission-guidelines.html
20th Apr ‘We’re looking for weed-centered horror stories of any sub-genre. How you interpret that, is honestly up to you. Any idea is welcomed as long as it is not demonizing the substance or its users.’ 1500-4200 words. PAYING https://donniegoodman.com/strange-weeds-anthology/
21st Apr Poems on the theme of The Value of Wilderness. https://thenewamericanaesthetic.weebly.com/submit.html
28th Apr ‘Current call for submissions: Our seventh issue is based on the theme ‘Science, Humour and the Absurd’. This edition of Science Write Now will explore how humour and the absurd shape cultural ideas of science and, in turn, how the world of science influences comic performance in popular culture, art and literature.’ PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORS https://www.sciencewritenow.com/submissions (Cathy’s note: only Australian contributors are paid.)
30th Apr Writers from the African diaspora and the African continent only: poetry, prose and more on the theme of Food. PAYING https://www.fiyahlitmag.com/submissions/
30th Apr Poetry, flash fiction and more on the theme of Déjà Vu in Times of War. https://erferrara.wixsite.com/quarantinemuseum
30th Apr ‘This call is for young activists, creatives and advocates for human rights to exhibit the human rights issues that are most important to them in form of art, essays, short stories, poems etc., specifically in reference to the right to defend human rights and not incite hate or bigotry.’ https://www.ihraf.org/ihraf-youth-anthology
30th Apr ‘For our next major anthology, slated for release in September 2022, we’re looking for horror stories inspired by neurodiverse experiences. Stories about perception, communication, the feeling of being ‘differently wired’. Challenge us. Scare us.’ 1000-6000 words. PAYING https://ghostorchidpress.com/submission-calls/
30th April ‘We are open to submissions which relate to PERSON FIRST IN AN IDENTITY FIRST WORLD.’ ‘We’re looking for poetry and stories of and by those who have been relegated to “them” status by virtue of a label that (validly) places them in a particular group. But we don’t want work related to how or why that group is special, invalid, irrelevant, etc. What we want is stories that explore the intersectionality of people in those groups. Nonbinary skydivers. Black equestrians. Wheelchair-using geocachers. Trans chefs. We want stories of and by people in othered communities, but we don’t want their label to be the story.’ https://nonbinaryreview.submittable.com/submit/f2138bb1-57ab-4720-bdbc-8e9590deaa26/nbr-28-person-first-in-an-identity-first-world
30th Apr ‘Midnight in the Dying Garden: Fairy Tales for the End of the World is a collection of horror stories with a fantastical twist. We’re looking for tales that are both horrific and enchanting.’ 1000-7000 words. PAYING https://kopfkinomedia.com/
30th Apr ‘For the 9th issue of illiterature. we’re seeking poems that have been decomposed. After reading a series of interviews about how poets compose their work we’re curious about how poems can be decomposed.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES (MAY BE PRINT OR DIGITAL) http://www.puddlesofskypress.com/submissions.html
30th Apr Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Catalyst. https://www.pareidolialiterary.com/submissions
30th Apr 101-word story written to the prompt: “Did you see that?” https://www.tortivetheatre.com/flash101
30th Apr ‘Volume 8 of MacroMicroCosm explodes into another Galaxy with the frontier for science fiction & a healthy helping of imagination. What’s out there? Who are we now, and who will we be, when we find out? If space exploration is the goal, how do we fix things on earth to help it happen? We’re taking a deep dive into space this year.’ ROYALTIES https://duotrope.com/duosuma/submit/macromicrocosm-1lhW7
1st May Short story 800-2000 words on the theme of There and Back. OTHER https://www.liarsleague.com/liars_league/forthcoming-events-themes.html
SUBMISSIONS WITH NO KNOWN DEADLINES
(Publishers might not give out their pay rates on their submission pages, so make sure to find them out before signing a contract!)
Book submissions, including novelettes and collections. ‘Suspenseful horror, crime (no cop dramas, cops can be in the stories but not the main subject and preferably not heroic), and dark dark dark general fiction. Sex, gore and violence are welcome in moderation. Action over emotion, every time.’ 50/50 net sales split. https://www.unnervingbooks.com/submissions
‘A literary magazine looking for the messy, the emotional, but most of all the humanity found in art.’ https://ilinixlitmag.wixsite.com/ilinix/contact-1 (Cathy’s note: as the editors are high schoolers, this might be a good place for your children and young adults to submit. I don’t know the editors personally, so as always this is info rather than a recommendation, but the site looks good.)
‘Cozy fantasy flash and microfiction.’ PAYING https://wyngraf.com/2022/03/20/now-open-to-cozy-flash-and-microfiction/
Science fiction poetry. VOUCHER/OTHER https://www.shorelineofinfinity.com/submissions/submissions-poetry-multiverse/
Open until filled: ‘Tales of dark fantasy and the high seas!’ 500-1000 words. PAYING https://shackleboundbooks.wordpress.com/submissions/
Open until filled: Dark military SF stories up to 1000 words. PAYING https://shackleboundbooks.wordpress.com/submissions/
Open until filled: dark drabbles. Also Planetside: SF drabbles. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES (MAY BE PRINT OR DIGITAL) https://shackleboundbooks.wordpress.com/submissions/
Wonderful news for you, Cathy. Fingers crossed for you.
All the best. You deserve the best. Blessings galore from my home to yours.