Comps and calls for February 2023

Hello everyone,

Apologies for my absence for the first half of last month. I just wasn’t well enough, I’m afraid. Not an ideal start to the year, but that’s life and writing. Things are going pretty well as regards the latter – already this year I’ve had a couple of acceptances and one piece has been shortlisted in a competition. – I’ve just heard that I’ve won a competition! I won the Crystal Ox Nature Poetry Contest and I’m thrilled! Especially as the prize is books!

No luck yet? Get writing and submitting!

Many thanks to those who sent kind words about my problematic health. Huge thanks also to my Patreon donors – you are heroes!

My tip this month: don’t neglect the third section of these listings: Submissions Without Known Deadlines. There are some really good opportunities there, and you probably don’t have to rush to finish your piece in a few days.

Good luck to you all!

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.


‘7 DAY STORY WRITING CHALLENGES take place throughout the year.’ PAYING

5th Feb Up to 2 haiku on the theme of Notes to Nature. PAYING

8th Feb Spectator Competition No. 3286: That’s amore. ‘Harry’s memoir tells of a love poem that Meghan wrote him (described by Rachel Cooke in the Guardian as ‘pure vomit emoji’). You are invited to submit a suitably toe-curling Valentine poem to Harry, or to the love object of your choice. Please email entries of up to 16 lines to lucyATspectatorDOTcoDOTuk by midday on 8 February.’ PAYING

14th Feb Fiction in one of the provided categories. A synopsis must be sent.  NON-CASH PRIZE (Cathy’s note: I found the entry rules rather confusing, and although it’s clear that you have to send the first 5000 words and a synopsis, then 20,000 words, there’s no clarification on how long the finished piece needs to be. Anyway, you know my motto: Have a go!)

(thanks to for this one)

14th Feb (midday) ‘The annual Tree2mydoor Valentines Day Poetry competition is back once again in 2023. Write your very own Valentines poem for your Valentine and send it to us. We want to attract hopeful romantics to create their own very special Valentines Day poems to be published online. We want UK citizens to write witty or soppy, romantic or silly Valentines Day poems to be published here on the Tree2mydoor website on or before Valentines Day.’ VOUCHER/OTHER

(thanks to for this one)

14th Feb Writing on the theme of ‘Environmental Engagement’ for Staffordshire’s There is No Planet B Green Arts Festival and the forthcoming 2023 book. Poetry, flash fiction, articles up to 1500 words, recipes up to 30 lines, black and white sketches. Up to 3 pieces per person. Please state which category you are entering: children’s (age 8-11), young people (age 12-15) or adult (16+). Prizes for each category. Send your entries to mel

14th Feb Story up to 2000 words on the theme of Love. NON-CASH PRIZE (Cathy’s note: the prize is an Arvon course, so make sure you’d be able to go if you won, before you enter!)

15th Feb Write a 53-word story about Grit. NON-CASH PRIZE

20th Feb Age 13-18 Poetry, fiction and CNF. UNKNOWN IF ANY PRIZE (Cathy’s note: I don’t usually include prizeless ‘competitions’, but I’ve included this one because it’s not certain whether the children get something – and at a young age, just being picked might be encouraging enough. I hope they at least get certificates!)

26th Feb ‘We invite published and non-published authors to submit an original story of up to 2,200 words on the theme of ‘Notes’.’ NON-CASH PRIZE

28th Feb Poem up to 16 lines on the theme of Kindness. PAYING

28th Feb Narrative prose up to 400 words. PAYING

1st Mar Poetry on the theme of Flourishing. PAYING


3rd Feb ‘This is a call for poetry that is willing to reach transformatively towards cultural change, drawing ‘ecopoetry’ out of its box and towards a capacity to reimagine or re-view our falsely (excessively, inimically) human-centric experiences.’ PAYING

3rd Feb ‘It’s easy to say all the love stories have all been told, all the love poems written. But no real love story is alike. And the mystics, malcontents, misfits, and maligned must find the ringing bells and illuminate the room.’ Fiction 4000-6000 words, and poetry.

4th Feb ‘We welcome short prose poems on the theme “behind the mirror”’.

