As I write this here in the UK, numerous events have been cancelled out of respect for the late Queen. One such event is Guinea Pig Awareness Week. We live in strange and interesting times. Wherever you live, don’t forget to write about what is happening where you are now, and what is in the news. A poem, or a diary entry, or a story or essay – you and your writing are part of history.
— I wrote that mid-month, and now the news here (UK) is about the collapse of the pound and the cost of living crisis. A week is a long time in politics, and things change all the time – your diary comments might one day, far in the future, be examined at universities as vital historical evidence!
I’ve been struggling with health again, which, among other things, is really boring. So if you’re in good or tolerable health, get writing, get submitting, and get entering, so that I can enjoy your successes instead of mine!
I hope you’re having a lovely Autumn! It’s a good time for writing poetry!
Much love and happy writing,
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.
8th Oct ‘This contest is for writers who are relatively new to paid or incoming-earning publication of speculative short fiction in English. Submit one complete and finalized story of up to 10,000 words.’ PAYINGhttps://dreamfoundry.org/writing-contest/ (Cathy’s note: there are specific rules for eligibility – do check them because you might be eligible!)
9th Oct Writers who identify as Black, Indigenous, and/or a Person of Color: one unpublished story of no more than 1,000 words. PAYING https://salthilljournal.net/arthur-flowers-ff-prize
12th Oct ‘This fellowship calls for an early-career writer of fiction who has not yet published a book and is not currently nor has ever been enrolled in an advanced degree program (such as an MA or MFA) in Creative Writing, English, or Literature, and has no plans to attend one in the 2023 calendar year. We are seeking writers whose work speaks to issues and experiences related to inhabiting bodies of difference. This means writing that centers, celebrates, or reclaims being marginalized through the lens of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, religion, illness, disability, trauma, migration, displacement, dispossession, or imprisonment. All applicants must be at least 21 years of age as of January 1st, 2023.’ PAYING https://one-story.com/learn/fellowship/ (Cathy’s note: there are loads of guidelines and notes on eligibility and the prize – as always, read these carefully.)
15th Oct Australia and New Zealand residents only: 2000-word short story. PAYING https://www.mindfood.com/competition/calling-all-writers-short-story/
27th Oct (opens 21st Oct) Microfiction on the provided theme. PAYING https://solarpunkmagazine.com/monthly-micro-fiction-contest/
31st Oct Speculative drabble on the theme of Out the Airlock. PAYING https://www.hiraethsffh.com/drabble-contest
31st Oct Age 11-19 only: ‘If you are aged between 11 and 19 and interested in history and writing, the YWSP is ready to take you on an adventure! We are the UK’s only creative writing prize specifically for budding historical fiction writers. You could win a £500 travel grant, tickets to one of the UK’s best book festivals, and the chance to see your own work in print. Stories must be between 800 and 2,000 words, and set in a time before you were born.’ PAYING https://www.walterscottprize.co.uk/young-walter-scott-prize/ (thanks to http://www.prizemagic.co.uk/html/writing_comps.htm for this one)
31st Oct Poem inspired by the provided image. PAYING http://www.rattle.com/ekphrastic/
31st Oct Short story up to 5000 words. ‘Applicants must be ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom, Commonwealth, or the Republic of Ireland. Applicants must have had at least one short story accepted for publication.’ PAYING https://www2.societyofauthors.org/prizes/the-soa-awards/alcs-tom-gallon-trust-award/
31st Oct UK only, age 18-25: ‘Each year a question or quote exploring Franklin’s relevance in our time is open for interpretation in 1000-1500 words. The competition is exclusively for young writers, aged 18-25, with a first prize of £750, and a second prize of £500. The Franklin quote for interpretation in 2022 is ‘The Eyes of other People are the Eyes that ruin us. If all but myself were blind, I should want neither fine Clothes, fine Houses nor Fine Furniture.’’ PAYING https://benjaminfranklinhouse.org/education/literary-prize/ (thanks to www.winningwriters.com for this one)
31st Oct Aged under 30, and GB, NI and Commonwealth only: collection of up to 30 poems. PAYING https://www2.societyofauthors.org/prizes/the-soa-awards/eric-gregory-awards/
31st Oct Story on the provided theme. PAYING http://oldewolf.co/
31st Oct Travel nonfiction 1000-10,000 words, by an unpublished writer: ‘For purposes of these contests, unpublished writers are defined as those who have never earned over $500.00 by their writing skills in any single year, whether from a salary, freelance work, editing, royalties, sale of stories or books. or any combination of these.’ http://www.storyhouse.org/contest%202022.html (thanks to www.winningwriters.com for this one)
1st Nov Open internationally. Students in the 9th-12th grades: poetry, fiction or nonfiction. PAYING https://www.bennington.edu/events/young-writers-awards
1st Nov ‘The prize is free to enter and open to any citizen of a Commonwealth country who is aged 18 and over. It is awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction (2,000–5,000 words).’ PAYING https://www.commonwealthwriters.org/shortstoryprize/info/
1st Nov ‘The Prize is open to African writers. An “African writer” is taken to mean someone who was born in Africa, who is a national or resident of an African country, or whose parents are African. The prize is open to African poets who have not yet had a full-length poetry book published at the time of submission. Manuscripts of 10 poems, no more and no less.’ PAYING https://africanpoetrybf.unl.edu/contest-prizes/evaristo-prize-for-african-poetry/?csrt=16482343113046872603
1st Nov ‘The contest is for first-time authors who have not had any work of fiction published before. It doesn’t need to be complete — just send 3,000 words, plus a 600-word synopsis (including spoilers) to show where you plan to take your plot and characters.’ PAYING https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11041061/Your-chance-author-Today-Mail-gives-chance-novel-published.html
1st Nov ‘The Grants Committee is looking for works in progress that are consistent with the Malice Domestic genre of Traditional Mystery, typified by the works of Agatha Christie. These works contain no explicit gore, violence, or sex.’ PAYING https://www.malicedomestic.org/grants.html
2nd Oct Spec flash fiction 300-1000 words on the theme of Selfishness/Sacrifice. POSSIBLE PAYMENT https://gohavok.com/submission-guidelines/ (Cathy’s note: if your work is used in an anthology, then you’ll get paid. Otherwise, you won’t.)
