Written by S. Kalekar December 2nd, 2019

25 Themed Calls for Submissions – December 2019

There are 25 themes for the 16 outlets that pay for submissions of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Some themes are: community, power, virtual realities, politically incorrect science fiction, feminist fairy tales, faith & politics, always reforming, future crime stories, archives, and fiends in the furrows – folk horror. All of these pay writers, from token to pro rates. There are a few themed contests for writers, too, in this list. Also look at this list for some more upcoming submission deadlines.


Eye to the Telescope: Hard Science Fiction Tropes
This is a journal of speculative poetry and they want poems on hard science fiction tropes. Their guidelines say, “Hard science fiction is based on contemporary or historical science extrapolated into the future (which may also be the past). … The technology doesn’t have to be the main point of the poem, but technological advances have to be integral to it. Many poems are set in technological futures, but the focus is usually on the people.” Also, “Tropes include time travel, matter transmission, alternate worlds, faster than light travel, fundamental changes in human bodies (intentional or otherwise), alien technology, and lots more.” See guidelines for additional details.
Deadline: 15 December 2019
Length: 1-3 poems
Pay: $0.03/word (up to $25)
Details here

Gay Mag: Two themes
This online magazine is looking for essays, cultural criticism, short fiction, artwork, and photography. They publish weekly. They are looking for work on two themes.
Community: Their guidelines say, “What does it mean to be part of a community? How do we live amicably with others? What happens when community fractures or falls apart? What happens when our communities fail us or when we fail our communities? What does an ideal community look like? What are your visions for utopia/dystopia? How has popular culture dealt with the idea of community in ways either good or bad? We are looking for smart, engaging essays about the nature of community.” The deadline for this theme is 16 December 2019.
Power: Their guidelines say, “What is power? What does it mean to feel powerful or to be powerful? Is it possible to be powerful and ethical? What would that look like? What does it mean to be powerless? Have you ever abused your power? What does it mean to live in a world where power is distributed so unequally and where power and wealth are often inextricably linked? We are looking for thoughtful essays that grapple with power in all its permutations.” The deadline for this theme is 16 March 2020.
They accept pitches for essays only. They will accept more of shorter work (up to 1,200 words) than longer (up to 3,500 words).
Deadlines: See above
Length: Shorter work up to 1,200 words; longer, up to 3,500 words
Pay: $1/word
Details here

Newfound: Virtual Realities
This is a nonprofit publisher based in Austin, Texas and their work explores how place shapes identity, imagination, and understanding. Their guidelines say, “Is a virtual experience an actual experience? How can we trust our senses? What is real and what is fantasy? We want to explore all aspects of this theme in our spring 2020 issue. Tell us about a computer-generated experience or simulated environments. Immerse us in parallel or intersecting worlds.” They accept fiction, including flash fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, translation, and visual arts. They also publish reviews. They are also accepting unthemed submissions.  
Deadline: 21 December 2019 for the themed issue
Length: Various
Pay: $25
Details here

Antimony and Elder Lace Press: Three themes
A Room is Locked:
Their guidelines say, “In the mystery genre, the idea of a locked room puzzle is one of the standbys. Everyone from Agatha Christie to Edgar Allen Poe has done it, and now it’s your turn.
Your story, to be considered, must feature the idea, concept or tool of a locked room. It can be figurative or literal, the choice is yours. The challenge is to take this old idea and make it new again.” The deadline is 25 December 2019 for this theme.
Omens: Their guidelines say, “The idea of seeing the future or having warnings of what is to come is an idea that spans nearly every culture. Whether the omens are good or bad, there is the potential to affect us all.
To be considered, your story must deal with the idea of omens in some fashion.” The deadline is 25 July 2020 for this theme.
To Live Again…: Their guidelines say, “Who doesn’t want to live again? The idea of resurrection and conquering death is something that can be seen in many myths and legends of cultures around the world. This anthology will deal with the idea of resurrection, and of course, it’s aftermath.” The deadline is 25 December 2020 for this theme.
Length: 1,000-7,500 words
Pay: $0.01/word + Royalties
Details here

Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora 
This anthology is open for authors and poets from the African continent and the African Diaspora. According to their guidelines they seek “speculative fiction that grapples with the question: “What is the legacy and the future of Africa and the African Diaspora?” We want authors and poets from the African continent and the African Diaspora. More specifically, we want horror, science fiction, fantasy, and alternate history in the following sub-genres: Horror Noire, Afrofuturism, Africanfuturism, Sword and Soul, Rococoa, Steamfunk, and Dieselfunk.” They also accept reprints of both prose and poetry, translations, and multiple submissions (see guidelines).
Deadline: 31 December 2019
Length: 1,000-17,500 words for fiction
Pay: $0.08 per word for the first 1,000 words, and $0.01 above 1,000 words
Details here

Again, Hazardous Imaginings: More Politically Incorrect Science Fiction
For this anthology, the editor wants “stories that, due to their content, viewpoint, and/or subject matter, have little or no chance of being published in the commercial market. Yesterday’s transgressions (those spotlighted in Dangerous Visions and Again, Dangerous Visions) are today’s cultural virtues and/or commonplaces. What are TODAY’S taboos? What kinds of science fiction stories are verboten in today’s commercial publishing market? What just won’t fly, whether due to shared social beliefs and aversions common to editors, assumptions that editors make about their readerships’ beliefs and aversions, or the commercial pressures of the corporate publishing world? How can these modern-day taboos be illuminated and explored using the unique extrapolative tools of science fiction?” Also, “No stories that merely (or primarily) seek to shock, insult, or provoke will be accepted. The subject matter may be outrageous by the standards of today’s marketplace. But keep in mind, the more outrageous or disturbing the material, the more incisively it needs to be explored using the cognitive tools of science fiction.” 
Deadline: 31 December 2019
Length: Up to 7,000 words
Pay: $0.03/word
Details here

Sword & Kettle Press: Corvid Queen — Feminist Fairy Tales
They want original feminist tales, feminist retellings of traditional tales, and personal essays related to traditional tales. Their guidelines say, “We like work based on fairy tales, folklore, myths, and legends. We accept fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, and pieces that are in-between.” They read work in March, June, September, and December.  
Deadline: 31 December 2019
Length: 1,000-2,500 words; can read shorter or longer
Pay: $5
Details here

Signs of Life Anthology
For this Australian anthology, they want prose that is either fiction or creative nonfiction/auto-fiction. The literary anthology is themed around first- and second-hand experiences of illness and care-giving. Their guidelines say, “How do experiences of sickness or incapacitation change our bodies, who we are, and how we see the world? And how do they affect the people around us?” Also, “The illness depicted may be acute or chronic, life-threatening or relatively minor. We are anticipating stories that interrogate the difficulty and challenges of not being well but also those of connection, change, humour and growth. Or show us a different side that we may not have considered.” The entry must be written from the point of view of the patient, the care-giver (e.g. nurse, doctor, midwife, physiotherapist, family/unpaid carer or other), or kin e.g. family, friend. They welcome international submissions, and can accept two entries per person.  
Deadline: 31 December 2019
Length: 2,000-3,000 words
Pay: AUD100
Details here and here

Air: Sylphs, Spirits, and Swan Maidens
They want short fiction and poetry for this anthology. The editor’s guidelines say, “The most capricious of elements, air is the domain of all winged creatures, but also of tricksters, spirits, elves and fairies. … for this anthology, especially, I am open to stories whose genres also transcend usual definitions. I want stories which are light as a summer breeze, and also those which rage with the drama of a tornado. I want action, ideas and movement but also whimsy and transformation. Grand, high-adventure and cozy close-to-home conflicts.” Also, “I want to fit as many airy creatures into this anthology as possible, so in addition to sylphs, spirits and swan maidens I want air dragons, fae, griffins, sirens, rocs, Thunderbird, Pegasus… and because I’m open to combining aether with air in this situation why not also hit me with your angels, phantoms, Yōkai  and nymphs too!”
Deadline: 31 December 2019
Length: Up to 7,500 words
Pay: CAD50 for fiction, CAD20 for poetry
Details here

Horozons: Six themes
This is a Christian magazine. It is published by Presbyterian Women, Inc. for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). They seek stories, poems, and articles on specific themes. For January/February 2020 the theme is ‘Humility and Respect’ and for March/April, it is ‘Always Reforming’ – there are four other themes listed for future issues (The Great PW Read; Ecology; Faith & Politics; Privilege & Power). Submissions may be accompanied by a photograph, illustration or a suggestion for design.
Deadline: Unspecified
Length: 600-1,800 words for stories and articles
Pay: At least $50/page (see guidelines)
Details here (scroll down) and here

Vernacular Books: The Way of the Laser – Future Crime Stories
For this fiction anthology, they want “Crime stories that take place in the future. Preferably these stories will go beyond simple murders or capers to reveal something about how technology and the powers that wield it have changed our world. Is poisoning the nanobots responsible for programming the ads in your neural feed a crime? Is organized crime society’s only hope or responsible for its downfall? Consider what will constitute a crime and what unique problems it poses for your characters.