5th Feb ‘Tales from the Moonlit Path will be publishing dark, eerie, speculative stories. Horror is not a necessary element, although fiction should contain some aspect of the weak, frail, changeable human condition.’ Fiction up to 2000 words, or 3-5 poems. PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORS (Cathy’s note: accepted pieces will only be paid for if they are fiction.)

5th Feb ‘Barrelhouse is looking for our next nonfiction book! We’re interested in full-length memoirs and essay collections that combine personal narrative with… something else. That could be reportage, criticism, history, etc. We’re especially interested in projects where the external element has something to do with pop culture, and projects that do something unexpected and original with form and structure.’

5th Feb ‘This anthology is for tales that feature decidedly inhuman monsters that have been sought out and challenged, befriended, protected, or stolen from their own grounds, roots exposed like naked bone. I want writers to spawn a nightmare with sharp claws.’ 2000-4000 words. PAYING

10th Feb ‘STRIPES LITERARY MAGAZINE is open for submission. We are accepting original poetry, prose (fiction and creative non-fiction), art and photography for our Issue 3: Volume 1. This issue is themed BREATHLESS.’

10th Feb Writing on the theme of Flip. PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORS (Cathy’s note: Australian contributors are paid.)

11th Feb ‘Blood & Bourbon is here to showcase all things hard, gritty, and raw. The theme of this issue is going to be Companionship. With people feeling more lonely with every passing year, it’s good to remind ourselves of the bonds we can, and do, make with our partners, families, friends, neighbours, pets, plants. Pillows? Imaginary friends? Siri?’ Poetry, fiction and more.

14th Feb YA-suitable story on the theme of Seasonal Holidays (e.g. Christmas, Valentine’s, etc). PAYING

15th Feb ‘Rowayat seeks original writing for upcoming online publications. We accept unsolicited simultaneous submissions and aim to respond within 3 months. Submission categories are fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, flash fiction, comics, art, reviews, and interviews — in English, French, or Arabic in translation. Contributors do not need to identify as of Arab/SWANA descent, provided their work is in dialogue with the transnational social realities of the Afro/Arab regions and its diaspora communities.’ theme: Faith. ‘All shades and shadows of faith are welcome. All sizes too. Feel free to have faith in a tub of ice cream carrying you through the night, in as much as a rocket landing you safely on the moon.’

15th Feb Pagan, polytheist, and witchy fiction, poetry and more. Theme: Cats. ‘Why do you think cats have historically been the most popular familiar for Western witches?’ PAYING

15th Feb Poetry and art on the theme of Growth. PAYING

15th Feb Fiction and more on the theme of Refugee.

15th Feb ‘Delicate Friend is an adult (18+) space for erotic and intimate art and literature that you enjoyed creating. Art is work, so enjoyment does not exclude difficulty. Difficulty can be exciting! At the same time, we want this journal to be a fun experience for our contributors and readers.’ Theme: Bodylove. Poetry, prose, and more. PAYING

15th Feb Poetry, fiction, nonfiction, audio, and art.

15th Feb ‘This issue has a sub-theme of Flora vs. Fauna. If nature decided to go on the attack, what would the average person do to survive, adapt, or overcome? Likewise, if humanity began destroying more of the nature that surrounds us, how would it maintain, thrive, conquer, or succumb?’ Horror/dark. Fiction, flash, poetry, and drabbles.

15th Feb Flash fiction on the theme of Time. PAYS ONE CONTRIBUTOR (Cathy’s note: one free submission per writer, though you can submit up to three. There is a suggested donation, but you might be able to submit three pieces without paying a fee.)

15th Feb ‘What we are after: short stories that fit our personal definition of the word GHOULISH, which is “fun horror that aims to celebrate all things spooky.” Note that we said fun, not funny. Comedic stories are definitely allowed, but it’s not all we’re looking to receive. We want stories that remind us why we love the horror genre.’ Fiction and essays. PAYING

15th Feb ‘Heron Tree volume 10 will be dedicated to found poems composed from sources published in or before 1927.’

15th Feb ‘Plum Tree Tavern invites the submission of works for a special Winter Haiku edition.’

15th Feb North America only: ‘Haiku North America, in conjunction with Ohio State Parks, is sponsoring the permanent installation of a haiku walk at Hueston Woods State Park in College Corner, Ohio (near Cincinnati). Poems will be selected for their excellence as haiku and their suitability to specific locations on the proposed trail, with no more than one poem selected per person.’