3rd Oct ‘ Dilettante Army seeks scholarly writing for the Winter 2022 issue, Weak Aesthetics. Topics might include, but are not limited to: a theory of the Aesthetics Wiki, dandyism, nostalgia, common suffixes or families (-core, -punk, -wave), teens, neologisms, aesthetic failure, failed aesthetic categories, Normcore, Weirdcore, relationships between digital and analog aesthetics, the ugly, the disgusting, the charming, gendered and raced aesthetics, Frederic Jameson, Sianne Ngai, minor feelings, base and superstructure now, Horse Girls, Pierre Bourdieu, so five minutes ago, and Kant.’ PAYING https://dilettantearmy.com/articles/call-for-submissions-weak-aesthetics
4th Oct ‘The Commonwealth Foundation is delighted to launch the 2022-2023 adda call for submissions. Writers are invited to submit creative non-fiction, short fiction, short graphic fiction and poetry on the theme of healthy communities.’ PAYING https://tinyurl.com/2y7hmu4a
4th Oct ‘The Science Fiction Tarot will contain 22 stories, one tale standing in for each of the cards of the major arcana and placing the anthologies word count at approximately 90-110K words. Stories of up to 7,500 words will be considered, but please be advised that submissions of 5,000 words and under will have the best chance to be selected. Each author will be expected to submit a 1-3 word science fiction concept for a card, along with a story that exhibits that idea through character, plot or theme.’ PAYING http://tdotspec.com/submissions/
5th Oct ‘Embracing Our Differences is seeking writing submissions for an outdoor juried art exhibit featuring 50 billboard size images paired with quotations created by local, national and international artists and writers. The display reflects the artists’ and writers’ interpretations of the theme “enriching lives through diversity.” Entries can be no longer than 20 words.’ PAYING https://www.embracingourdifferences.org/submit-a-quotation-2022-exhibit/
15th Oct ‘Send us your best stories of approximately 50 words about Country Roads…We are requesting artwork submissions as well.’ http://www.blink-ink.org/current-submissions/
15th Oct ‘We’re looking for those funny stories you tell again and again. The ones that make everyone laugh. The ones that make you laugh just thinking about them!’ PAYING https://www.chickensoup.com/story-submissions/possible-book-topics/
15th Oct ‘Our Spring 2023 issue will feature a Tribute to Irish Poets. Poems may be written on any subject, in any style or length, but the poet must identify as Irish and have lived in Ireland for a significant portion of their life.’ PAYING https://rattle.submittable.com/submit/28744/tribute-to-irish-poets
15th Oct ‘All submissions are welcome during the spring (January 15 – April 15) and fall (July 15 – October 15) reading periods, and will be considered for either our print publication (Consequence journal) or our website (Consequenceonline). All submissions need to address in some manner the human consequences and realities of war or geopolitical violence.’ PAYING https://www.consequenceforum.org/submissions
15th Oct ‘This anthology will feature stories where the two great detectives, the cold and calculating Holmes and the kind and meek Brown, team up to solve mysteries… ubmissions should be between 5,000-10,000 words in length (okay to go over the word limit) and should feature the traditional Holmes of the canon and G.K. Chesterton’s Father Brown. No stories based on TV/ film versions of the detectives.’ PAYING https://belangerbooks.com/blogs/news/call-for-submissions-1 (thanks to www.authorspublish.com for this)
15th Oct ‘We are looking for new, unpublished, first-person, non-fiction material that is for or about women. Essays, humor, satire, personal experience, and features on topics relating to women are our primary editorial focus.’ Theme: In the Spirit! https://sasee.com/submissions/
15th Oct Flash and short fiction. PAYING https://orcalit.com/guidelines/ (Cathy’s note: free submissions are capped at 100 per month, so get in early!)
