Comps and calls for March 2021

I hope you’re all well, and looking forward to better things. I’ve had my first vaccination, and I’m feeling very relieved. I just have to wait about 20 days now until there’s a level of protection against the virus. Best wishes to all of you who are still waiting.

I was lucky enough to have a lovely Valentine’s Day and a lovely Pancake Day (Shrove Tuesday)  it’s rare that both go well, but I think we made a special effort to celebrate because of lockdown and not going out.

So for once I’m not complaining!

This month there are some themes that I’m sure all of you could try, and experienced writers will already have worked on: Health, History, Rebirth, Hope, Resilience, Resist, Faith, Spirit. These come up again and again – throw all your writing techniques at ’em! If they don’t get published this time, they might next time the theme comes up.

Have fun in March! The weather is less icy, and social possibilities beckon. Please be careful still, and please don’t forget to do some writing, editing and submitting.

Love to all of you and especially to the heroes who donate to my Patreon, despite getting absolutely nothing at all in return. This is pure generosity, and love for the writing community – a way to give back to all of you, from them, by keeping this website going – as this website is my way of giving back, from me.

Tl,dr? Love to all! xxx

Best wishes and stay safe,

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.

COMPETITIONS

2nd Mar Emerging writers only (see link for criteria): ‘In 2020 a once-in-a-century global pandemic affected almost all aspects of life, forcing us to change how we relate to the world and to one another. In this historical moment, in what ways has your connection to the natural world changed–and in what ways has it remained the same?’ Essay. PAYING https://appalachiajournal.submittable.com/submit/181459/annual-waterman-fund-wilderness-themed-essay-contest-for-emerging-writers (Cathy’s note: thanks to www.erikadreifus.com for this one)

3rd Mar Spectator Competition No. 3189: Heaven scent. ‘You are invited to submit a poem about a favourite smell. Please email entries of up to 16 lines to lucyATspectator.co.uk by midday on 3 March.’ PAYING https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/spectator-competition-winners-mischievous-acrostics

5th Mar UK residents aged 18-30 only: up to two poems. PAYING https://www.girton.cam.ac.uk/sites/default/files/2021-02/2021JMP-Flyer.pdf

10th Mar Spectator Competition No. 3190: first and worst. ‘You are invited to supply the first paragraph of your least favourite type of novel. Please email entries of up to 150 words to lucyATspectator.co.uk by midday on 10 March.’ PAYING  https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/spectator-competition-winners-topical-sea-shanties

10th Mar US only: Fill in all the necessary forms. You need to have had writing published in order to be eligible. This year is prose: next year will be poetry. PAYING https://www.arts.gov/grants/creative-writing-fellowships/award-information (Cathy’s note: apply a few days early if you can, in case there are administrative issues.)

12th Mar Open to US and Canada (excluding Quebec) only: Poem or story inspired by one of the prompts. PAYING https://ulysses.app/contest

15th Mar USA only: short fiction collection. ‘Author must not have book of short fiction published at time of entry, though novels are okay. In keeping with Tartt’s biography, we are looking for an author who has yet to publish a fiction collection.’ PAYING https://livingstonpress.uwa.edu/htm%20(web%20pages)/tartt_first_fiction_award.htm

15th Mar Those who have a record of publication in the United Kingdom: short story. PAYING (LOTS) https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/4Z1gg8wqDRRThQJGS4VfhX8/how-to-enter

15th Mar ‘The March Contest theme is “Intelligences”. Stories must be submitted by March 15th. 500-1500 words in any Fantasy or Science Fiction style.’ NON-CASH PRIZE https://starsandstaffs.weebly.com/submissions.html

31st Mar Poetry up to 45 lines. PAYING https://americamedia.submittable.com/submit/181645/foley-poetry-2021

31st Mar Nonfiction MS by a first-generation immigrant. PAYING https://restlessbooks.org/prize-for-new-immigrant-writing-guidelines-and-eligibility

31st Mar Speculative philosophical flash fiction. PAYING https://themeofabsence.com/speculative-philosophical-fiction-contest/

1st Apr Humor poetry. PAYING https://winningwriters.com/our-contests/wergle-flomp-humor-poetry-contest-free(Recommended! Have a go! They’ve doubled the prize money!)

SUBMISSIONS WITH DEADLINES

4th Mar Lesbians only: Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Snapshots of a Moment (Zoom-in). https://www.tippingthescalesjournal.co.uk/submissions

7th Mar Speculative Flash fiction on the theme of Purple. PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORS https://gohavok.com/submission-guidelines/upcoming-themes/ (Cathy’s note: contributors are paid if their story is used in an anthology.)

7th Mar ‘Blood & Bourbon is here to showcase all things hard, gritty, and raw.’ Poetry, fiction and more. Theme: Grace. https://blood-and-bourbon.com/submissions/

7th Mar Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Health. https://www.continuethevoice.com/post/submissions-open-for-issue-7

7th Mar Story 800-2000 words on the theme of Fools & Sages. https://www.liarsleague.com/liars_league/writers.html

8th Mar BIPOC writers only: Fantasy story 1500-10,000 words. PAYING https://adamant.moksha.io/publication/lightspeed

8th Mar Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Rebirth. https://drexelpaperdragon.com/submit/

10th Mar ‘Step right up, folks, to a show, unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. Circus terrors and frights, sure to delight. Here at Dark Carnival, we’ve got it all. Freaks and clowns, screams and laughter and always, a healthy side of the macabre. So, come one, come all and join us, if you dare.’ 3000-8000 words. PAYING https://macabreladies.wixsite.com/website/submissions

10th Mar YA and NA stories 1000-1500 words on the theme of Dark Academia. ROYALTIES https://alsoknownasthenovelette.wordpress.com/2020/12/13/aesthetic-a-dark-academia-anthology-submissions-open-12-20-3-10-writers-writingcommunity-amwriting-bookcommunity/

12th Mar Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Ramble. http://www.camasmagazine.org/submit

12th Mar Poetry on the theme of Mundane Joys. https://www.derailleur.press/submit.html#/

13th Mar Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Retrospect. https://causticfrolic.org/submission-info/

13th Mar ‘Pandemonia is the sustained tremor within our rooms, bodies, thoughts, and structures. It’s an object fallen from the shelf; an absent strum of touch. Bombay Gin Literary Journal is calling for submissions that unveil the pandemic’s hold on everyday life, both global and local to our bodies, the spaces newly empty. Who were you once, who are you now, and what is becoming?’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES https://bombaygin.submittable.com/submit

14th Mar ‘Unbound Edition Press is now open for submissions to our anthology of new American writing, to be edited by acclaimed poet and critic Peter Campion, with publication in early 2022. This collection will not be simply an anthology of experimental writing; it will be also an experimental anthology.’  PAYING https://www.unboundedition.com/unbound-edition-press-opens-submissions-for-experimental-anthology/

15th Mar Fantasy story 1500-10,000 words. PAYING https://adamant.moksha.io/publication/lightspeed

15th Mar ‘This issue will be dedicated to imagining and making the kind of future designated impossible by rulers and their collaborators. We seek analytical articles, news reports, essays, poetry and fiction relating to past, current and future radical alternatives for regenerative rising for life and freedom so vital to countering the current oppressive realities of industrial capitalist civilization.’ Short stories, plays, poetry and articles. https://www.fifthestate.org/contact-fifth-estate/call-for-submissions/

15th Mar Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Home Cooking. PAYING http://www.hungryzine.com/issue-00-call-for-submissions/

15th Mar ‘Skirting Around is a new online journal focussing on women’s clothing – exploring how it can empower and endanger, enlighten and entrap, oppress and liberate.’ Poetry, prose and more. https://www.skirtingaround.org/submissions

15th Mar Poetry, fiction and more. https://www.ligeiamagazine.com/submissions/

15th Mar ‘For this issue, we want tales of maritime disaster. Of shipwrecks and oil spills. Of bones left to decompose on the ocean floor. Of those left behind on land, never to know what’s become of their loved ones. Of lighthouse keepers forced to stand by and witness tragedy unfold. Elements of the supernatural are welcome, as are stories that utilize elements of horror and science-fiction.’ ‘We will accept short-form fiction any way you want to write it. This can include poetry, flash fiction or short stories.’ PAYING https://www.periodicalforlorn.com/submission-guidelines

15th Mar Poetry and fiction on the theme of Starry Nights. ‘We’re looking for stories, poems, and essays that feel summer-y. Send us writing about camping under the stars in your backyard or as far away in the wilderness as you can go. Taking the long way home at night so you can gaze up at the night sky.’ https://capsulestories.com/submissions/

15th Mar Speculative poetry on the theme of Weird West. PAYING http://www.eyetothetelescope.com/submit.html

15th Mar Fiction, poetry and nonfiction on the theme of Resist. PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORS https://www.wardslitmag.com/submit (Cathy’s note: one contributor to each genre ‘wins’ a cash ‘prize’. I’m not sure how this differs from a normal contributor payment, but maybe it’s a bit more fun.)

