22 Themed Submissions Calls for September 2020

Written by S. Kalekar

There are 22 themed submission calls in the 20 outlets listed, for writers of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, and they all pay writers. Some of the themes are: harvest; terrifying ghosts; environmental justice; fix the world; selkies, sirens and sea monsters; Krampus tales; Gothic romance; inner spaces; and lost contact. There are also some themed writing contests at the end of this list. They don’t charge entry fees, and pay cash prizes. And see this list from August; some deadlines are coming up in September and beyond.

Longleaf Review: Harvest
They will read fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry on the ‘Harvest’ theme. Their guidelines say, “Harvest as a cornucopia that brings people together—across a dining room table or across screens in times of crisis. Harvest as a terror—zombies in search of brains and bones, body snatchers in a graveyard. Harvest as a life — after loss, grief, sorrow, betrayal, illness, agony; an invitation to the underworld with Hades. We want your comfort and your terror, your sacrifices and your offerings. When you hear tapping at your window late at night, is this the prelude to a reaping?
Give us taste and texture; the excitement of the planting; the growing; the bloodlust; the hunger. Give us fallow fields and baskets overflowing. Give us walls teeming with unwanted life and tongues red with poison berries.”
Reading period: 1-10 September 2020
Length: Up to 5,000 words for fiction and nonfiction; up to 5 poems
Pay: $20
Details here.


Poetry Archive NOW! WordView 2020
This initiative celebrates 20 years the first recording of The Poetry Archive. They want poets reading a single poem they have written, recorded on video through their phone or computer. Many poets’ videos will get uploaded on the site’s YouTube channel. They will select 20 entries for a special Archive Collection for their website, and these poets will get a royalty fee.
Deadline: 10 September 2020
Length: One poem, maximum two minutes of reading time
Pay: £100 each for 20 poets
Details here (home page) and here (FAQ).

Eerie River Publishing: It Calls From the Sea
For this horror fiction anthology their guidelines say, “Bring me your shipwrecks, your lost passengers and mysterious creatures. Tantalize me with gripping tales of horror and drown me in tears of sorrow as we discover what lies within the deepest crevasses of the ocean or in the innocent creek. The ocean is deep, dark and vast. There are real dangers lurk not only below but above. Raging storms or unrelenting heat can create madness. Storm drains and murky creek beds are also a great source of inspiration.” See guidelines for further details on the theme.

Deadline: 15 September 2020
Length: 2,000-8,000 words
Pay: $10-20
Details here.

Critical Reads: Art is Essential
This is a submission call for micro-essays. Their guidelines say, “We are looking for essays of around 300 words on a publicly held work created by an American artist—be it visual art, performing art, or literature—that you are turning to now. It could be an appreciation of the art you have access to from your home. It can also be a remembrance of the art you wish you could see or hear right now, or a trip to a museum or arts organization that you wish you could relive. How is this work of art sustaining you right now? How has it transformed you? Why does it drive you?”  They also accept unthemed pitches and reports, and critical writing on art.  
Deadline: 15 September 2020
Length: 300 words
Pay: $25
Details here and here.

Contemporary Verse 2: 2S + QTBIPOC Bodies
This is a Canadian journal of poetry and they are reading work on 2S + QTBIPOC Bodies. Their guidelines say, “We are seeking poetry and prose for Volume 43.3 of CV2 on 2S + QTBIPOC Bodies. What does your queer body mean to you as a writer? Regarding relationships with queerness and bodies, what is your landscape to yourself and to others? Does non-human kinship relate back to your two-spirit identity/queerness? What does your skin taste like after being queered up? What is the most sensual part of your body: shoulders, calves, sternum, knees and toes? Show me your ankles and I’ll show you mine! 
Poets–including but not exclusive to–Two-Spirit, Black, Trans, Indigenous, People of Colour, and non-binary writers are particularly encouraged to submit.”
Deadline: 15 September 2020
Length: Up to 6 poems; varies for prose
Pay:  $30/poem (Canadian); $50-$100 for interviews and articles; $40-$150 for essays; $50-$80 for reviews
Details here (general submission guidelines) and here (theme details).

