Comps and calls for September 2023

In several places this site is listed as a British- or UK-centred site, concentrating on UK opportunities. Well…. it’s UK-based, but that’s not the same as UK-centred. Yes, I’m British, and every month there’ll be about three (or so) opportunities that are UK-specific. However, the vast majority of opportunities will be open to everyone. There are usually just as many Canadian, Australian or American opportunities as UK ones, and others from other countries whenever I can find them. I see this as a site for the people of the world. So please tell your writer friends from different countries that they are welcome here and might find something useful!

Today I received an email from a lovely litmag. I had failed to follow one of their guidelines, and they kindly allowed me to resubmit my story without the formatting mistake. How lovely of them! And what a good reminder that I need to check guidelines more carefully than I do! Make sure that you do too!

Love to my Patreon heroes—every quid helps. xxx

Good luck and love to all,

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.


Monthly (Cathy’s note: not really a comp, but I never know where to put grants). ‘The White Pube Creatives Grant is a one-off £500 grant to be given out to a different working class creative practitioner based in the UK once every month.’ PAYING

5th Sep ‘Together with Writing on the Wall, we are running a writing competition this summer to creatively delve into the narratives that have been explored by Liverpool Black History Research Group when researching the historic Canning Dock. So, get your pens at the ready, and choose from four prompts by writer Phil Olsen to help shape your story.’  NON-CASH PRIZE

12th Sep ‘The NorthBound Book Award, supported by the University of York and in partnership with Saraband, is open to writers of fiction or narrative non-fiction who have completed a full manuscript. New, emerging or established writers may apply for this award…(Applicants should be) living in the North of England at the time of entering and planning to remain here for at least another 12 months.’ PAYING

14th Sep ‘Reality Show Madness! We are looking for flash in the vein of these reality shows with a heavy addition of the speculative. We are not looking for fan fiction.’ Theme: Takeshi’s Castle/Hole in the Wall/Wipeout PAYING

21st Sep (or when full): ‘The theme of this contest will be science fiction featuring one or more of the following elements: time travel, robots, colonization, military or western elements.’ Exactly 100 words.PRIZES (UNKNOWN WHAT)

30th Sep ‘The most important hallmark of Holocaust remembrance and education is the phrase ‘never again.’ Unfortunately, tribal divisions, ethnic cleansing and genocides continue in the 21st Century. We are looking for submissions in any creative media (which can be exhibited online), and which highlight aspects of human unity, and positive cross-pollination between groups, ethnicities, religions and/or nations.’ Poetry, essays, and short stories. PAYING

30th Sep Up to 3 short stories of up to 100 words each. Entries may be in English, Spanish, Arabic or Hebrew. ‘Taking into account the objective of the Foundation, which is that the word is the tool of coexistence between different cultures, religions and ideologies, the VII Edition of competition is open, under the slogan: ”DREAM, WRITE AND SHARE”.’ PAYING

30th Sep A Sijo written in English. ‘The sijo is a traditional three-line Korean poetic form organized technically and thematically by line and syllable count. Using the sijo form, write one poem in English on a topic of your choice.’ PAYING

30th Sep Theme: I Never Knew. ‘As with every issue, poems submitted do not need to follow the prompt/theme. A single $100 award will be given for an outstanding poem.’ PAYS ONE CONTRIBUTOR

1st Oct ‘Over the course of his lifetime, T Paulo submitted his short fiction and poems to over 187 contests, with submission fees totaling in the quadruple digits, US$. Unfortunately, he never won. Not once. In honor of this great and under-compensated monolith of a writer, and in the name of LITERARY EXCELLENCE, the Editors of High Horse are proud to announce the first annual T Paulo Urcanse Prize for Literary Excellence.The T Paulo Urcanse Prize for Literary Excellence is open to poets, writers, and essayists of all colors and stripes.’ PAYING


2nd Sep  ‘We publish stories, art, and poetry that examine the connection between animals and humans, and the ways we and our lives are more similar than people assume… Thanks to the generosity of donors and supporters, we are able to pay some contributors (cartoonists, featured writer, featured artist, and contest winner).’ PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORS

3rd Sep 800-2000 word story on the theme of Doom & Gloom.

4th Sep ‘Writers Victoria’s in-house magazine, The Victorian Writer, welcomes submissions from both members and non-members writing short fiction and non-fiction, poetry, and articles on the craft and business of writing.’ Theme: Rip. PAYING

4th Sep ‘At Fathom we publish articles, personal essays, profiles, interviews, book reviews, Bible exposition, theological and/or historical analysis, poetry, and short stories. The work we prefer often utilizes personal narrative to communicate the deeper aspects of the Christian faith and to draw our readers into the nuance surrounding an idea. Our standard articles fall between 1,000 and 1,600 words. Short stories should be at least 3,000 words. Poems vary in length and style.’ Theme: Joy.