15th Mar Theme: Isola. ‘from Camille Wanliss: Isola, when translated to English, means “island.” It’s also the root word for isolation. This month, we’re exploring what it means to be islanded – geographically and metaphorically.’ Poetry, fiction and CNF. https://www.goldwalkmag.com/themed-issues.html

15th Mar Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Hope. http://www.newfeathersanthology.com/submit.html

15th Mar ‘We invite original short stories, poetry, drama, creative nonfiction/essays, scholarship, interviews, multimedia visual and digital art, as well as music and experimental soundscapes, created by people of the African Diaspora affiliated with historically Black colleges and universities for this special issue.’ https://obsidianlit.org/open-calls/

15th Mar Thriller story 5000-10,000 words on the theme of A Ticking Clock. PROFIT/REVENUE SHARING MODEL https://storiesrulepress.com/thriller-digest-2021-call-for-submissions/

18th Mar Poetry, CNF and more on the theme of Resilience. PAYING http://carte-blanche.org/submissions/

21st Mar ‘Sundamaged is a place for new voices about travelling, celebrating the wonder of nature and cultural discovery, but also exploring the impact of travel. Travelling can be a day trip, it can be a long journey on foot that has no fixed end point, or it can be a destructive force. All these interpretations are welcome here. We are currently open for articles, essays, CNF, fiction and prose poetry!’ PAYING https://sundamagedmag.com/issue-1/

21st Mar ‘DREAMING THE GODDESS will be a collection of short stories between 2,500 and 20,000 words. Each story must have a Pagan, Heathen, Occult influence that has a spark of truth in regards to the connection with the feminine aspect of the divine.’ ROYALTIES http://darkdragonpublishing.com/anthosub.html

22nd Mar Poetry and prose that has been previously rejected. https://www.secondchancelit.com/submit

25th Mar ‘Griffith Review 73: Hey, Utopia! asks you to consider other ways the world can be. We’re looking for new work that responds to the theme in the form of essays, reportage, creative non-fiction, fiction, memoir, visual essays and poetry.’ PAYING https://www.griffithreview.com/guidelines-for-writers/

25th Mar Story 1500-3000 words on the theme of Djinn/Jinn/Genies. PAYING https://www.eerieriverpublishing.com/open-submission

30th Mar Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of  ‘… Spring, nature, rebirth, rain, flowers, the cruelest month, etc. broadly interpreted’. https://masonstreetreview.org/submissions/

30th Mar ‘Since we’re still on lockdown for the foreseeable future, for Volume 13 we’d love to read your poems and prose about one of our favorite (now forbidden) pastimes—seeing live music. Tell us about your first concert, the time you got to see your favorite band perform at a cozy bar, the worst show you ever attended. Any live music experience is fair game. Though we asked for fiction last time around, for Vol. 13 we’re returning to our roots, so we’re looking for creative nonfiction and poetry.’ https://memoirmixtapes.com/submissions/

31st Mar ‘Legion of Dorks Presents: Misspelled – Magic Gone Awry is searching for short stories no more than 7000 words exploring the theme of magic and the mishaps that could happen with its use.’ PAYING https://curseddragonship.com/submissions-2/

31st Mar ‘Tough times won’t last but tough people will. We are looking for stories about how you have been affected and how you are handling the changes in your life. We’re looking for the ups and downs, so share the tough times but also the silver linings, the unexpected blessings, and resilience and gratitude that you have discovered. We’re also looking for stories about tough times unrelated to the pandemic.’ Stories or poems. PAYING https://www.chickensoup.com/story-submissions/possible-book-topics

31st Mar Original palindromes. PAYING (SUBJECT TO FUNDRAISER/FUNDING) https://palindromedary.us/submissions

31st Mar Short horror story 4000-8000 words on the theme of I is for Internet. PAYING https://redcapepublishing.com/submissions/

31st Mar Feminist writing on the theme of Hands. https://angstfzine.com/submissions/

31st Mar ‘Dystopian Earth. What must ordinary people do to survive?’ 20,000-40,000 words. ROYALTIES https://www.blackharepress.com/submissions/

31st Mar SF 5000-15,000 words on the theme of Spacebound. ROYALTIES https://dragonsoulpress.com/anthologies/

31st Mar Poetry, flash, short fiction and more on the theme of History. https://tigersharkpublishing.wordpress.com/home/guidelines/

31st Mar ‘Our first issue to be published June 2021 will focus on Migration and Movement. Send us your essays, creative nonfiction, short stories, flash fiction, and poems that connect the decolonial project with topics such as migration, immigration, forced removal, the Middle Passage, the Great Migration, Windrush, The Wall, gentrification, etc. Writers may submit writing in more than one genre but may only submit one essay, short story, poem, piece of creative nonfiction or flash fiction.’ https://thedecolonialpassage.net/submit-2/

31st Mar Poetry and more on the theme of Faith. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES https://www.thepoetmagazine.org/contribute

31st Mar Flash, short fiction and more on the theme of Lover Boy. https://www.superfroot.com/submit

31st Mar ‘Legion of Dorks Presents: Misspelled – Magic Gone Awry is searching for short stories no more than 7000 words exploring the theme of magic and the mishaps that could happen with its use. Your story must be an original, never-before-published creation that centers around magic, a magic user, or a magical world where something unexpected happens or something goes horribly wrong.’ PAYING, CHARITY/GOOD CAUSE https://curseddragonship.com/submissions-2/

31st Mar Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Growing Up. https://pureslush.com/submissions/current-submissions/lifespan-series/growing-up-lifespan-vol-2/

31st Mar ‘We invite writers who identify within the LGBTQ++ umbrella to submit their poetry, prose, and hybrid works for this issue. We especially encourage writers within the QTPOC umbrella.’ Unmaking/Remaking  POSSIBLE PAYMENT

https://santafewritersproject.submittable.com/submit (Cathy’s note: From their website: ‘Once our Submittable fees are covered, we will divide any excess funds earned through the tip jar options equally amongst the published contributors.’)

31st Mar ‘Black Cat Mystery Magazine Presents Cozies, a forthcoming special issue of BCMM, will open for submissions March 1 through March 31, 2021. Cozies are a subgenre of crime fiction in which sex and violence occur off stage, the detective is an amateur sleuth, and the crime and detection take place in a small, socially intimate community.’ PAYING https://wildsidepress.com/submissions/

31st Mar Microfic, drabbles, flash and short fiction on the theme of My Job is a Hellhole! ‘Working for demons, imps, devils, and other minions of hell. Your boss is a denizen of the underworld, but the story can take place in any setting. Any setting means: hell, another planet, Modern Earth, Future Earth. Heaven? Sure why not? Maybe there’s an employee exchange program between heaven and hell.’ PAYING https://the-were-traveler.weebly.com/submissions-call.html

31st Mar Spec flash and spec poetry on the theme of Sight. https://www.planisphereq.com/p/guidelines.html

31st Mar ‘We are now accepting creative nonfiction submissions of writing, artwork and music to be considered for our Summer Issue (03): ‘Roots’.’ PAYING https://epochpress.org/current-issue/

1st Apr ‘As editors we are invested in change, and seek to offer our literary platform to hear, heed, and uplift Black voices, as well as those of indigenous writers and all people of color. In the service of this effort, we will be dedicating recurring special issues to underrepresented voices, beginning with a special issue celebrating Black, Indigenous, and Voices of Color.’ PAYING https://zone3press.submittable.com/submit

1st Apr ‘Longship Press is announcing an invitation to submit poetry, short fiction, and art for our 2021 edition of Nostos. The theme of this upcoming issue is “Transition/Metamorphosis.” ‘ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES https://www.longshippress.com/

1st Apr ‘Writing submissions (fiction, creative non-fiction, essays, poetry; 5000 words maximum) on the theme The Art of Isolation: Finding a Silver Lining in the Pandemic Response.’  https://shantiartsllc.submittable.com/submit

1st Apr Poetry and prose. PAYING http://www.gordonsquarereview.org/submit.html

1st Apr Poetry and fiction on the theme of Tales of the Arabian Nights. PAYING https://www.timelesstalesmagazine.com/submissions

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!)

