Comps and calls for December 2022

Hello everyone,

It’s December – the time when everyone is too busy to write, submit or enter their writing. Well, almost everyone. You’ll still be making time, won’t you? Putting just a small window of time aside for your writing, editing and submitting can really pay off.

I won’t bore you with ongoing health stuff. I do experience other things as well as being ill! For instance, I was lucky enough to visit our local free bookshop – one of the GET shops: . It was wonderful. People were finding all sorts of treasures, and I think some will become Christmas gifts. Fantastic for those with little or no money! There were children picking out books for themselves, and seniors too, and everyone in between. I found some sumptuous books to help me through the winter. Is there anything similar in your area? If so, enjoy it! And don’t forget libraries, too!

Whatever holiday you celebrate this Winter, have a merry time!

Much love and happy writing,

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.


15th Dec ‘Women/ womxn writers are only allowed to submit to this contest… We accept micro poems, micro essays, and flash fiction.’ PAYING

15th Dec 53-word story inspired by the provided prompt. NON-CASH PRIZE

16th Dec Book-length crime novel. ‘The Competition is open to any writer, regardless of nationality, aged 18 or older, who has never been the author of any Published Novel (in any genre)…submit your Manuscript as early as possible. Submissions will get a more careful reading if the judge does not have to contend with a flood of last-minute entries.’ PAYING

20th Dec ‘Each year the Royal Institute of Philosophy holds an essay prize competition. The topic for this year’s prize is Emotions. Word limit: 8000 words. PAYING

31st Dec ‘Gifted fiction writers! Lilith magazine—independent, Jewish & frankly feminist—seeks quality short stories with heart, soul and chutzpah, 3,000 words or under, for our Annual Fiction Contest. First prize: $300 and publication. We especially like fresh fiction with feminist and Jewish nuance, and are eager to read submissions from writers of color and emerging writers of any age.’ PAYING

31st Dec ‘The Sator New Works Award will be awarded to a book-length work of either fiction or non-fiction by an author who identifies as trans or nonbinary.

The submitted manuscript must be an original work of at least 30,000 words in length, written by one author, in English.’ PAYING

31st Dec Story up to 4500 words. PAYING (Cathy’s note: Make sure to read the full guidelines, and register at the site – it’s free.)

31st Dec Flash Fiction up to 300 words. PAYING

31st Dec Poem. Multiple entries permitted. PAYING

31st Dec ‘Write us a 600-word piece on the theme: The best writing tip I’ve ever received. We’ll publish the best piece in our newsletter and on our blog, plus the winner receives $200 (R2 000 or £100).’ PAYING

1st Jan ‘This major contest is only open to BIPOC writers… Entrants may submit up to three poems in the Poetry Category or one piece of fiction or creative nonfiction to the Prose Category.’ PAYING

1st Jan Writing on the theme of Anxiety. 1500-3500 words. PAYING (thanks to for this one)

1st Jan USA only: ‘The U.S. Writers Aid Initiative is intended to assist fiction and nonfiction authors, poets, playwrights, screenwriters, translators, and journalists in addressing short-term financial emergencies. To be eligible, applicants must be professional writers based in the United States, and be able to demonstrate that this one-time grant will be meaningful in helping address a short-term emergency situation.’ PAYING


2nd Dec at 9am UK time. Poetry, flash and short fiction on the theme of Heart.

2nd Dec Poetry, prose and more on the theme of Americana. Also various unthemed free opportunities. (Cathy’s note: they have a cap of 100 free submissions per month, so get your work submitted quickly! You have to scroll down a fair bit to access the December categories and categories without deadlines.)

3rd Dec Poetry, flash fiction and more on the theme of Wonder.

4th Dec Fiction 2500-4500 words on the theme of Never Wake – an anthology of dream horror. PAYING

5th Dec ‘Cove Park offers funded residencies throughout the year. These opportunities are awarded following an open call and application process, or via nomination and direct invitation. Residents are given the time, space, freedom and financial support to concentrate upon the development of their own work.’ PAYING

5th Dec ‘Ancient Paths is now open to submissions with Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany themes only… Ancient Paths publishes poetry, flash fiction, photography, and art work.’ PAYING

7th Dec Poetry on the theme of Journeys. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES (MAY BE PRINT OR DIGITAL)

7th Dec Up to five poems on the theme of Deluge.