25th Oct ‘The Sweet Holiday Treats issue! We want love that is sweet, saccharine, sentimental, over-the-top adorable. It doesn’t haven’t to be holiday-themed but we won’t be mad if it is… Think holidays-other-than-Christmas, familial love, furbaby love, love for the season. Think gratefulness & togetherness. Think ooey-gooey & uplifting. Think LOVE.’ https://miniskirtmagazine.com/main-pages/submissions/
28th Oct Theme: Rhythms. ‘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
29th Oct ‘Write a letter to Santa in poetry form.’ – writing for an audience of children. https://www.buzgaga.com/submission
30th Oct ‘Good old-fashioned sonnets.’ https://theminisonproject.com/submissions/sonnetsubmissions/
30th Oct ‘Beechwood Review publishes minimalist writing and art. We’re partial to themes of time, nature, humanity, philosophy, chaos, reason, the ridiculous, and the whimsical. We don’t like work that drones on about fancy table fruit. Although good fruit poems have their place.’ PAYING https://beechwoodreview.com/
31st Oct ‘We invite you to submit if you identify as an immigrant or member of a diaspora in the broadest definitions of the terms.’ ‘ khōréō is a quarterly publication of stories, essays, and art: fantasy, sci-fi, horror, and any genre in between or around it, as long as there’s a speculative element.’ PAYING https://www.khoreomag.com/submissions/
31st Oct Fiction up to 2000 words on the theme of ‘ThanksKilling Feasts—Stories about cannibalism, food, or gluttony.’ PAYING https://nightterrornovels.wordpress.com/submissions/
31st Oct ‘We want your original, unpublished, short horror stories set in daylight.’ 500-5000 words. PAYING https://www.bagofbonespress.com/submission-calls
31st Oct Stories 2000-3500 words on the theme of Manor of Frights. PAYING https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/current-submission-calls/
31st Oct or when submission cap is reached: ‘The theme for our Fourth Annual Short Story Anthology is The Natural World. Stories should take place predominantly outdoors or in some natural context, with nature a defining aspect of the work.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES (MAY BE PRINT OR DIGITAL), PROFIT/REVENUE SHARING MODEL https://propertiuspress.submittable.com/submit
1st Nov ‘We are a biannual literary zine focused on women’s embodied experiences of perimenopause, menopause, and croning—minus the patriarchy.’ https://www.hagsonfire.com/ (Cathy’s note: sadly this will be the final issue of Hags on Fire.)
1st Nov or when submission cap is reached: ‘We are actively seeking submissions from Black, Minority, Indigenous, and other Persons of Color in the Historical Fiction category.’ https://propertiuspress.submittable.com/submit
1st Nov Poetry and fiction on the theme of So THAT’S why. PAYING http://themaliterarysociety.com/submissions.html(Cathy’s note: readers from outside the USA may submit electronically.)
1st Nov ‘Kelp Books is an independent press located in Pebble Beach, California. The press seeks to discover new talents and publish brave, off-beat, and adventurous fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.’ https://www.kelpjournal.com/books
1st Nov Biography or Memoir. https://propertiuspress.submittable.com/submit
1st Nov Fiction, poetry and more beginning with the first line: When he died, their father had two requests. PAYING http://thefirstline.com/submission.htm
(Publishers might not give out their pay rates on their submission pages, so make sure to find them out before signing a contract!)
‘Blind Eye Books publishes science fiction, fantasy, mystery, and romance novels featuring LGBTQ protagonists. We do not publish short story collections, poetry, erotica, horror or non-fiction. We would hesitate to publish any manuscript that is less than 70,000 or over 150,000 words.’ https://www.blindeyebooks.com/submissions/ (Cathy’s note: I highly recommend scrolling down and reading ‘What the Editor Prefers’ before you submit.)
‘We are actively acquiring strong nonfiction manuscripts. We are not looking for fiction at this time.’ ADVANCE + ROYALTIES (I think) https://benbellabooks.com/pitching-benbella/
A longform piece: ‘ Researched essay, cultural critique, creative nonfiction, historical inquiry, narrative reporting — we’re open to all your ideas, as long as they tell a good story and interrogate their topic thoroughly.’ – or conversation pieces about someone else’s longform work. PAYING https://pipewrenchmag.com/submissions/
Weekly: ‘Because of the nature of the traditional publication apparatus, poetry doesn’t often respond in a timely way to current events—but we think it could. To test this hypothesis, we’d like to try publishing a poem online each Sunday (if we receive any that we like) that responds to a news story or public event from the previous week, and has been written in the time since.’ PAYING https://rattle.submittable.com/submit