High dark fantasy fiction, poetry and more. PAYING https://www.commontonguezine.com/guidelines-submissions/

Poetry, fiction and more. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES  https://casit.bgsu.edu/midamericanreview/submit/

Sherlock Holmes books. https://mxpublishing.com/pages/author-submission-guidelines

Poetry, fiction and more. PAYING https://www.confingopublishing.uk/submissions

‘We’re excited to present Mysterium Tremendum, a quarterly chapbook featuring fiction, nonfiction, and poetry exploring the intersection between weird fiction/horror and the holy. Please note that we are a thoroughly secular press.’ PAYING https://www.silentmotoristmedia.com/submissions

Poetry, fiction and more. http://www.birdfeastmagazine.com/fifteen/

‘Ancient Paths publishes poetry, flash fiction, photography, and art work. We do not publish articles or devotions. We welcome works by contributors of all religions, but you should be comfortable with having your work appear in a predominantly Christian publication. Works published in Ancient Paths explore spiritual themes such as redemption, sin, forgiveness, doubt, faith, gratitude for the ordinary blessings of life, spiritual struggle, and spiritual growth.’ PAYING https://www.skylarb.com/submit-your-work

‘We accept fiction that is less than 2,000 words, poems that you keep wrapped around your husband’s heart in a jar on your desk (and that are two pages max), diary entries from your attic that you swore to yourself you’d burn, and artistic interpretations of Tarot cards (in pdf form)—you may even invent a new short form of writing and send us that! We don’t care if you want to lean your elbows on the table a little, we’re all sinners here.’ https://www.grimsylitmag.com/submit

Poetry, fiction and nonfiction for The Rail. https://www.derailleur.press/submit.html#/

Open until filled: Flash and short fiction on the theme of Curst and Twysted Tarot. PAYING https://the-were-traveler.weebly.com/submissions-call.html

Comps and calls for February 2021

Hello everyone! At last, January’s over! A wet, cold January here in the northern hemisphere, when it snowed just enough to slip on, but not enough to play with. And as for Covid… Anyway, moving on…

The course is going really well! I’ll be honest – the first session was chaotic, due to me underestimating the Facebook gremlins, and also half way through the Capitol Building in America was stormed, which was off-putting. Since, then, however, it’s been fantastic, and my main problem is coping with the fact that pretty much everyone on the course is a better writer than I am!

There’s a bumper load of Comps and Calls this month. I was determined that doing the course wouldn’t mean that you got short-changed, so I’ve made it extra full and exciting. There are so many opportunities! Go on, submit – you know my (successful!) mantra by now: have a go…

Much love,

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.

COMPETITIONS

3rd Feb ‘Spectator Competition No 3185: The state we’re in. Shelley wrote a sonnet entitled ‘England in 1819’. You are invited to compose one called ‘England in 2021’. Please email entries to lucy at spectator.co.uk by midday on 3 February.’ PAYING https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/spectator-competition-winners-edward-lear-and-pam-ayres-write-dirges

4th Feb ‘This year, for the first time, we’re inviting poetry submissions from all U.S. and international high school students (aged fifteen to eighteen) to participate in our Sixth Annual “Tell Me a Story” High School Contest! We are eager to hear from as many voices as possible.’ Poem on the theme of Escape. PAYING https://www.narrativemagazine.com/narrative-in-the-schools-program/sixth-annual-contest (Cathy’s note: a teacher has to do the submitting.)

5th Feb ‘Stories must be no more than 360 words (including the title) and be by current Years 11, 12 & 13 students, or Higher/Advanced Higher students, aged 15–19 and studying in the UK.’ VOUCHER/OTHER https://www1.chester.ac.uk/flash-fiction/youthcompetition (thanks to https://publishedtodeath.blogspot.com/ for this one)

7th Feb Play suitable for audio recording, with a runtime of 20-50 mins. PAYING https://papatango.co.uk/entry-requirements/ (thanks to http://www.prizemagic.co.uk/html/writing_comps.htm for this one)

10th Feb ‘Spectator Competition No. 3186: mixed messages. You are invited to supply an acrostic poem praising or dispraising a public figure, in which the word/s spelt out by the first letter of each line directly contradicts what the poem is saying. Email entries of up to 16 lines to lucy at spectator.co.uk by midday on 10 February.’ https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/spectator-competition-winners-adverbial-short-stories

12th Feb ‘To enter, all you have to do is submit a short story (for adults) of no more than 2,000 words. And that’s it. Unlike previous years, there’s no theme for you to base your story on; all you have to do is make sure you’re registered with the website, click on the ‘Enter now’ button and complete our online competition form.’ NON-CASH PRIZE https://www.writersandartists.co.uk/competitions/writers-artists-short-story-competition-2021 (Cathy’s note: the prize is an Arvon Course, but travel costs there and back aren’t included.)

15th Feb ‘Creative nonfiction authors are invited to submit an essay of up to 5,000 words on the subject of their choice to be considered for the Diana Woods Memorial Award in creative nonfiction.’ PAYING. Details of the award: https://lunchticket.wpengine.com/contests/dwm/. Where to submit: https://lunchticket.submittable.com/submit/11939/creative-nonfiction

15th Feb ‘The Randall Kenan Prize for Black LGBTQ Fiction, in memory of the celebrated author Randall Kenan, honors Black LGBTQ writers of fiction. The award will go to a Black LGBTQ writer whose fiction explores themes of Black LGBTQ life, culture, and/or history. To be eligible, the winner of the prize must have published at least one book and show promise in continuing to produce groundbreaking work.’ PAYING https://www.lambdaliterary.org/awards/special-awards/

15th Feb ‘Dedicated to the memory of author and journalist Jim Duggins, this prize honors LGBTQ-identified authors who have published multiple novels, built a strong reputation and following, and show promise to continue publishing high quality work for years to come.’ PAYING https://www.lambdaliterary.org/awards/special-awards/

15th Feb ‘Lambda Literary’s Jeanne Córdova Prize for Lesbian/Queer Nonfiction, in memory of the beloved activist and author, honors lesbian/queer-identified women and trans/gender non-conforming nonfiction authors. The award will go to a writer committed to nonfiction work that captures the depth and complexity of lesbian/queer life, culture, and/or history. The winner of the prize will have published at least one book and show promise in continuing to produce groundbreaking and challenging work.’ PAYING https://www.lambdaliterary.org/awards/special-awards/

15th Feb ‘The Judith A. Markowitz Award for Emerging LGBTQ Writers (formerly the Dr. Betty Berzon Emerging Writer Award) recognizes LGBTQ-identified writers whose work demonstrates their strong potential for promising careers. The award includes a cash prize of $1,000. Two Emerging LGBTQ Writer prizes are awarded annually.’ PAYING https://www.lambdaliterary.org/awards/special-awards/

22nd Feb Canada only: poetry and fiction. PAYING https://www.writerstrust.com/awards/rbc-bronwen-wallace-award-for-emerging-writers

26th Feb America only: ‘How do authors wish to enact American cultural change? For the Make A Way Book Award, American Editions will publish a polemical nonfiction book-length essay about changing the United States for the better.’ PAYING http://americaneditions.org/index.html

28th Feb The Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival is delighted to launch its 2021 Writing Competition, in partnership with Bipolar Scotland. We are seeking entries which address mental health in all its diversity and explore the theme of ‘Normality?’ Poetry, fiction or CNF. EVENT https://www.mhfestival.com/news/684-smhaf-2021-writing-competition-normality (Cathy’s note: although there’s no prize mentioned as such, there’s a communal event which is held in high esteem (by me, anyway). These are good people doing a good thing, so I’m supporting them, as there aren’t millions of comps this month.)