9th Dec ‘Rabbit is currently accepting submissions for Issue 37: the COLLABORATIONS Issue, to be guest co-edited by Jacqui Malins and Jessica L. Wilkinson. For this issue, we are keen to see the wild and wonderful results of two or more minds and/or bodies and/or practices coming together to generate art.’

15th Dec ‘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.’ Theme: Performance. Under 1200 words. PAYING

15th Dec Speculative poetry on the theme of Frankenstein. PAYING

15th Dec Writing on the theme of the Power of Positive Thinking. PAYING

15th Dec ‘For a third year, Red Alder Review is taking submissions for the annual Mid-Winter Haiku series. General submissions for poetry and short prose are also open until the deadline.’

15th Dec Theme: ‘How stepping outside my comfort zone changed me. Tell us your own stories about stepping outside your comfort zone and how that changed your life.’ PAYING

15th Dec Typo Journal: ‘We are particularly interested in seeing nonfiction; essays; ideas; conceptual notes; sketches, doodles, dream designs.’

15th Dec ‘Applicants should have a significant project currently in progress — a book, film, oral history archive, podcast series, museum exhibition, or similar work. The project should address the history and/or legacy – broadly defined – of the U.S. founding era and/or the nation’s founding ideas.’ PAYING (Cathy’s note: Successful applicants will be required to travel to ‘Chesterton, Md’ for the residency.)

16th Dec ‘..Short work (8,000 character max, about 1,000 words) exploring the theme of Water… Please limit submissions to one story, one short essay, or up to five poems.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES (MAY BE PRINT OR DIGITAL)

16th Dec ‘We accept original submissions of short fiction in any genre (up to 3500 words), both formal and free verse poetry (up to 50 lines) as well as works of creative nonfiction (up to 3500 words).’ Theme: Birds.

17th Dec ‘For this issue, we want to hear what survival means for you and your queer identity as it relates to all areas of fashion, including but not limited to clothing, cosmetics, skincare, hair (styles and products), shoes, perfumery/cologne, accessories, hosiery, etc. Want to tell us about your favorite chainmail or faux-brass knuckles? What about that shade of red lipstick that feels like armor? How about your favorite bedazzled binder or mobility aid?’ PAYING

17th Dec ‘For this issue, we want to hear what survival means for you and your queer identity as it relates to all areas of fashion, including but not limited to clothing, cosmetics, skincare, hair (styles and products), shoes, perfumery/cologne, accessories, hosiery, etc. Want to tell us about your favorite chainmail or faux-brass knuckles? What about that shade of red lipstick that feels like armor? How about your favorite bedazzled binder or mobility aid?’ PAYING

18th Dec ‘Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27th 2023 encourages remembrance in a world scarred by genocide. The international day remembers the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust, alongside the millions of other people killed under Nazi persecution of other groups and in genocides that followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. We are looking for poems in memorial, in protest, reflecting or looking forward, poems that lament but also inspire that tie in with the theme of Ordinary People: perpetrators as ordinary people, persecuted people as ordinary people, rescuers as ordinary people, and ordinary people as bystanders.’

20th Dec Poetry, flash and short fiction on the theme of Voice.

25th Dec Poetry, fiction and more. PAYING (Cathy’s note: their free submissions are capped each issue, so make sure to get in quick! If you’re unlucky, try for a free sub in early Jan.)

26th Dec ‘White Stag Publishing is closing out the #ELEMENTSERIES with the fifth element & highest point of the pentacle: Spirit… For this anthology, we are looking for poetry that explores the ethereal realm through various mediums whether religious / spiritual, through clairvoyance / meditation, science, & the imagination.’ PAYING

31st Dec ‘Our theme is the menopause, and we want your stories, flash and poems that go waaay beyond the empty nest and feelings of sexual redundancy.’ (Cathy’s note: Arachne publish my poetry! You can buy my book ‘Erratics’ from them!)