5th Sep ‘For the third issue of Beloved, we want to see your interpretations on the theme of Flesh. Send us your ButchFemme horror, present us with the beauty of the grotesque, show us how touch and devotion and consumption embody your ButchFemme identities and desires.’

8th Sep ‘Changeling Annual has been selected as part of the Science and Industry Museum’s City Sparks community showcase this year! To celebrate I’m opening submissions for our FIRST EVER mini mag!’ Theme: REBUILD  (open to interpretation – a STEM/Science theme is great!). Applicants must be neurodivergent. Applicants can be any age and from anywhere, but all submissions must be suitable for children aged 8+. Poetry, fiction, comics, illustrations and activities.

8th Sep Canada residents only: ‘The Ampersand Review accepts submissions of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, essays, and reviews. We seek to publish literary works of the highest quality. To us, this means work that engages thoughtfully with its subject matter and displays formal excellence and innovation.’ PAYING

8th Sep Poetry, CNF, and art, for children.

10th Sep Poetry, fiction, screenplays and more. PAYING

10th Sep ‘Special Call: Poems in Pairs, Translations, Collaborative or Conversation Poems, Poems in Couplets, Poems about Halves or Binaries, etc. Tab Journal is seeking poetry related to the general idea of “two” for its next print issue, to be published in January 2024.’ PAYING

10th Sep ‘Initial 1st time submissions are free except for expedited review and our feedback option…Write up to 3 poems any style about the same or different antiques in your location, those you’ve personally acquired, fave passed down collections e.g. radios, typewriters, vintage baseball card, necklace, a rare book or a family heirloom that you hold in your heart,.’

15th Sep ‘This year, National Poetry Day is on the theme of refuge, and we are particularly looking for submissions on refuge and the environment. Please note however, that submissions are not limited to the theme. If you have work that you think would be suitable for Modron we encourage you to send it.’ Please send up to six poems in MS Word with a 50-word bio.

15th Sep Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of The Afterlife. PAYING

15th Sep ‘Always Crashing is looking for submissions of fiction, poetry, collage text, visual collage, video, labyrinths, manifestos, the generically transgressive, and nonfiction (though we prefer not to be told if it’s nonfiction).’

15th Sep Haiku on the theme of Yellow.

15th Sep ‘The Gateway Review publishes surrealist, fabulist, and magic realist fiction and poetry, as well as nonfiction about the art of writing the same.’ SOME CONTRIBUTORS GET CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES, PAYS ONE CONTRIBUTOR (Cathy’s note: US contributors get a copy. Editor’s Choice contribution gets cash.)

15th Sep ‘We are looking for humorous or amusing poetry about poetry or the culture of poetry. We are looking for the light side of the sometimes dreary work of writing, reading and living in the poetic world.’

15th Sep ‘We are looking for new, unpublished short horror, dark fantasy, and sci-fi fiction between 1,000 and 4,000 words. You may submit pieces up to 6,000 words, however, payment is capped at 4,000 words.’ PAYING

15th Sep Up to 3 poems on the theme of Local.

15th Sep ‘Alien Dimensions #25 will be a themed issue. The theme? OFFICIAL FIRST CONTACT. Imagine first contact happening at the end of 2026 or beginning of 2027. How would humanity deal with that?’ Fiction 5000-7000 words. PAYING

15th Sep Haiku on the theme of Headnotes.

15th Sep Haiku with a Kire (cut).

15th Sep Speculative poetry on the theme of Food & Feasting. PAYING

15th Sep ‘Little Thoughts Press publishes stories, poetry, and artwork for young readers ages ten and under. All submitted material should be aimed at this audience.’ Theme: Fantastical Fall. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES (MAY BE PRINT OR DIGITAL)

15th Sep Theme: Distant Futurisms. Poetry, flash, fiction, and more. ‘When we speak of futurisms we want to see new worlds, new sights, new technologies, and characters that reflect this world, characters who even in a hundred years or more, will be able to deliver a level of emotional resonance that will go beyond the sands of time.’ PAYING

16th Sep Theme: Fame. Stories must be 2,000 (10% tolerance +/-)  PAYING

17th Sep ‘We’re delighted to announce a new call for submissions which is now open! The theme is African Ghost Short Stories – a chance for African writers around the world to explore their culture of ghostly folklore and offer fresh stories.’ PAYING

17th Sep Fiction and poetry on the theme of Tales of the Strange.

18th Sep ‘Friends Journal welcomes articles, poetry, art, photographs, and letters from our readers. We are also helped by your comments and questions. We are an independent magazine serving the entire Religious Society of Friends.’ Articles, poetry, and more. Theme: Stewardship as a Testimony.