Cricket Media: Muse – Three themes
Cricket Media’s Muse Magazine, a discovery (science, nonfiction) magazine for 9-14-year-old readers, is accepting work/pitches for some themes. They publish science fiction or science-focused fiction. They also accept queries for feature articles, and publish profiles and interviews, particularly of underrepresented STEM professionals, activities and experiments, photo essays, and infographics.
– Honeybees and Pollinators: For the April 2021 issue, the organizing questions are: How does pollination relate to the health of ecosystems, people, and the planet? Possible  topics they’ve suggested are: Wild and domesticated bees; The latest on colony collapse  disorder; Beekeeping pros and cons; Process of pollination from plant to  plate; Lesser known but essential pollinators; Effects of climate  change on plants and pollinators; Ways to aid and protect pollinators. They want queries by 15 September 2020 on this theme.
– The Ears Have It: For the May/June 2021 issue, the organizing questions are: Where does sound meet art, engineering, and science? How does hearing actually work? Possible topics they’ve suggested are: Ear anatomy and function, Audiologists and hearing impairment;  Music engineering, History of headphones; Acoustics in design and  architecture; Auditory sensitivities; Animals with extraordinary hearing  They want queries by 15 October 2020 for this theme.
– Making Predictions: For the July/August 2021 issue, the organizing questions are: How do scientists (especially meteorologists) make predictions, and what makes predictions more or less accurate?  Possible topics they’ve suggested are: Tools, tech, and analysis in meteorology; Daily weather  forecasts vs weather emergencies; Tracking weather patterns over time;  How often are meteorologists right?; Historical predictions; Climate and  public health models; Coping with uncertainty  They want queries by 1 December 2020 for this theme.
Apart from these three, there are other themes listed, as well.
Deadlines: See above
Length: 800-1,200 words for science fiction or science-focused fiction; 800-2,000 words for features; 500-800 words for profiles/ interviews, activities, and experiments; 100-300 words for photo essays
Pay: Unspecified
Details here.

Flame Tree Publishing: Terrifying Ghosts
The theme for their next fiction anthology is ‘Terrifying Ghosts’. Their guidelines say, “Ghastly castles, haunted mansions, shadowy forests and long, dark corridors… This new addition to the Gothic Fantasy series will be packed with tales of terror, bringing together the new and the familiar, the unusual and the unexpected.” They also accept reprints.
Deadline: 20 September 2020
Length: 2,000-4,000 words are most likely to succeed; will read slightly outside this range
Pay: $0.08/word
Details here.

Reckoning 5: Environmental Justice
They want creative writing about environmental justice. Their guidelines say, “Fiction preferably at least a tiny bit speculative, nonfiction preferably more creative than journalistic, poetry tending towards the narrative and preferably with some thematic heft, art leaning away from the pulpy heavily towards the political. But the heart of what we want is your searingly personal, visceral, idiosyncratic understanding of the world and the people in it as it has been, as it is, as it will be, as it could be, as a consequence of humanity’s relationship with the earth.” They actively seek work from Indigenous writers and artists, writers and artists of color, queer and transgender writers and artists, and anyone who has suffered the consequences, intended or otherwise, of dominant society’s systemic disconnect with and mistreatment of the natural world. Their website has specific details of the kind of work the prose and poetry editors want for this issue. They also welcome writing in Spanish, French or Swedish for potential translation, and work already translated into English, for which they pay the same rate to both author and translator.
Deadline: 22 September 2020
Length: Up to 20,000 words for prose; 3-5 poems
Pay: $0.08/word for prose; $30/page for poetry; minimum $25/piece of art
Details here (overall guidelines) and here (submission portal).

Future Science Fiction Digest: Envision the future of the East Asia region in an optimistic, positive way
For this themed issue their guidelines say, “For this call we’re seeking science fiction stories that envision the future of the East Asia region in an optimistic, positive way. No dystopias, please. You can interpret this widely, but the theme has to be at the core of the story. It isn’t enough that the story be merely set in the region.” This submission call is open to all authors.
Deadline: 30 September 2020
Length: 500-10,000 words (under 5,000 words strongly preferred)
Pay: $0.08/word (split between author and translator in case of translations)
Details here.