28th Feb ‘The Little Tokyo Historical Society (LTHS) seeks fictional short stories for its eighth annual Imagine Little Tokyo short story contest in the categories of English language, Japanese language and youth (18 and younger)… The story has to be fictional and set in a current, past or future Little Tokyo in the City of Los Angeles, California.’ PAYING https://www.littletokyohs.org/all-news/8th-annual-imagine-little-tokyo-short-story-contest

28th Feb ‘We invite you to invent a word. Not just any word. A word you think will greatly enhance the English language.’ NON-CASH PRIZE https://www.writingclasses.com/contest/invent-a-word-contest-2021

28th Feb Horror story 3.5k-4.8k words (Not including title) on the theme of Duplicity. The author of the first place story will be invited to write a new story for the 2022 “Autumn Nights Charity Anthology” Series. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES https://casskim.casskim.com/writehive-horror-contest-2021

1st Mar Poetry. ‘ Entries should address the themes of science fiction/fantasy/horror/science.’ PAYING https://www.bsfs.org/bsfspoetry.htm

1st Mar Poets aged 14-18: poem up to 50 lines on a medical subject. NOT SURE http://www.hippocrates-poetry.org/the-hippocrates-prize/2021-hippocrates-prize/rules-for-2021-hippocrates/index.html

SUBMISSIONS WITH DEADLINES

2nd Feb ‘6 poems or just one if it’s a long poem – not too long please! Short articles of a maximum of two A5 pages – but this is flexible. Artwork or photographs preferably with a few words of description. All of the above should be pertinent to the magazine’s brief: Nature and the Spirit – Unity in Diversity.’ https://littoralpressuk.jimdofree.com/littoral-magazine-submission-details/

7th Feb Speculative Flash fiction on the theme of Blue. PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORS https://gohavok.com/submission-guidelines/upcoming-themes/ (Cathy’s note: contributors are paid if their story is used in an anthology.)

8th Feb Horror story of roughly 2000 words on the theme of Newly Discovered Creatures. PAYING https://theotherstories.net/submissions

10th Feb Poems and short poetic prose on the theme of Nurturing Hope. https://blueheronreview.com/submission-guidelines/

10th Feb Stories and poems on the theme of Affairs. PAYING https://www.moonflakepress.com/guidelines

11th Feb Fiction and more on the theme of Loneliness. https://www.litromagazine.com/submit/

14th Feb ‘At Couplet Poetry, we publish two poems per author (a couplet). Send us poems that pair, rhyme (literally or figuratively), complement, hold hands, translate, juxtapose, or otherwise can’t live without each other.’ https://coupletpoetry.com/submission-guidelines/

14th Feb Poetry, fiction and more. ‘miniskirt is a destination for love & romance. we want your flirtations, your short & sweet confections. we adore romcom, but if you’ve got something dramatic, send that our way too!’ https://miniskirtmagazine.com/submissions/

14th Feb ‘Ample Remains is a new literary journal fixated on the things that remain and live within us. We want the work inspired from the thoughts that refuse to withdraw from the creases of your brain until you translate them into something legible.’ Poetry, fiction, CNF and more. https://www.ampleremains.com/submit.html

15th Feb Although they take submissions from anyone, they’re particularly on the lookout for African undergraduates. Poetry, fiction and more. https://artmosterrific.com/submission/

15th Feb ‘THE SUBMISSION PERIOD FOR ISSUE 43: FOOD X IDENTITY (SPRING-SUMMER 2021) IS NOW OPEN. This is a special issue earmarked for 2SQ+BIPOC artists ONLY. We invite 2SQ+BIPOC artists to submit work on the theme of food and identity.’ Poetry, fiction and more. PAYING https://qwertymagazine.submittable.com/submit

15th Feb Women over 60 only: ‘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!’ Theme: Lights at the End of the Tunnel. https://persimmontree.org/submissions/

15th Feb Poetry and prose on the theme of Dreamscapes. https://www.thewinnowmagazine.com/submitguidelines.html

15th Feb ‘We are looking for poems that speak to ideas around home and body in personal, experimental, and/or topical ways. The poems can range in metaphorical and embodied complexity. For example, the body in question can be the personal/individual body, the communal/community body, the body politic, and/or the synecdochal body.’ PAYING https://cidpearlman.org/home-body-poetry-guidelines

15th Feb Poetry, essays and more on the theme of Yellow. https://www.bluehousejournal.com/submissions

15th Feb Short horror story 4000-8000 words on the theme of J is for Jack-o’-Lantern. PAYING https://redcapepublishing.com/submissions/

15th Feb Poetry, fiction and more. PAYING https://thespectacle.wustl.edu/?page_id=119

15th Feb Poetry on the theme of Circles. PAYING http://www.songsoferetz.com/p/guidelines.html

20th Feb Lyric essays and prose poetry on the theme of Winter. PAYS ONE CONTRIBUTOR https://easterniowareview.submittable.com/submit (Cathy’s note: the Editor’s Choice each issue gets $50.)

21st Feb ‘We publish fiction OwnVoices stories in all genres. All works including common triggers will be prefaced by a trigger warning. How we define OwnVoices: an author from a marginalized, persecuted, or under-represented group writing about their own experiences/from their own perspective, rather than someone from an outside perspective writing as a character from an underrepresented group.’ https://www.limeoncellomagazine.com/submit

21st Feb Short prose and poems that touch upon the natural world. Theme: Water. PAYING https://clawandblossom.com/submissions/

21st Feb Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Still Life. https://www.pareidolialiterary.com/submissions

22nd Feb ‘Friends Journal welcomes articles, poetry, art, photographs, and letters from our readers.’ Theme: Generations. https://www.friendsjournal.org/submissions/

24th Feb ‘Speculative City publishes provocative works that are centered within a cityscape. We are looking for fiction, poetry, and essays within the theme of the magazine’s upcoming issue: sound.’ PAYINGhttp://www.speculativecity.com/submissions/

25th Feb ‘For our very first anthology, we’re seeking dread-inspiring stories that take place in 1986—either the 1986 of our reality (Stranger Things) or an alternate version (Tales From the Loop). Bring us back to a simpler, scarier time. Let’s make something radical together.’ 3000-10,000 words. PAYING https://www.thedreadmachine.com/submit/submit-anthology/

27th Feb ‘We are looking for completed speculative stories about positive queer possibility, written in English, which do not use intellectual property currently under copyright by someone other than the author.’ PAYING https://speculativelyqueer.moksha.io/publication/it-gets-even-better/guidelines

28th Feb Theme: Counting Your Blessings. ‘Gratitude is one of the keys to happiness… Stories can be serious or funny, but definitely should be inspirational and heartwarming.’ Stories and poems. PAYING https://www.chickensoup.com/story-submissions/possible-book-topics

28th Feb Poetry, fiction and more. https://levitatemagazine.org/submit/ (Cathy’s note: Submissions are capped, so submit as early as possible!)

28th Feb Organic Ink vol. 4: poetry. https://dragonsoulpress.com/anthologies/

28th Feb ‘The Storyteller Series is a podcast bringing back classic radio theatre featuring engaging storytelling delivered to you monthly. Full cast productions of original short stories in an audio drama style. All will bring you on an audible journey.’ Story 7000-10,000 words. PAYING https://nightshiftradio.com/submissions

28th Feb ‘Decoded is a story-a-day anthology of queer science fiction, fantasy, and horror by queer authors. We feature speculative writing and comics released to subscribers every day of Pride month.’ PAYING https://decodedpride.com/submit/

28th Feb ‘If instruments could speak, what would they say? Join us for our first poetic and collaborative jam session!’ Send poetry between 20-27 lines that includes the provided refrain. https://luckyjefferson.submittable.com/submit/181857/lucky-jefferson-riff-issue-early-bird-submission

28th Feb 500 word story on the theme of Dragon. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES https://www.blackharepress.com/submissions/

28th Feb Poems and stories on the theme of Cats. PAYING https://www.chickensoup.com/story-submissions/possible-book-topics

28th Feb ‘We value vulnerability & intensity in writing, above all else.’ Poetry, flash and more. https://www.heartburnreview.com/submit-submit-submit

28th Feb Poetry and fiction on the theme of Mystery. https://deepoverstock.com/submission-guidelines/

28th Feb ‘Between now and February 28, send us art and writing with an underlying social justice theme, or any kind of activist work that you’d like an eclectic audience for. We’ll take submissions of stories, essays, Bandcamp links, visual art, artist talks, performances, instructional videos, comics, poems, and anything else that we can reasonably put into this format.’ PAYING https://www.thirdestateart.org/submissions

28th SF, F and H poetry and fiction on the theme of Habitats. PAYING http://parsecink.com/index.php/triangulation-submissions/

28th Feb Poetry on the theme of Love. https://winecellarpress.com/submissions/

28th Feb Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Locus Delicti (the scene of the crime). http://www.kissthewitch.co.uk/seinundwerden/submissions.html

28th Feb Poetry, fiction and more including the three elements: chamber, nightshade, confetti. http://3elementsreview.com/submit

28th Feb Spec fic on the theme of Battles. PAYING https://lackingtons.com/submissions/

1st Mar Poetry, fiction and more. PAYING https://carousel.submittable.com/submit (Cathy’s note: free submissions are capped at 200, so get in early if you can!)