20th Sep Fiction, poetry and more on the theme of Grace.

22nd Sep ‘For Reckoning 8, we want thinking, writing and art about … this. All of this, right now. We want to hear about active resistance to the patriarchofascist, corporate-captured extractive state…We are looking for work in opposition to a broad, insidious fascism that treats water, trees, and bodies as exploitable, expendable resources rather than sacred, essential components of our global, infinitely interconnected and interdependent web of life… Reckoning is a journal of creative writing on environmental justice; we’re looking for fiction, creative nonfiction, essays, poetry and art.’  PAYING

24th Sep ‘Writers should send short stories and non-fiction of 2,000-6,000 words and/or up to three poems on the theme The Unknown.’ PAYING

30th Sep ‘We want the stories you love the most, that you wrote in a fit of fury, passion, grief, or worry. Anywhere between 1000 and 2000. Too big for flash, too small for a short story. Horror only, though we count dark fantasy and gruesome or heart-wrenching literary in there too.’ PAYING

30th Sep Theme: Blades/Swords. ‘Welcome to our four-book series, dedicated to horror inspired by the Tarot. Does the story have to be about Tarot Cards… NO. Think cups, knives, wands, and pentacles. We are looking for the theme to be the element, not necessarily the card itself, although we would love to read that as well… What we are looking for: Unique, clever, and terrifying stories. Well-written relatable characters with flaws and real dialogue. Take us on a journey and scare the sh*t out of us while doing it.’ PAYING

30th Sep Poetry, essays, stories, and flash fiction. ‘Clean’, positive, and inclusive.

30th Sep ‘Horror-themed poetry, fiction, artwork, visual poetry, etc., in small bites. Horror reviews in larger gulps.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES (MAY BE PRINT OR DIGITAL)

30th Sep Novels and novellas. Pulp fiction and extreme horror.

30th Sep 12-line split sequence haiku. (Cathy’s note: this is new to me, but it’s all explained on the site.)

30th Sep Manuscripts of scholarly works, children’s manuscripts by First Nations authors and/or illustrators (both accepted all year round), and YA and children’s MSS.

30th Sep or until filled: ‘We are looking for 15-18 previously unpublished short stories in the genres of horror, sci-fi, fantasy, dark mysteries, and thrillers that feature at least one of the Sley siblings predominantly in the story. There is no theme (other than their inclusion). Just make your stories around 6000 – 10,000 words.’ PAYING

30th Sep Spooky love and romance.

30th Sep Micro love and romance.

30th Sep Theme: Fearless Conflict. ‘We explore intrepid culture: our stories feature danger elements, struggle, emotion, and OVERCOMING. Our stories are intrepid first and not subordinated to other themes.’ PAYING

30th Sep Theme: Boléro at Breakfast (played on a particular radio station) must feature in your 150-1000 word story.

30th Sep Flash up tp 250 words on the theme of RĀKAU / TREE. Open to Aotearoa New Zealand writers only.

30th Sep Theme: Personal Ghost Stories. ‘Non-fiction under 4,500 words, fiction under 2,000 and poetry just generally kept to a minimum, Monica hates it’ PAYING

30th Sep Articles and recipes on the theme of Mansion.

30th Sep ‘La Bete Noire – literally, the black beast. Metaphorically, a pet hate, a bugbear. For this issue I want absurdist chimera, poetry in slathering motion, savage dogs of war and peace, haikus of bugaboos and beastly images of legend and sheer annoyance.’

1st Oct ‘These waters are eclectic, baby, sometimes dyslexic, irreverent, and odd, but mom loves it anyway—Mother Nature, that is. And we love her. That’s why everything we publish at Skipjack Review must have within its radar a reeling concern for the world around us. Skipjack Review is accepting fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and comic submissions between April 1st and October 1st for our inaugural issue.’

1st Oct ‘20-30 stories inspired by NIRVANA songs, ranging their entire discography. All horror tropes are welcome. Genre-blending is highly encouraged. Queer retellings and gender swaps, historical horror, sci-fi horror, cults, and cannibalism are a few of our favorites.’ PAYING

1st Oct ‘All stories must end with the last line provided. The story should be between 300 and 5,000 words (this is more like a guideline and not a hard-and-fast rule; going over or under the word count won’t get your story tossed from the slush pile).’ The 2023 last line is: ‘Samir was never one to back down from a challenge.’ PAYING

1st Oct First person essays on the theme of Lost.