16th Feb SF/F 1000-5000 words on the theme of Autonomy. PAYING

17th Feb Women over 60: ‘Topic for the Spring issue: WTF Is It With This Weather? 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!’

18th Feb Women over 60: ‘Persimmon Tree invites brief (no more than 200 words) comments from our readers on important topics of the moment. The Spring 2023 issue will be published on March 15. The topic for the Spring issue will be “Race, Class, Gender and Climate Change.” We want you to think intersectionally.’

20th Feb Articles and Poetry on the theme of Farming and Food. ‘We have some funds available to pay authors and artistic contributors for accepted work, upon request.’ PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORS

20th Feb Poetry and fiction on the theme of Sandbox. Also CNF tributes.

21st Feb Fiction, nonfiction, flash, and prose.

24th Feb ‘Take 5ive is a new journal from the Bamboo Hut featuring only 5 line tanka, gogyohka and gogyoshi. If you have been reading/writing these verse forms you will already be acquainted with their format.’ Theme: Love and Loss.

28th Feb Trickster: ‘All Fae stories are welcome. All genres are accepted.’ 3000-15,000 words. ROYALTIES


28th Feb Haibun, tanka prose and haiga on the theme of Children.

28th Feb 8-12 poems (previously published considered).

28th Feb ‘Konsensus Network is accepting story submissions for the world’s first bitcoin short-fiction anthology, 21 Futures: Tales from the Timechain. The book will contain 21 short fiction stories from various authors, one of whom could be you! We want to present a broad spectrum of possible worlds all told through the lens of bitcoin. Stories must be fiction and must feature bitcoin in a meaningful way. The idea is not to predict the future of bitcoin, but to expose the situations it may uncover. We are keen to publish a variety of visions, not just sci-fi dystopias and stories of crime and fraud.’ 1500-3000 words. PAYING

28th Feb Poetry and fiction. SOME CONTRIBUTORS GET CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES (Cathy’s note: if you submit from the UK, USA or Australia then you get a contributor copy, should your work be accepted.)

28th Feb ‘Poetic Sexploration is a celebration of sex and intimacy and we invite submissions from everyone who wants to take part.’  CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES (MAY BE PRINT OR DIGITAL)

28th Feb ‘annie is open to submissions of personal essays, creative nonfiction and poetry.’

28th Feb ‘We are most interested in dark genre-bending works in the realms of horror, sci-fi, the weird, the macabre, fantasy, and magical realism. We want stories that grab us by the throat and ask questions about what it means to be human. Make us feel something long after we are done reading.’ Fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. PAYING

28th Feb Poetry, stories and more on the theme of Burn This Fucker Down. ‘We Want: Works with fantastical elements: scary, happy, creepy, heartbreaking, bizarre, hilarious, whatever.’  PAYING

1st Mar Poetry and fiction on the theme of Help from a Stranger. PAYING (Cathy’s note: readers from outside the USA may submit electronically.)

28th Feb ‘The way we do things now as a society is unsustainable. Garbage is piling up in our landfills and oceans, income inequality is getting worse, and our governments are often paralyzed when it comes to seeking solutions. For the third anthology in the Writers Save the World series, “Transform the World,” we’re focusing on new ways of living and of structuring societies. Stories should be near future (in the next 100 years or so) science fiction with a hopeful tone.’ 2500-15,000 words. PAYING

1st Mar ‘Block Party Press accepts chapbook manuscript submissions from October 1st – March 1st each year. We accept poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction chapbook manuscripts formatted as PDFs or Word documents.’ ROYALTIES, CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

1st Mar Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Reversals. PAYS ONE CONTRIBUTOR

1st Mar Women and gender non-conforming writers: ‘Please submit first-person essays anytime before the deadline prior to publication date. We also consider art and photography from women and gender non-conforming writers. Although the essay holds the central role at DPA, we are open to other genres, including experimental, poetry and flash non-fiction, as long as there is a first-person point of view.’ Theme: Libido.

1st Mar ‘Submissions are open to those who identify as women. We are inclusive of transgender women and nonbinary individuals who are comfortable in a women-centered environment. This is in line with our mission to support and uplift the voices of women.’ Poetry, fiction and more. Theme: I Dissent.

1st Mar ‘Osiris is an International Poetry Journal founded in 1972. We publish poetry in numerous languages, including English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and German.’