1st Mar Poetry, flash, short fiction and more on the theme of A Postcard from the Past. PAYING http://themaliterarysociety.com/submissions.html (Cathy’s note: those of us outside the USA may submit electronically.)

1st Mar ‘OUT THERE will feature stories written by queer YA authors, about queer teen protagonists! Set in the future (1 day, 1 million years, who knows?!), these stories will explore the last (or next, as the case may be) moment in time.’ PAYING http://saundramitchell.com/subs/

1st Mar Letters from the Self to the World. ‘How do we reconcile our hopes for peace with our inner turmoil? Shouldn’t we be the first beneficiaries of our peaceful activism efforts?… it is my hope that you accept this invitation, open your heart, and write your unspoken truths. Send us a letter you never thought you’d write, you know, the one you’ve been toying with for years, or sit down and get that “thing” off your chest that can only start with a cathartic ‘Dear X’. https://writingforpeace.org/dovetales-submissions/

1st Mar Poetry, fiction and more. PAYING https://www.portmanteauldn.com/about-us

1st Mar Essays, ‘Funny Women’ and more. PAYING https://therumpus.submittable.com/submit

1st Mar ‘Verse of April invites writers and artists of all media to submit to this year’s digital anthology of homage to the poets under the theme Hymn for the Living Poet. A curated selection of poems and visual pieces will be chosen by the editors and re-printed in a limited-edition anthology, set to release in late 2021 from Bouilloire Presse.  The 2021 manifestation of the annual Verse of April installations aims to celebrate the work of contemporary poets, those risking their hours to show us our reflection, those wielding the wisdom of our ancestors to give us today, those conspiring with the future to let us fuse with our greater potential. ‘  https://www.verseofapril.com/submissions

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!)

Rolling deadline: ‘Hindsight is a snapshot of 2020, written by people just like you. We’re soliciting stories from people around the world that capture the lives we lived this year. Stories of grief, pain, isolation, empowerment, and — if you can find it — hope.’ https://www.hindsightbook2020.com/requirements

Crime fiction on a variety of themes. PAYING https://www.murderousinkpress.co.uk/crimeucopia.html (Cathy’s note: It says that submissions are accepted on a rolling basis, though they include various dates ‘for those who prefer deadlines’!)

‘We seek material that is clear, crisp, clean, and striking in any genre: poetry, short fiction, novel excerpts, essay.’  https://dullrootsspringrain.com/submissions

‘We want: socially engaged cultural criticism; class-sensitive analysis; pieces that point out what’s being avoided or talked around in politics, media, arts, or even academia; upbeat cynicism; un-self-serious screeds; generous takedowns; entries from the margins; fiction; poetry; 1-3 sentence book/ movie/ TV/ art reviews.’ https://www.thedriftmag.com/about/

‘The mission of Moving Words is to keep the art of the prose chapbook alive. We are interested in publishing prose in the form of fiction, nonfiction, and hybrid/experimental narratives including long stories and/or illustrated zines (from 15 to 45 pages) and will consider serializing.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES https://movingwordsart.wordpress.com/moving-words-micro-press/

Poetry and more. http://thecoachellareview.com/submissions/

‘Aloka is a volunteer-run online literary magazine for non-native English speakers and all those experimenting with language. Your submissions will brighten our screens and days.’ https://aloka-magazine.com/submissions/

Crime fiction. ROYALTIES https://www.darkedgepress.co.uk/

‘The Post Grad Journal focuses mainly on poetry, but will also consider exceptional works of creative prose or short essays.’ https://www.thepostgradjournal.com/submissions (Cathy’s note: you don’t have to be a postgraduate, or a graduate, to submit!)

‘As a minority-owned, independent publishing company, duopress aims to publish books and gifts that matter. Always looking to create books with a fun spirit and contemporary style, duopress books and gifts are innovative, of high quality, and affordable. We are publishers of children’s books and gift books for all ages, as well as puzzles, flashcards, and games for kids.’ https://www.duopressbooks.com/submissions

‘We want the poems that don’t really fit elsewhere, those about waking up and walking and how clouds look strange. Even a thought that just bopped across your mind. We accept all variations of poetry.’ https://www.neurologicalliterarymagazine.com/how-to-submit

‘Because there is, at the moment, only one little blue marble for all of us, our goal is to bring greater awareness of the consequences and potential solutions to anthropogenic climate change. We do this by linking to great content from around the web, and publishing original articles and works of speculative fiction.’ Essays and poetry too. PAYING https://littlebluemarble.ca/submission-guidelines/

‘Off Grid Ink is looking for poetry and short prose from the Women’s Off Grid Community. By ‘off grid’ we mean women who live in vans, sheds, homemade houses or who are rough sleepers, maybe you have a solar panel or perhaps you charge up at the local community centre, some of us are couch surfers or squatters but we have one thing in common that we make our own power.’ https://janecampbellpoetry.wixsite.com/mysite/poetry-submissions

‘We are interested in writing that explores the minutiae of life and society. The longer the piece stays in our minds after reading, the better.’ Flash, short fiction, CNF, and more. https://www.thereaftermagazine.com/submissions

‘We live for anarchy and disruption in our form and content. So, if you have a raging case of the lyric I or a hankering for tightly wound sestinas, unless you are committed to breaking that shit and setting it on fire, this might not be the press for you. Before submitting your work, we highly recommend that you take a stroll through our archive to see what really gets us fired up.’ Poetry chapbooks. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES https://www.gapriotpress.com/submissionguidelines

‘Interested in prying some sense from our strange present? Send us what you’ve got! The best way to get a feel for what we’re into is by reading previous issues of the magazine (we know, we know), but: we’re looking for fiction (short stories, coherent novel excerpts, anything that might be deemed “flash”), poetry (just no goddamn footnotes, please), criticism of the feather-ruffling sort, reporting that tells the truth but tells it slant, and personal essays that have sentiment but aren’t sentimental.’ PAYING https://www.softpunkmag.com/contact

Flash fiction. https://flash-frog.com/submit/

MSS in a variety of genres. https://www.johnhuntpublishing.com/submissions/

‘We are a nonprofit site that celebrates travel, poetry, photography, nature, and the earth. With travel limited during the pandemic, we are serving as a virtual tour guide, using poems as portals to locations around the world.’ https://poetryandplaces.com/about/

‘Deep Overstock is now currently accepting manuscript submissions by booksellers to ideally be published in late 2021. We accept poetry collections as well as fictional and non-fictional works.’ https://deepoverstock.com/manuscript-submissions/

SF/F fiction. 5k-25k words. PAYING http://giganotosaurus.org/submission-guidelines/

Poetry, flash and short fiction, and art. ‘We are looking for writing and art that intertwines the marvelous with the mundane and uses it to convey a message. Tell us about the magic that lives at the dinner table; the creatures that walk alongside us unseen; the power that takes hold of individuals when they fight for what they care about.’ PAYING https://www.wondrousrealmag.com/submissions

‘Tough is a crime fiction journal publishing short stories and self-contained novel excerpts of between 1500 words and 7500 words, and occasional book reviews and essays of 1500 words or fewer. We are particularly interested in stories with rural settings.’ PAYING http://www.toughcrime.com/p/submissions_54.html (Cathy’s note: save your work as an RTF document! They insist on this!)