1st Oct ‘What makes a desert? Definitions of ‘desert’ include arid land, lifeless water, desolate areas, wild lands, or home for most of us in the Southwest. In issue six, we want to explore what perceptions shape our climate. Send us your related flash fiction, flash memoir, poetry, and art. Prose should be no more than 300 words, and poetry no more than 12 lines.’ PAYING

1st Oct Various dark-themed anthologies. PAYING


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

Open until filled: ‘All My Relations Volume 6 is an art and lit, online and printed magazine, exploring the theme of “resistance.” This volume is open to racially and ethnically marginalized, gender variant, and disabled creatives only, in consideration of the theme. Own voices only, please.’ PAYING

‘Book*hug Press is a Canadian independent literary publisher working at the forefront of contemporary book culture. We specialize in bold and exciting literary fiction, narrative nonfiction, poetry, and literature in translation… Please note that we do not publish children’s literature, genre fiction, cookbooks, textbooks, or self-help books.’

Prose, poetry and art.

Open until filled: ‘Angry Gable Press is currently seeking short stories and poetry of science fiction, fantasy, and horror that explore the theme of sensory overload for inclusion in the collection called Extrasensory Overload: an anthology of speculative excess, edited by Naomi Simone Borwein and Chun Hyon Lee.’ PAYING

‘We are looking for strong, fresh voices & POV’s in any genre. Fiction, nonfiction, & poetry. Especially looking for unique voices of female identifying, LGBTQ & POC from all over the world. CLASH Books is about global perspectives, contrasts, & juxtapositions.’ Send full MS, bio and synopsis.

Haiku and senryu.

‘We seek to acquire bold, innovative and engaging books. We are most interested in writing that takes risks and challenges and pushes the boundaries of cultural expectations. When acquiring manuscripts, we carefully consider questions such as: who are the storytellers we need most right now? We aim to ensure that our catalogue reflects a diverse and inclusive Canada. We especially welcome work by BIPOC writers, LGBTQIA2S+ writers, Deaf and disabled writers, and women.’

‘We showcase the “underground”: Artists, writers, creatives or anyone pursuing interesting independent work in the community. We provide a space for minority creatives (BIPOC and LGBTQI+) who have been traditionally left out from arts platforms, emerging creatives wanting a place to discover their craft, and experienced creatives who want to experiment with something new.’ PAYING

‘To get an idea of what kinds of books we publish, please check out our website. Our fiction tends to be very literary-we don’t generally publish genre-with a realistic and often gritty feel. Our Bookmarked series focuses on a famous work of literature that left a powerful impression on an author (hence the name, Bookmarked—a book that left its mark). Each book in the series is a no-holds barred personal narrative detailing how a particular novel influenced an author on their journey to becoming a writer, as well as the myriad directions in which that journey has taken them.’

‘We give money to theatre writers in order to afford them the time and the space to write.

 You can be a writer who’s only had one play professionally produced, a writer who’s had dozens of successes or a writer who’s somewhere in between – if you’re struggling to pay the bills, then we can help. We only support writers resident in the British Isles.’ PAYING

Pitch your MS.

Send a query re your MS, but bear in mind the following: ‘The only fiction we publish falls into our Interlink World Fiction series. Most of these books, as you can see in our catalog, are translated fiction from around the world. The series aims to bring fiction from other countries to a North American audience. In short, unless you were born outside the United States, your novel will not fit into the series.’

‘Crowsnest Books is on the lookout for the best of new imaginative literature. We are currently accepting submissions in all literary genres, with special interest in imaginative literature, speculative fiction, and novel-length works…We are looking for authors with a gift for reflection and exploration. Tell us about your work and the ideas behind it and we will be very interested in reading your manuscript.’

‘The best stories are truly about somebody doing something. Struggle, challenge, and danger are at the heart of our favourite stories. We equally prize any work that is centred on oddball characters, or which makes us laugh…We also consider poetry that is connected to the natural world.’ PAYING

Short fiction. ‘We look for innovative and reflective short fiction from new and emerging writers across all genres that play with form and content, as well as traditionally constructed stories with fresh voices and original ideas that say something new or bring nuance and perspective to an ongoing cultural conversation.’ PAYING

‘We are currently OPEN to submissions of new novels, poetry collections, and short fiction.’ ROYALTIES

‘We teeter on the threshold of another mass extinction, driven by human-induced climate change. Club Chicxulub is a space to lament, to rage, to witness—and dare we try to spread some hope?—by way of dark and weird fiction and music. This is catharsis, dirge and celebration, submission and defiance. We like sci-fi, slipstream, satire, steampunk, African- and Afrofuturism, Indigenous Futurisms, gothic, ecological, pulp, fabulist, and horror fiction from a diversity of voices and identities.’

Poetry, prose and art.

‘We’re a queer and BIPOC-led independent literary journal with roots in New York.’ Prose, poetry and art.

Poetry. PAYING


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.