Other Worlds Ink: Fix the World
For this anthology, they’re looking for stories that depict a (near) future Earth that’s somehow better than this one. Their guidelines say, “Show us a world post-climate change, where we made peace with the planet. Or a world where we moved past racism and into a broader understanding of the connectedness of all the races of humanity. How about one where gender no longer matters? Or where borders are no more. We’re not looking for preachy. We want realistic depictions of the Earth that could be, even it it’s not perfect. Whatever fix you choose does not have to be the main plot – in fact, it’s probably better if it isn’t. But it should be very clear in the story – how we got from here to there.”
Deadline: 30 September 2020
Length: 5,000-15,000 words
Pay: $75-125
Details here.

Tyche Books: Water – Selkies, Sirens, and Sea Monsters
The editor wants “stories about shapeshifting selkies, deceptively beautiful sirens, all the monsters of the deep and any other magical water creature you can imagine—water dragons, naiads, kappa, kelpies… If it’s a magical being associated with water, I want to read about it.” This is the fourth and final volume of an elemental anthology series.
Deadline: 30 September 2020
Length: Up to 7,500 words
Pay: CAD50 for stories; CAD20 for poems
Details here.

Krampus Tales: A Killer Anthology
They want horror stories in which “the holidays have lost their cheer. Evergreen boughs hang brown and brittle. Sweets taste bitter. The little ones are restless and will not sleep. There’s something stirring in the dark, but only the bravest writers will explore what horrors stalk across the rooftops. It could be a tempestuous ghost seeking its stolen past. Maybe it’s a malevolent shadow come for its sworn promises. Krampus might be lying in wait for his chance to punish the wicked children. The only way to find out is to brave the dark and tell the story of what you find.”
Deadline: 30 September 2020
Length: 6,000-9,000 words
Pay: $75
Details here.


Tamarack: Youth Blog – Collaboration, Neighbourhoods, Community Change, Leadership

The Tamarack Institute develops and supports collaborative strategies that engage citizens and institutions to solve major community issues across Canada and beyond. They want to include youth blogs in their bimonthly publication. They have issued a call for young writers (ages 15-30) for original blogs, interviews, poems, personal stories, illustrations or photo essays that have a focus on collaboration, neighbourhoods, community change, and leadership. They are looking to feature the work of 10 youth in our bi-monthly newsletter until March 2021, and they can accept up to three submissions per person over the duration of this call-out. And though they welcome international perspectives, preference will be given to work by youth who live in Canada. 
Deadline: 30 September 2020
Length: Unspecified
Pay: CAD60
Details here.


The Evil Cookie Publishing: Bludgeon Tools – Tool Infused Splatterpunk Anthology
They publish horror anthologies and their tagline is ‘Anthologies with All the Guts n’ Gory’. For the forthcoming anthology their guidelines say, “Bludgeon Tools, inc. will be expanding their sales and distribution lines. The company will be accepting applications for employment and looking for creative employees with excellent customer service.” Stories must have elements of splatterpunk.
Deadline: 1 October 2020
Length: Up to 3,000 words
Pay: $0.03/word
Details here (scroll down).

The Last Line
They want fiction that ends with a pre-set last line, and writers can send more than one submission. For the forthcoming issue, the story has to end with this line: Jordan looked me in the eye and said, “I trust you.”
Deadline: 1 October 2020
Length: 300-5,000 words
Pay: $20-40
Details here.

Zombie Pirate Publishing: Pirates of the Empyrean
They want science fiction, fantasy, speculative fiction, or steampunk stories featuring pirates – tales of swashbuckling adventure set against space, sky, or sea.

Deadline: 5 October 2020
Length: 2,000-7,000 words
Pay: $10
Details here.

Horroraddicts.net: Haunts and Hellions, a Gothic Romance Anthology
The editors say, “Although we crave gothic romance style, don’t feel the need to paint a damsel in distress. The woman may certainly be the one who saves the day. We are also open to LBGTQ love stories. The main plot should be horror and romance. We don’t like stories written specifically with social or political agendas. Sensual or passionate stories are acceptable but we don’t want erotica or sexually-based stories.” All stories should contain an overwhelming sense of menace and dread, inclement weather, a supernatural horror being or entity, be set in a spooky location, and set in the time period 1700-1940. 
Deadline: 31 October 2020
Length: 2,000-5,000 words
Pay: $10
Details here.