Adult nonfiction MSS. https://www.sourcebooks.com/sourcebooks-submissions.html

‘At Blue Minaret we aim to promote a sense of identity among Muslims writers and artists by providing a space for showcasing their talent and networking with each other. We also try to do our part in challenging the typical Islamophobic/colonial/minority narrative around Muslims by offering an alternative portrait through fiction, poetry and art.’ http://www.blueminaret.com/

Poetry, fiction, reviews, portraits, and various other interesting categories of writing. SOME CONTRIBUTORS GET ROYALTIES https://www.scarletleafreview.com/submissions.html

Dark poetry, flash and short fiction. https://coffinbell.com/submit/

Speculative flash and short fiction. PAYING http://www.allworldswayfarer.com/submissions/

‘Three Rooms Press publishes full-length (word counts of 65,000+) literary novels, young adult novels, and creative nonfiction. NOTE: At this time we are not accepting submissions for collections of poetry, short stories, or essays. We are focused on publishing a range of voices and books that more fully reflect the diverse society in which we live. We are particularly interested in publishing work of writers from underrepresented communities in terms of sexual identity, ethnicity, gender, disability, and social mobility. Our press is inspired by diversity, dada, punk, and passion: please keep this in mind when submitting.’ http://threeroomspress.com/submit/

Poetry, fiction and more. PAYING https://www.stanchionzine.com/blank-page

‘Canthius celebrates poetry and prose by women, transgender men, nonbinary, Two-Spirit, and genderqueer/gender non-conforming writers… Whose Pleasure is it Anyway? is a collection of essays, interviews, poems, visual art, film, music, and other multimedia/hybrid works that will explore the feminist pleasures that activate or infuriate us.’ http://www.canthius.com/call-for-submissions-pleasures

‘We accept submissions of poetry, prose, photography, and art, though we will consider any creative works outside of these genres, as well.’ PAYING https://www.leavingslitmag.com/submit

‘We are committed to publishing, above all, authentic perspectives which seeks only to democratize our current discourse however possible. This will be neither a safe-house nor a slum; it is simply a journal devoted to the peculiar notion that the reading life should be more engaging and adventurous than other more mainstream publications often allow.’ http://www.athinsliceofanxiety.com/p/submit.html

‘Give me your cottagecore dreams, your encounters with the fae,
your rural experiences, nature-themed pieces, love stories and hopeless romantic musings, magic realism, and adventures. I also welcome lovely queer romps through the country!Works from LGBTQIA+, Black, Indigenous, and similarly marginalized authors are especially encouraged.’ https://pastel-pastoral-magazine.weeblysite.com/submissions

Cadralore poems. https://gleampoets.org/submit/ (Cathy’s note: the cadralore is a new form of poem – they explain it on the site.)

Poetry and short prose. https://theracketsf.com/submissions

Comps and calls for January 2021

Hello everyone,

Happy New Year!

I’m very glad to say that! If 2020 had been a submission, I’d have rejected it! Anyway – I hope you’re going into 2021 with your health and happiness as intact as possible. Here at Comps-and-Calls Cottage (it’s not really called that. It’s a bungalow for a start) we’re ok, but fed up of the virus, politics, you name it.

Anyway – on to better things! There are some really interesting calls and comps below. I’m hoping that there’s something for everyone. Also – TADA! The new course is starting on Weds the 6th of Jan. Hurrah!

The basics: There will be five weekday evening workshops during which we’ll work on ten different prompts in total. These prompts all relate to real submission calls or competitions! The idea is that when you’ve written your pieces and worked on them, you can submit them to the appropriate calls. You don’t have to – but I hope you will. So you should ideally end up with ten pieces, written, worked on, and submitted (sadly I can’t guarantee acceptances, but the writing, editing and submitting is the part for learning to write like a professional).

Comps and Calls will always be free, but the course will take a lot of my time, so I have to charge for it.

If you want to sign up, you need to do a few things:

  1. Join Facebook, if you aren’t there already.
  2. Pay £49 to me at the following link, carefully keeping a record of your Transaction number: https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/cathybryant
  3. Go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/216261156667664/ and click ‘join’
  4. Confirm youir membership if you receive an email asking you about it.

The next bits are optional:

You’re welcome to add me as a friend on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/jehanine) if that makes things easier! It’s also quicker if you if you become a fan of Comps and Calls on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/compsandcalls/ as then I can add you directly to the group.

  1. If you get some sort of confirmation email (eg Did you mean to join Cathy’s Course Jan/Feb 2021?) then please click ‘yes’ or ‘confirm.
  2. Although I’ll be starting the course on Wednesday 6th Jan, those who want to do it but can’t be there from 7-9pm (GMT) on a Weds, can access the info at any time. They might have to wait for answers to questions or personal feedback – that’s the only drawback. Just pick a two hour slot in your own schedule and do everything then.

Please note: membership is capped at 40 (or thereabouts) so that I can ensure personal attention for each person.

Special admiration goes to those who’ve read this far. That is exactly the type of dedication that will help you to improve your writing and get it out there, whether you take the course or not!

Best wishes and stay safe,

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.

COMPETITIONS

2nd Jan United States, the District of Columbia or Canada (excluding Quebec): Mystery novel set in the Southwestern USA. PAYING (LOTS) https://us.macmillan.com/minotaurbooks/tonyhillermanprize/

4th Jan Poetry, fiction and nonfiction on the theme of Home. PAYING https://booksbythebanks.org/writing-contest/

6th Jan ‘Spectator Competition No. 3181: nay sayers. This year’s Booker Prize winner Shuggie Bain was turned down by 32 publishers. You are invited to submit a publisher’s rejection letter of a well-known literary classic. Please email entries of up to 150 words to lucy@spectator.co.uk by midday on 6 January.’ https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/what-the-dickens (Cathy’s note: scroll down for the comp, though I love to read the entries to previous comps – they are always clever and witty.)

13th Jan Spectator Competition No. 3182: over to the dark side. You are invited to rewrite a famous piece of light verse as a poem with a dirge-like, hieratic (ie. solemn and ponderous) tone. Please email entries of up to 16 lines to lucy@spectator.co.uk by midday on 13 January. We are now paying winners by cheque, unless you state on your entry that you would prefer to be paid by bank transfer. https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/christmas-hits-rewritten-as-sonnets(Cathy’s note: scroll down for the comp, though I love to read the entries to previous comps – they are always clever and witty.)

14th Jan Poetry or fiction on the theme of Festive Fright. PAYING https://erewashwriterscompetition.weebly.com/2020-free-entry-festive-fright-themed-writing-competition.html (thanks to www.prizemagic.co.uk for this one)

15th Jan Flash fiction. PAYING https://strandspublishers.weebly.com/strands-international-flash-fiction-competition.html(Cathy’s note: there are free submission slots available if enough people have used the ‘tip jar’ option. At the time of writing this, there are two free submission slots available. Good luck!)

17th Jan ‘Discoveries invites all unpublished women writers aged 18 and up, residing in the UK or Ireland and writing in English, to submit their works of fiction to the Discoveries Prize. The prize doesn’t require writers to have finished a novel – only to have started one.’ PAYING https://www.curtisbrowncreative.co.uk/womens-prize-discoveries-2020/

18th Jan ‘The Nine Dots Prize is a prize for creative thinking that tackles contemporary societal issues. Entrants are asked to respond to a question in 3,000 words, with the winner receiving US$100,000 to write a short book expanding on their ideas. The question for 2020/21 is: What does it mean to be young in an ageing world?’ PAYING (LOTS!) https://ninedotsprize.org/

29th Jan US only: ‘Since 2012, Zócalo has awarded the prize annually to the U.S. poet whose poem best evokes a connection to place. “Place” may be interpreted in many ways, be it of historical, cultural, political, or personal importance; the landscape may also be literal, imaginary, or metaphorical.’ PAYING https://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/2020/09/04/zocalo-public-square-is-accepting-entries-for-its-ninth-annual-poetry-prize-2/inquiries/prizes/

31st Jan UK only, over 90 only: writing on the theme of Childhood Memories. PAYING https://www.growolddisgracefully.co.uk/competition (thanks to www.prizemagic.co.uk for this one)

31st Jan An unpublished piece of prose, plus various other things. PAYING https://apublicspace.org/news/detail/the-2021-a-public-space-fellowships (thanks to www.winningwriters.com for this one)