Keep in mind what is criminal behavior one day may be legal the next and vice versa. We want to see people caught up in the pitfalls of society ruled by corporations, ideologies, and demagogues and what lengths people will go to when there simply is no other choice.”
Deadline: 1 January 2020
Length: 4,000-8,000 words
Pay: $0.05/word + royalties
Details here

Full Bleed: Archives
This is an annual print and online journal of art and design, and they want submissions for the fourth issue, forthcoming in Spring 2020. Apart from criticism and regular columns, they also publish fiction, poetry, graphic essays, belles lettres, artwork, design, and illustration. For this issue they are specially interested in submissions that critique, investigate, or rely on archives of various kinds. “We seek new writing about artists working with, playing with, re-contextualizing, or elevating archival materials; art or design projects responsive to historical documents; and essays, fictions, and poetry related to the work of archiving” – see guidelines for further details on the theme. 
Deadline: 1 January 2020
Length: Essays of up to 7,500 words, columns of 800-2,000 words; no length guidelines for other genres
Pay: Modest honoraria
Details here

Crone Girls Press: Two themes
They are accepting short stories for two anthologies.
— Coppice and Brake: 
They want fiction submissions in the genres of dark fantasy, supernatural, and eerie horror. Their guidelines say, “Seeking stories that explore the darker side of speculative fiction. We want stories that are scary or disturbing or upsetting, or that wouldn’t be out of place in a collection of Gothic prose or Grimm folktales or dark contemporary fantasy or a dark forest as night comes on … While horror is the name of the game, this anthology is for those stories that might not hit all of the tropes, but still leave us unsettled when the night settles in.”
–Stories We Tell After Midnight: For this anthology they want “chilling horror, your stories that are set firmly in the genre, tagging the tropes and atmospherics of things that will cause you to have nightmares and not be able to escape the dark, even when you pull the covers over your head and sleep with the light on.”
Deadline: 6 January 2020
Length: 500-1,500 words for flash fiction, 3,000-8,000 words for short stories, and 12,000-25,000 words for novellas
Pay: $0.02/word or $25/story, whichever is greater
Details here

Nosetouch Press: Fiends in the Furrows II
This is a folk horror anthology. Their guidelines say, “Folk Horror continues to stalk sunlit fields and shadowed groves with its grafting of the mundane and the sublime. The pervasive themes of isolation, paranoia, depravity, loss of individuality, and rustic madness captivate and terrify audiences.

Nosetouch Press is pleased to conjure up FIENDS IN THE FURROWS II: More Tales of Folk Horror, a call for submissions for Folk Horror from around the world—from Britain and Ireland, to continental Europe, to North and South America, Africa, and Asia.
We encourage writers to continue to explore the wilderness of Folk Horror, while honoring the elemental essence of this subgenre’s tangled, grasping roots.”

Deadline: 7 January 2020
Length: 4,000-8,000 words
Pay: $0.04/word
Details here

The Genre Hustle: Murder Park After Dark Volume 3
The Genre Hustle is a virtual Sci-fi and Fantasy writing group. They have an open submissions call for their ‘Murder Park After Dark’ anthology. They want horror or dark fantasy stories; sci-fi is also welcome so long as it’s scary. They do not have a strong preference for any particular style or subgenre, but prefer writing that is more literary than pulp, that achieves its scares from impacts to fully realized characters as opposed to splatter, gore, or shock value. They also accept formats outside of traditional prose. Comics, email chains, tweet threads, and other methods of spooky storytelling are welcome, but not poetry. Preference will be given to authors based in Southern California and to authors of underrepresented backgrounds, but the strength of the writing and impact of the story is the biggest consideration. Look at guideline details for tropes that are hard sells.
Deadline: 30 January 2020, or until filled
Length: Unspecified
Pay: $0.02/word up to 1,500 words; $30 for comics and visual stories
Details here