Cliffhanger: Amateur Magazine of Adventure and Daring
This is their first call for submissions. They want adventure fiction stories. Their guidelines say, “The scope of Adventure Fiction is broad, ranging from classic novelists like H. Rider Haggard and Howard Lamb, pulp characters like Doc Savage and Robert E. Howard’s El Borak, the modern voices of Clive Cussler and James Rollins, and visual media akin to Indiana Jones, Tomb Raider, and the Uncharted franchise. Adventure Fiction places emphasis on protagonists with agency, feats of daring, and the sense of discovery. These traits are not necessarily confined by time or place, though we are interested in fiction grounded to Earth as a setting. Neither does Adventure Fiction avoid conflict with science or the supernatural, so the weird is welcome. Ancient curses, weird science, the lost magics of fallen civilizations, are all there to find and celebrate in this genre.”
Deadline: 5 December 2020
Length: 5,000-7,000 words (6,000 preferred)
Pay: $10
Details here.

Newfound: Inner Spaces
Their work explores how place shapes identity, imagination, and understanding. They are reading fiction (including flash and novel excerpts), creative nonfiction, poetry, reviews, translations, and visual art. For the ‘Inner Spaces’ theme their guidelines say, “How well do you know yourself? How does a person navigate the places inside themselves? Does self knowledge come through excavation of the past? Conflict? Difference? We want to investigate all aspects of this theme in our spring 2021 issue. Tell us about an intrapersonal experience or a delve into identity. Immerse us in subjective and intersecting worlds.” Themed submissions should be labelled as such. They are also reading unthemed work. They nominate work for the Pushcart Prize. They are also reading work for a poetry prize currently, which has a submission fee. They do not seem open for general poetry submissions currently.
Deadline: 21 December 2020 for the themed issue; 15 May 2021 for unthemed
Length: Up to 6,000 words for fiction, up to 40 pages for nonfiction,
Pay: $25
Details here and here.


Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing: Lost Contact
This is a horror fiction anthology. Their guidelines say, “To lose contact…does that bring to mind something physical, something intangible? Does it give you a sense of isolation? Does it bring to mind…aliens, maybe? Being stranded? Lost? I think, in the times we live in right now, the phrase “Lost Contact” might mean a whole heck of a lot to all of us, and we want to see what you make of it.” Writers are free to interpret the theme as they like, though they will benefit if they include technology of some kind. Stories should be deeply rooted in the horror genre.
Deadline: 31 December 2020
Length: 1,000-7,000 words
Pay: $0.05/word
Details here.

THEMED CONTESTS FOR WRITERS
On the Premises: Ooh, that smell
Their guidelines say, “There are few things as evocative as scent. For this contest, write a creative, compelling, well-crafted story between 1,000 and 5,000 words long in which either a specific scent, or the sense of smell in general, is important to the story.” They do not want children’s fiction, exploitative sex, over-the-top grossout horror, or stories that are obvious parodies of existing fictional worlds/characters created by other authors. 
Value: $220, $160, $120, $60
Deadline: 4 September 2020
Open for: All writers
Details here and here.

Shoreline of Infinity Flash Fiction Competition: Funny SF stories
They want funny science fiction stories, of up to 1,000 words. Writers can submit up to two stories.
Value: £50; runners-up get a digital subscription to the magazine
Deadline: 12 September 2020
Open for: All writers
Details here.

Green Stories Writing Competition: Stories for children
They want writing for children, and there are two categories with corresponding suggested length: preschool/ illustrated books (for 2-6 year olds) up to 1,000 words; for young readers category (ages 7-11), up to 2,500 words. All submissions must be in English and conform to the green stories criteria of showing a positive vision of what a sustainable society might look like or in some way smuggling in green solutions/policies/characters in the context of an otherwise mainstream story. Apart from the cash prizes, they have agreement from a literary agent from Curtis Brown to read the top entries and consider any writers they think suitable for representation.
Value: £200 for best pre-school/illustrated book (aimed at age 2-6) and £200 for best novel in young reader’s category
Deadline: 14 September 2020
Open for: All writers
Details here.