31st Jan ‘An original, fictional unpublished piece of writing themed around all aspects of the pandemic including “lockdown” and what has become for us all the “new normal”.’ There are four categories this year: fiction and nonfiction; poetry; interviews; art and photography. You must be the author of the submitted entry and must have been born, live or have lived, study or have studied, work or have worked, in the historical or modern county of Cheshire. For the purposes of the Competition, Cheshire is deemed to include the Wirral, as well as Warrington and Halton. PAYING https://www1.chester.ac.uk/press-office/cheshire-prize-literature/terms-conditions

1st Feb ‘We are looking for the best new novels in crime, mystery, and thriller, and are asking entrants to submit the first 5,000 words of their manuscripts, along with a 150 word ‘elevator pitch’. We will choose the best 20-30 entries, and compile them into the Crucible Chapbook, which will be sent to a list of agents and agencies.’ NON-CASH PRIZE https://www.grindstoneliterary.com/crucible-award

1st Feb ‘Free to enter, the Prize is open to writers who have yet to publish a full-length work or have a literary agent. To enter the Prize, please send us an unpublished piece of life writing that is up to 5000 words. This can be a stand-alone piece or the beginning extract of a larger piece of writing. For the purposes of this Prize, life writing is ‘intended to be true’, reflects someone’s own life journey or experiences and is not fiction. It is writing from the author’s own personal experience.’ PAYING https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/enter-spread-the-words-2021-life-writing-prize/

SUBMISSIONS WITH DEADLINES

Soon! – Poetry, fiction and more. https://crepeandpenn.wixsite.com/litmag/submit (Cathy’s note: Although the deadline is technically over a month away, they have a quota for submissions. At the time of writing – it’s still 2020 – that quota has already been filled up to 42%. So if you can, get your submission in as soon as possible!)

3rd Jan LGBTQIA+ writers only: ‘The Fallen Gods Anthology is your invitation to explore a world where queer gods tell dramatic stories. We want to read about gods in same-gender relationships where one deity is defeated or bested by some means and the surviving god’s tale results in the loss of their divine grace. Maybe they gave in to anguish and lost their divine spark.’ 10,000-15,000 words. PAYING https://www.jazzhousepublications.com/fallen-gods-submission-details

3rd Jan ‘We are looking for reviews, interviews, articles, essays, listicles, and short stories focused around Women in Horror, up to 3K words. We will be prioritising #OwnVoices content for this, but are happy to review submissions from allies as well.’ https://divinationhollow.com/current-open-calls

3rd Jan ‘Divination Hollow will be dedicating February 2021 to Black History in Horror, alongside our Women in Horror Month content. We are open to submissions from November 12th 2020 until January 3rd 2021. We are looking for reviews, interviews, articles, essays, listicles, and short stories, up to 3K words. We will be prioritising #OwnVoices content for this, but are happy to review submissions from allies as well.’ https://divinationhollow.com/current-open-calls

3rd Jan ‘The theme for Issue Five is Astrology. We want your pieces that talk about all things astrology and the zodiac signs. If you wrote a piece about your Cancer ex, this is the Issue for you…Send poetry, micro poems, visual poetry, and photography submissions.’ PAYING https://royalrosemagazine.com/submission/

3rd Jan ‘We are open for submissions for issue 4 now! Send your work related to the theme of ‘aging’ with a short ready-to-print bio by January 3rd at midnight. It can be aging as a human, the world aging, nature aging etc, this is completely open to the artists (sic) interpretation!’ https://www.continuethevoice.com/post/submissions-open-for-issue-4

5th Jan Fiction and more on the theme of Redemption. PAYING https://darkdispatch.com/submissions/

8th Jan 500-1500 words in any Fantasy or Science Fiction style, on the theme of Secret Power. https://starsandstaffs.weebly.com/submissions.html

8th Jan ‘In the Twisted Love Anthology, gothic horror and romance stories take on new depths and terrifying outcomes when happily ever after is no longer an option. Jazz House wants to read your twisted, dark, and despairing stories about romantic and gothic horror and the people who find love to have a bitter aftertaste. This is a Valentine’s Day-themed anthology, so please incorporate this holiday’s themes and aesthetics in your twisted tales.’ 7000-9000 words. PAYING https://www.jazzhousepublications.com/twisted-love

8th Jan ‘Mae gwasg Arachne Press yn eich gwahodd i gynnig cerddi gwreiddiol sy’n gysylltiedig efo’r A470 ar gyfer blodeugerdd. Ar hyn o bryd nid oes ond angen mynegi diddordeb, er mwyn ein galluogi i wneud cais am nawdd.’ ‘Expressions of interest only at this stage, so that we can make a clear proposal to funders… Arguably the most famous road in Wales, the A470 is 186 miles from shore to shore through the backbone of Wales, linking north to south. Peaceful and picturesque or slow and never-ending, what does the A470 mean to you? …We want unpublished poems from Welsh poets wherever you are, and all other poets living in Wales. We are looking for the unanticipated: sensitive poems, or poems that challenge, in traditional forms and new forms.’ https://arachnepress.com/2020/12/02/expressions-of-interest-invited-from-welsh-poets/

9th Jan Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of mermaids and other merfolk. PAYING https://mermaidsmonthly.com/submissions/

10th Jan ‘…For Planet Scumm #11: Snake Eyes, we’re asking for submissions from cisgender women, transgender women, transgender men, non-binary people, and genderqueer people. We kindly ask authors who don’t identify along those lines to not submit to this call.’ SF, spec/weird fiction. PAYING https://www.planetscumm.space/submit

10th Jan Speculative flash fiction on the theme of Green. PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORS https://gohavok.com/submission-guidelines/upcoming-themes/ (Cathy’s note: contributors are paid if their story is used in an anthology.)

10th Jan ‘The Ghastling is a biannual magazine publishing literary fiction and illustration devoted to psychological horror, folk horror, ghost stories and the macabre… There is no official theme for this one, however, stories that embrace the Unlucky Number or any aspect of Lucky/Unlucky will find themselves repelled of the jinx. For now…’ PAYING https://theghastling.com/submit/

11th Jan Horror story of roughly 2000 words on the theme of Lost Civilisations. PAYING https://theotherstories.net/submissions

11th Jan Fiction and more on the theme of Friendship. https://www.litromagazine.com/submit/

11th Jan Poetry, flash, short fiction and more on the theme of Out of this World. http://montanamouthful.com/submission-guidelines/

15th Jan UK BME authors and poets: ‘We have an application for funding in with ACE, so at the moment all we want is an expression of interest – your name and contact details, and any writing credits, whether you are a poet or fiction writer (or both!) and if you want, your idea for what you will write… Arachne Press is hoping to publish an anthology of fiction and poetry from UK resident writers of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic heritage. We are aiming for publication in Autumn 2021. We will pay royalties. Once published in an Arachne anthology you may be invited to submit a collection/novel.’ https://arachnepress.com/2020/12/19/submission-call-for-uk-based-bme-authors/

15th Jan Poems. ‘THEMES: Racial Justice; Feminism, Dismantling Militarism; Universal Healthcare; Disability Rights; Mass Incarceration; Global Citizenship; Climate Justice; Grassroots Green Themes; Confronting US Empire; Cross-cultural Understanding; Community Building, LGBTQ Liberation, Economic Justice, Workers Rights, Indigenous Sovereignty and more.’ PAYING https://www.syracuseculturalworkers.com/art/call-for-art (Thanks to www.winningwriters.com for this.)

15th Jan ‘Request for Submissions of Art & Poetry by ALL Women and Femmes (LBTQ2IAA) Seeking Inspirational Work that Promotes Activism and/or Healing.’ PAYING https://www.syracuseculturalworkers.com/art/call-for-art

15th Jan Poetry and prose. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES, PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORS https://greatweatherformedia.submittable.com/submit (Cathy’s note: Payment is available only for American contributors.)

15th Jan Flash, short fiction and poetry on the theme of Unusual Vampires. PAYING https://www.periodicalforlorn.com/submission-guidelines

15th Jan ‘We publish new, previously unpublished work that engages with the natural world. We have a particular interest in work which encourages reflection on human interaction with plant and animal life, landscape and the self. Each issue includes a mix of poetry and fiction, alongside a selection of essays which may include creative non-fiction, criticism, and the occasional review of new creative work or of community-based environmental projects.’ PAYING https://channelmag.org/submissions-channel/

15th Jan Poetry, prose and more on the theme of Cycle & Circumstance. https://review.vassar.edu/submissions/

15th Jan ‘Emily Dickinson wrote poems on torn-off envelope flaps then used them for bookmarks. In the end, bless her, she saved most of them together in a drawer. Have you ever lost your keys, your way, your faith, your mind, your rent money… and then found them again? Or did you find something else? Send us your best Lost and Found stories of approximately 50 words.’ http://www.blink-ink.org/current-submissions/ (Cathy’s note: I can’t find any mention of getting a contributor copy on the website, though I’m fairly sure that they send one. However, I might be wrong! Either way, they’re good, cool people with a really interesting litmag.)