Conjunctions: Grendel’s Kin – The Monsters Issue
They want fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Their guidelines say, “When darkness fell, monsters arose. When nightmares first drove us from peaceful sleep, monsters lingered in daylit memory, denizens of the liminal. Monsters have tormented, provoked, and inspired the human imagination from earliest times. Dating back to the dawn of myth and folklore, these representatives of otherness and terror have roamed our narratives, inhabiting countless forms and displaying endlessly weird proclivities. … We bring our monsters to life through art and science, through projection and dreaming and madness. We animate and battle them. We encourage them to battle one another. We are drawn to them and fascinated by them, yet also loathe them. We find them where they don’t even exist. It may be that we need monsters in ways we can scarcely begin to fathom.” This issue will explore the many ways in which monsters are sublime and horrifying and an important part of the human legacy from one generation to the next. They want work that is provocative, innovative, and risk-taking. Pay, if any, is unspecified on the website. According to Duotrope, they pay sometimes. They read year-round for their weekly online edition, which is unthemed. Work has to be mailed; writers from outside the US can send their work over email. 
Deadline: 1 February 2019
Length: No restrictions
Pay: Unspecified
Details here


J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Awards
Two awards are given for non-fiction works in progress which deal with a topic of American political or social concern, to aid their completion. Writers must already have a contract with a US-based publisher. There is no fee for the work-in-progress award. The prizes are run by Columbia Journalism School – they also have the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize and the Mark Lynton History Prize, and these awards have an entry fee.
Value: $25,000
Deadline: 9 December 2019
Open for: Unspecified
Details here and here

Nobrow Short Story Competition: The Censor
For this contest, they want a piece of fiction or non-fiction on the theme of ‘The Censor’. They will select up to 12 entries for their anthology.
Value: £2,000 for one winner; £150 for all other potential contributors
Deadline: 9 December 2019
Open for: Unspecified
Details here

Wick Poetry Center: Call for Poems for Peace and Conflict Transformation

Their guidelines say, “The Wick Poetry Center is now accepting poetry submissions as part of the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the May 4 shootings. The poems should resonate with the themes of peace, conflict transformation, and student advocacy. We are accepting submissions in three categories: youth (K-12), adult student, or adult non-student.” There’s also a possibility for winners to read their poems at Kent State during the May 4 Music and Poetry Event on April 21. All winners will have their poems set to a musical composition by students in the Kent State University School of Music.
Value: $500 in each category; $250 for two poets
Deadline: 15 December 2019
Open for: All writers
Details here

Poetry Society of America: The Four Quartets Prize
This is for a unified and complete sequence of poems published in America in a print or online journal, chapbook, or book in 2019. Poems in the sequence may have been published in different journals provided that they were published in 2019 and that brought together, they form a complete sequence. The minimum requirement is 14 pages of published poems unified by subject, form, and style. Entire books composed of a unified sequence, however long, are also welcome. Submissions will have to be mailed. Self-published work is not eligible.  They have other upcoming awards also, though these have an entry fee.
Value: $1,000 for three finalists, an additional $20,000 for the winner
Deadline: 23 December 2019
Open for: Unspecified
Details here

Ouen Press Short Story Competition: The Gift
For this fiction contest, they want a story of 4,000-10,000 words on the theme of ‘The Gift’. Their guidelines say, “The short story must be a work of fiction involving a ‘Gift’ of any type (a present, a capability) at any time (past, present day, future) or in any place (this world or another) within its theme.  For the purposes of this competition, the term ‘Gift’ will be viewed by the judges in the widest possible sense related to both setting and context. They will focus on well-written compelling storylines, thoughtful plots and engaging characters.” Read the guidelines carefully – they reserve the right to change the rules without notice.
Value: £300; two prizes of £100 each
Deadline: 31 December 2019
Open for: All writers
Details here

St. Martin’s Minotaur/ Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition
This is an international contest for crime novel manuscripts, for writers who have never been the author of any published novel in any genre. The writing should be no less than 220 pages, or approximately 60,000 words. Minotaur is an imprint of St Martin’s Press, which is part of Macmillan. Also look at The Tony Hillerman Prize for Best First Mystery Set in the Southwest, though this is for writers in the US and UK only.
Value: $10,000 advance against royalties
Deadline: 3 January 2020
Open for: Unpublished writers (see guidelines)
Details here

Author Bio: S. Kalekar is the pseudonym of a regular contributor to this magazine. She is the author of 182 Short Fiction Publishers. She can be reached here.


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