Gulf Coast: The Toni Beauchamp Prize in Critical Art Writing
This is a prize for critical art writing of up to 1,500 words. The writing can be unpublished, or published in the last one year. They will accept a variety of creative approaches and formats to writing on the visual arts, including exhibition reviews, thematic essays, and scholarly essays. They also have other contests open now, which charge a fee.   
Value: $3,000; two prizes of $1,000 each
Deadline: 15 September 2020
Open for: Unspecified
Details here.

The QueryLetter.com Writing Contest
They want a book blurb of 100 words or fewer. However, the book has to be an imaginary one. Their guidelines say, “Write and submit a back cover blurb of 100 words or fewer that sets the stage for a novel, establishes the characters, and raises the stakes in a way that makes readers want to find out more.” Writers can send more than one entry.
Value: $500
Deadline: 15 September 2020
Open for: All writers
Details here.



Penguin Random House UK: Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize

This is for translators aged 18-34 years, who have had no more than one full-length translation published. This year the focus language is Japanese and entrants are to translate the short story ‘Yakyoku’ by Yusho Takiguchi into English. Submissions have to be sent via post.
Value: £1,000, mentorship
Deadline: 16 September 2020
Open for: Translators of Japanese
Details here.

Casa Africa Essay Prize: Climate Change in Africa: Climate change in Africa
They want an essay of 15,000-20,000 words on the theme, ‘Climate change in Africa’. The prize is open to all writers, and is now in its 12th year.
Value: €2,000
Deadline: 17 September 2020
Open for: All writers
Details here.

Ayn Rand Institute: Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest
This is an international essay contest for students. It is for 12th graders, college undergraduates and graduate students. Write an essay of 800-1,600 words on one of three specific topics centred around Ayn Rand’s novel, Atlas Shrugged (click on ‘Topics’ under the ‘Atlas Shrugged’ tab). The guidelines also say, “All entries become the property of the Ayn Rand Institute and will not be returned. Essays may be reproduced on our website and/or shared with third parties for purposes of marketing the contest.” Their previous two student contests were centered around Anthem and The Fountainhead.
Value: $25,000, $2,500, $500, $100
Deadline: 21 September 2020
Open for: All 12th graders, college undergraduates and graduate students
Details here.

The Writers College: My Writing Journey Competition
They want a 600-word piece on ‘The best writing tip I’ve ever received’. The contest is open to writers all over the world.  
Value: AUD200/£100
Deadline: 30 September 2020
Open for: All writers
Details here.

Dzanc Books Diverse Voices Prize
They want book-length manuscripts of fiction or nonfiction. They want work only by writers from minority, underrepresented, or marginalized communities. Novels, short story collections, memoir, essay collections, and cross-genre works are all welcome. This contest is open to new, upcoming, and established writers alike. Agented submissions are also eligible. They have other contests for writers also, but those have entry fees.
Value: $3,000 advance
Deadline: 30 September 2020
Open for: Writers from minority, underrepresented, or marginalized communities
Details here and here.


The Philosophy Essay Prize:
Knowledge, Truth and Power in an Online World
Each year the Royal Institute holds an essay prize competition. The winner will receive a cash prize and their essay will be published in Philosophy, which publishes articles on all areas of philosophy. This year’s topic is ‘Knowledge, Truth and Power in an Online World’ – see guidelines for details on the theme. All entries will be deemed to be submissions to Philosophy and more than one may be published. In exceptional circumstances the prize may be awarded jointly, in which case the financial component will be divided.

Value: £2,500
Deadline: 1 October 2020
Open for: Unspecified
Details here and here.

The Bergen International Essay Competition: My generation
This is an international essay contest for writers under 30 years. The Bergen International Literary Festival for Non-Fiction and Fiction is held in February every year in the Norwegian city of Bergen. Essays should be on the theme of ‘My generation’, and up to 2,000 words. The essay can be written in any language, but a translation into English must be provided with the original text. 
Value: €2,500; €500 for three runners-up
Deadline: 1 October 2020
Open for: Writers under 30
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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