15th Jan ‘Unfettered Hexes: Queer Tales of Insatiable Darkness will be a speculative anthology that explores the boundaries between queer witches, the profane, and infinite darkness. Unfettered Hexes asks you to sling salt in a circle, call the corners, and breathe life into the unutterable cadences that call forth the void. Find your coven, craft new rituals and hex your enemies. For this anthology, we use the term “witch” in the broadest sense, paying homage to ritual practices, razor-sharp intent, and connections to the eldritch, the numinous and the otherworldly.’ PAYING https://www.neonhemlock.com/submissions

15th Jan ‘filling Station is calling for submissions from Black, Indigenous, and POC writers and artists from Turtle Island and beyond for Issue 76 which will be guest edited by Canisia Lubrin (author of Voodoo Hypothesis and the The Dyzgraphxst). We invite stories, poems, and art on all themes, but would particularly like to see experimental submissions of celebration in all its forms, stories about the future, innovative creative non-fiction, and experimental and speculative poetry, and artwork.’ PAYING http://www.fillingstation.ca/news/2020/10/15/issue-76-call-submissions-bipoc-writers-and-artists

16th Jan Black women only: ‘I’m Speaking Now: Black Women Share Their Truth in 101 Stories of Love, Courage and Hope…We’re looking for everything from the serious to the silly. There will be 101 stories, so we can go wide and deep, and we’d like to share stories from Black women of all ages, from late teens to women in their nineties.’ PAYING https://www.chickensoup.com/story-submissions/possible-book-topics

18th Jan Fiction and more on the theme of Black Lives Matter. https://www.litromagazine.com/submit/

25th Jan Horror story of roughly 2000 words on the theme of Government Experiments. PAYING https://theotherstories.net/submissions

26th Jan ‘Who: All writers who call Scotland their home, irrespective of place of birth or ethnicity. All levels welcome (unpublished, published, solo or agented). What to submit: Novellas only, standalone, original and not previously published. Speculative fiction, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Dark Fantasy (and their sub-genres).’ https://www.lunapresspublishing.com/submissions

31st Jan UK Deaf poets, authors, editors: ‘At the moment all we want is an expression of interest – your name and contact details, any writing credits or performance of your own work. If you have an idea for a theme for the anthology please make suggestions… Arachne Press is hoping to publish an anthology of d/Deaf fiction and poetry in Autumn 2021. We will pay royalties. Lisa Kelly (co-editor of Magma 69, The Deaf Issue; co-Chair of Magma Poetry, first collection A Map Towards Fluency published by Carcanet) will be one of the editors, and we are looking for another Deaf editor who is fluent in BSL, ideally someone who writes fiction rather than poetry.’ https://arachnepress.submittable.com/submit

31st Jan ‘At 34 Orchard, we like dark, intense pieces that speak to a deeper truth. We’re not genre-specific; we just like scary, disturbing, unsettling, and sad.’ PAYING https://34orchard.com/guidelines/

31st Jan Writing and artwork created in 2020. https://thesongbetweenourstars.com/share

31st Jan Poetry. ‘We’ve made the decision to extend the deadline for submissions to our inaugural Poetry Anthology, Spheres and Canticles, from the end of this month to January 31, 2021. The anthology will be released in April, during National Poetry Month.’ Theme: Wholeness. CONTRIBUTOR COPY+ ROYALTIES https://propertiuspress.wordpress.com/

31st Jan Fiction 5000-15,000 on the theme of Valiance. ‘With no limitation on genre, the only special requirement for this anthology is that an East Asian female warrior be the main character in each of these stories.’ ROYALTIES https://dragonsoulpress.com/anthologies/

31st Jan ‘We look for imagistic, suggestive poems, following the idea of ‘less is more’ and publish vivid poems that avoid cliché and have subtlety. We recommend that you read our previous editions before submitting and also read up on imagism. Narrative poems are rarely published here. The poems should not exceed ten lines long.’ https://www.blackboughpoetry.com/events

31st Jan Poetry, prose and more. https://sturgeonreview.wixsite.com/sturgeonreview/project-04

31st Jan Poetry, fiction and more. In hopes of combatting some of the isolation caused by the pandemic, Detour Ahead is offering a platform where we can learn, listen and be inspired by one another. https://www.detour-ahead.org/submit

31st Jan 500 word story on the theme of Hell. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES https://www.blackharepress.com/submissions/

31st Jan ‘Monsters are many things. They come in all forms, shapes and sizes: from to the tiny to the titanic; from amorphous blobs to many limbed (or tentacled) monstrosities; from supernatural demons to man-made terrors. This is a loosely themed anthology. Just use that word – monster – and run with it.’ 3000-6000 words. PAYING https://alchemypress.wordpress.com/submissions/the-alchemy-press-book-of-horrors-3/

31st Jan Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Pandemic. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES https://www.amsterdamquarterly.org/submissions/

31st Jan Mythology fiction 4000-15,000 words on the theme of Extraordinary. PROFIT/REVENUE SHARING MODEL http://adityadeshmukh.com/the-great-void-submissions/

31st Jan poetry, prose and more on the theme of March. https://silverstorkmagazine.weebly.com/submissions.html

31st Jan Poetry on the theme of Kerouac’s Highway Gone Wrong. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES https://www.bluehorsepress.com/

1st feb Theme: Every Mother is a Futurist. ‘For our fourth issue, Raising Mothers is seeking poetry, short fiction, essays, art, multimedia, and hybrid work by Black, Indigenous, or POC and colonized people of color that speak to the layered intricacies of parenthood from the perspective of the parent or the (now adult) child.’ http://www.raisingmothers.com/submissions/call-for-work/

1st Feb Prose and poetry. https://slipperyelm.submittable.com/submit

1st Feb Writing on the theme of Lovers. https://www.perhappened.com/submit.html

1st Feb Story 2000-4000 words on the theme of Wraith. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES https://ironfaeriepublishing.com/open-anthology-calls/

1st Feb Poetry, fiction and nonfiction on the theme of For Sale. https://halfwaydownthestairs.net/submissions/

1st Feb Fiction (and occasionally poetry) 300-5000 words starting with the line: ‘Darryl slid three quarters into the vending machine and weighed his options.’ PAYING http://www.thefirstline.com/submission.htm

1st Feb Poetry, prose and more on the theme of Apocalypse. ‘What we don’t want: mushroom clouds, zombies, dystopian futures, or anything else we’ve already seen in countless books, movies, and television shows.’ PAYING http://nonbinaryreview.com/submission-guidelines/

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!)

‘Justice Involved Mothers is a Raising Mothers’ column devoted to the authentic personal narratives of Black, Indigenous and POC mothers who were and/or are incarcerated, under parole, or under probation. Curated and edited by counter-storyteller and felon Nicole Shawan Junior, Justice-Involved Mothers is authored by the spectrum of mothers affected by the criminal justice system.’ PAYING http://www.raisingmothers.com/submissions/call-for-work/

‘We are interested in hearing about new projects, and would be happy to read brief pitches for finished novels and for historical narratives aimed at general readers.’ http://cuidono.com/editorial.html

Fiction and poetry. https://www.subnivean.org/submissions (Cathy’s note: there’s a competition too, but that has an entry fee. It’s free to submit normally, though.)

Romance and Adult Fantasy, and Short Story Anthology submissions. https://creativejamesmedia.com/submissions/

Open until filled: ‘ We are looking for stories and poetry about Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring and the folklore surrounding them along with all other associated correspondence.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES https://ironfaeriepublishing.com/open-anthology-calls/

Open until filled: ‘We are looking for Fantasy stories from all fantasy sub genres except Sci-fi. Authors can have 7 acceptances.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES https://ironfaeriepublishing.com/open-anthology-calls/