31st Dec ‘BLACK JOY UNBOUND: AN ANTHOLOGY. Inspired by a deep longing for writing that embodies the vivacity of Blackness and Black life, BLF Press will produce a multi-genre collection that encompasses a broad spectrum of literary writing on Black joy. Provocation: What might our writing look like if it were imbued with characters and themes centered on joy and delight?’ Poetry and prose. PAYING

31st Dec Horror stories 1500-7000 words on the theme of Wind. PAYING

31st Dec ‘…each time you nominate one of your own published (or unpublished) haiku you nominate six published haiku (or unpublished haiku with permission given) by other poets: three from a print journal plus three from online journals. Sounds cool? You can nominate as many of your own haiku as you like, as often as you like throughout 2022, while nominating six haiku by others each time that you nominate one of your own.’

31st Dec ‘Open to general submissions but also particularly to poems and articles that explore the potential of Cymraeg and other non-majority languages.’ PAYING

31st Dec ‘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.’ Poetry, fiction, nonfiction. PAYING

31st Dec Carried Away: ‘All romantic comedy stories are welcome. Does not have to be Happily Ever After. All heat levels are accepted.’ 3000-15,000 words. ROYALTIES

31st Dec ‘We continue to welcome all forms of written creative expression, including but not limited to poetry and short fiction in all forms. We are interested in work that addresses questions of interest to the Feminist Studies audience, particularly work that pushes past the boundaries of what has been done before.’ Poetry, articles, fiction and more. Theme: Autotheory and Autoethnography. You can submit work outside the theme.

31st Dec ‘Zombies Need Brains LLC is accepting submissions to its four science fiction and fantasy anthologies DRAGONESQUE, GAME ON!, ARTIFICE & CRAFT, and SOLAR FLARE.’ PAYING

31st Dec Liberty: ‘All LGBTQ+ stories are welcome. All fantasy genres are accepted.’ 3000-15,000 words. ROYALTIES

31st Dec ‘I want thirteen stories from thirteen different authors, each one showcasing one of the traits imbued upon Briar Rose in the framing story. The stories should be some form of speculative fiction, but any of the sub-genres of spec fic, or even some parallel genres, are acceptable.’ PAYING

31st Dec ‘We are currently looking for literary fiction by BIPOC, DEAF, and DISABLED authors… Poetry collections should be between 70 and 100 pages. Nonfiction and fiction have no page requirement.’

31st Dec LGBTQ+ stories on the theme of Liberty. 3000-15,000 words. ROYALTIES

31st Dec ‘Our goal for each issue is to publish at least 50% Canadian content.’ ‘Heartlines Spec is an online speculative magazine focused on long-term friendships and relationships. It’s the comfort of the known, the fierce hug of someone that knows you best.’ Poetry and fiction. PAYING

31st Dec Poetry, flash, CNF and more for their print edition. Details below the details for the online edition. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES (MAY BE PRINT OR DIGITAL)

31st Dec Romantic comedy stories 3000-15,000 words. ROYALTIES

31st Dec ‘Inspired by the centenary of the publication of T.S. Eliot’s poem ‘The Wasteland’, Black Bough Poetry have a call out for submissions of poetry, responding to, or echoing in some way, this landmark modernist poem… We are looking for imagistic, atmospheric, impactful poems that are a maximum of 10 lines.’

1st Jan ‘Our goal is to highlight butch stories and butch voices, which often go unheard or are misunderstood, and document the butch experience.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES (MAY BE PRINT OR DIGITAL)

1st Jan Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of SUCKER. Interpret the theme however you like; we are interested in anything from confessions of a total loser to lollipop euphemisms. Basically, tell us how you suck.


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

Crime flash and short fiction. PAYING

‘Our broad arm-spans welcome fiction, prose and prose poetry, as well as visual narratives and work involving sound and motion.’

‘Vast Chasm Magazine publishes bold work that explores the expansive human experience, including flash and short fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and other nonconforming work.’ PAYING

‘We are particularly interested in seeing nonfiction; essays; ideas; conceptual notes; sketches, doodles, dream designs, asemic writing..’

Book MSS on the subjects of art, architecture, design and photography.

Writers 12-26: poetry, fiction and more.

Speculative poetry and more.

‘Spurl Editions (est. 2015) is an independent publisher of unusual literature and photography, specializing in works fitting for our current decrepit and apocalyptic world… We welcome fiction and translation proposals.’



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