1st Mar Poetry, fiction, articles and more on the theme of Retro. PAYING

1st Mar Writers aged 40 or over: theme: Wake Up. Poetry, fiction and more.

1st Mar Poetry, short fiction and more on the theme of Summer Witch.

1st Mar ‘The theme for the Spring 2023 issue is Speculation and Spectacle. We are are seeking poetry, short stories, essays, experimental art, video, sound art, all forms of visual art as well as asemic writing and textual arts of all kinds.’


(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.

Chapbook, novella, and novelette MSS. (Cathy’s note: these categories appear to be always free for submission, but some categories are only free for the first ten days of the month. After that there is a submission fee of $2.)

‘On our Web site, we publish daily news, analysis and opinion “briefings” concerning issues of current importance. We especially seek articles that would be of interest and importance for policymakers, both in the U.S. and abroad.’ PAYING

‘Infinity Wanderers is a new magazine dedicated to promoting alternate history and the associated genres of Science Fiction, Steampunk, Historical Fiction and Fantasy. In addition we aim for between 1/3 and 1/2 real history, genealogy and biography, and writers of Historical features are welcome to submit.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES (MAY BE PRINT OR DIGITAL)

‘Open call for poetry, short stories, nonfiction, critical essays, reviews, interviews, comics, visual art. We are currently accepting submissions for our online publication.’ (Cathy’s note: this is under the ‘Weekly Contests’ subheadline – I don’t know why.)

‘We are currently seeking long-form bodies of work for our 2023 publishing season.  No length or formatting parameters apply, but collections should be holistic and thematic. We welcome hybrid genre, mixed media, and graphic works including, but not limited to: poetry, short stories, nonfiction, plays, critical essays, comics, novellas, biography, photobooks, artist books, and graphic novels.’ PAYING

‘Open call for poetry, short stories, nonfiction, critical essays, reviews, interviews, comics, visual art, soundscapes, videography, and more.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES (MAY BE PRINT OR DIGITAL)

Women: ‘We publish novels, novellas and short story collections. We are looking for General Fiction – we are not a genre publisher, however this doesn’t mean we won’t accept work with elements of horror, romance, fantasy, etc. If you feel you have a well written story, send it our way.’

Poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. PAYING

‘SUFI is a biannual app and online journal devoted to the study of mysticism through literature, history, poetry and art. The editors of SUFI invite submissions on all topics relating to mystical philosophy and practice, irrespective of cultural and/or religious denomination… SUFI welcomes submissions in the form of articles, interviews, creative writing, poetry, reviews and visual art and photographic work for the print journal and digital online website.’ PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORS (Cathy’s note: although there’s no mention of payment on their website, SUFI Journal sent me an email that says accepted fiction and CNF will be paid for. Apologies for bad grammar – it’s very late at night!)

‘Mirror Dance is currently open to fiction and poetry submissions on the theme ‘Revival and Resurrections.’ Loose and creative interpretations of the theme are welcome!’ PAYING

‘The Worlds Within is committed to promoting great stories. We are looking for fantasy and science fiction of 10,000 words or less. We are not looking for erotica or gratuitous violence. What do we mean by gratuitous? If violence is for the sake of shocking the audience rather than forwarding the larger themes of your story, it’s probably not for us.’

‘We publish selected poetry by established poets most months, and you can submit all year round. We also consider submissions of music writing; again you can submit all year round.’

Up to 6 poems. ‘Priority is given to work previously unpublished in English, English translation, or Spanish. We will consider previously published pieces from outside of the United States that have received limited international exposure. If you do send something like this, please note the original venue in your cover letter.’

Poetry, flash, short fiction and more.

‘aswirl publishes poems with 10 lines or fewer in which every letter counts. Please submit no more than four. Since aswirl is quarterly, seasonal poems are encouraged but not always prioritised. The editor likes poems that slip, shift, laugh, list, sigh, mourn, sing, smile and above all play. He likes the kaleidoscopic concrete. He likes the emotional pastoral. Make him feel aswirl.’

‘Founded in 2022, The Trailblazer is an international high school literary magazine and nonprofit organization. Dedicated to supporting emerging and aspiring writers worldwide, it accepts submissions of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and visual art from students under 18 years old.’


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