24 Themed Submissions Calls for July 2020

Written by S. Kalekar

These are 24 themed, paying submission calls for fiction, nonfiction, and poetry in the 21 markets listed here. Some themes are: the year of the virus; alternate endings; tales of the sea; a multiplicity of futures; omens; with blood and ash (elemental magic); Isms; and tales of the Wendigo. There are also some themed contests for writers at the end, and none charge a submission fee.


Owl Hollow Press: The Year of the Virus
They want stories about viruses, real and imagined – see guidelines for details about past pandemic and virus literature. Stories can be in any genre.
Deadline: 10 July 2020
Length: Up to 7,500 words
Pay: $50
Details here.

Interstellar Flight Press: Alternate Endings
This is a call for writers of color. Their guidelines say, For the rest of 2020, we’re asking writers to reimagine our world for the better. We’re looking for flash fiction stories from BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) writers who re-envision the future.” They want stories in speculative genres: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, or any interpretation of these that fits the theme. Writers can submit up to three pieces. Collaborative pieces by multiple writers are welcome. In the case of multiple writers, payment will be split between collaborators. For this call, they’re accepting optional donations, which will go to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Deadline: 10 July 2020
Length: Up to 1,000 words
Pay: $80
Details here.

Cricket Media: Tales of the Sea
They want stories on ‘Tales of the Sea’ for Cricket, their flagship magazine for children ages 9-14. They want “seaworthy fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for the theme of tales of the sea. Time and tide wait for no one, so shiver your timbers and send us your best stories of pirate raids and stowaways, mythical monsters of the deep, scientific expeditions, tragic shipwrecks, and daring rescues.” Non-themed submissions are open as well. The magazine also accepts other genres, like nonfiction and poetry, and puzzles, games, and activities. 
Deadline: 15 July 2020
Length: Up to 1,800 words for fiction (can serialize longer works); 1,200-1,800 words for nonfiction; generally 8-15 lines for poetry (can be shorter or longer)
Pay: Up to 0.25/word for fiction and nonfiction; $3/line for poetry; $75 for activities and recipes
Details here.

Dreamforge Magazine: Hope of the Big Idea
They want positive stories demonstrating the triumph of the human spirit and the power of hope and humane values in overcoming the most daunting challenges. They want science fiction and fantasy, but no horror. Their theme is the ‘Hope of the Big Idea’ – “Which means we’d like to see stories that call upon powerful new visions of how life could be shaped for the better either through technological or social change, or both”, according to guidelines. They can include themes of rebuilding or starting fresh. Stories can be serious, lighthearted, or funny. They also publish speculative poetry.
Deadline: 15 July 2020
Length: Flash Fiction & Poetry: 100 – 1,500 words; Short Stories: 2,000 – 7,500 words; Novelettes: 7,500 – 15,000 words (want to see more flash fiction; in general, want works of 5,000 words or fewer)
Pay: $0.04-0.08/word for fiction (see guidelines); $25-100 for poems and micro-stories
Details here.

Augur Magazine: A Multiplicity of Futures
This Canadian speculative fiction magazine is reading on ‘A Multiplicity of Futures’ theme. They are especially looking for the following genres and themes: Afrofuturism, soft scifi, scifi-fabulism, scifi-fantasy, Indigenous futurity, hopepunk, dystopia, utopia, post-apoc, solarpunk, scifi-realism, Canadian scifi, ecofiction, and “hopeful futures”. Their guidelines say, “We are hoping to position stories and poetry that centre on trauma, systemic oppression and harm alongside pieces that examine hope, better futures, and quiet bildungsromans. We are also interested in pieces that tackle both sides of this coin.” Pandemic stories will receive an automatic rejection, and hard scifi will be a hard sell. They are mostly interested in deeply human and character-driven narratives – see guidelines for detailed submissions.
Deadline: 15 July 2020
Length: Up to 5,000 words for fiction, up to 5 pages of poetry
Pay: $0.11/word for fiction, $60 for poetry (Canadian dollars)
Details here.

The Bare Life Review: The Climate Issue
They are reading work on the Climate theme. The magazine publishes work by immigrant and refugee authors – from foreign-born authors living in the US, and writers living abroad who currently hold refugee and/or asylum-seeker status. And for this issue only, they have amended the eligibility rules to include non-immigrant writers who have experienced displacement as a result of climate disaster. They accept fiction, non-fiction, and poetry – the work may, but need not, deal explicitly with issues of immigration, exile, or refuge. They welcome translations. American-born translators may submit work by eligible writers, but in such cases payment must be issued to the author.
Deadline: 15 July 2020 (extended)
Length: Fiction and non-fiction up to 8,000 words for print; 3-5 poems, up to 10 pages in total
Pay: $750 for full-length prose pieces, $300 for accepted poems or shorter prose, $100 for online nonfiction
Details here.

A Public Space
Their guidelines say, “Memory is a tricky thing. Whether it’s obsessing over our failures, surveying the tokens that trigger us, or considering our past and where we come from, our memories, collective and individual, can tell us about ourselves. Why do we hold onto certain things—failures, archival materials, family trauma—and not others? …submit prose, fiction or nonfiction, that thinks about inheritance or legacy, broadly considers memory, or incorporates archival history.”
Deadline: 20 July 2020
Length: 1,500-10,000 words
Pay: Honorarium
Details here.

ArabLit Quarterly: Cats
ArabLit is a quarterly magazine that brings together Arabic literature, essays, wordplay, art, music, and food in translation. Their Fall 2020 issue will focus on Cats. They’re looking for Cat-focused writing, however it may be interpreted. They do not take fiction and poetry originally written in English; translations only. Regular features include: #TranslateThis; Open Letter to a Late Author; Literary Playlist; Food for Reading; Judge a Book By Its Cover; Literary Map (this can be a collaboration with their Art Director). They also accept translations of: short stories, poetry, playtexts, commix, and texts that play with genres. They’re accepting pitches as well as complete works – see guidelines for the regular features, and the kind of work they publish.
Deadline: 20 July for pitches, 20 August 2020 for complete drafts
Length: 100-10,000 words for fiction; unspecified for others
Pay: $15/page
Details here.
(And see this link for details of the ArabLit Short Story Prize; the deadline is 15 July 2020.)

Antimony and Elder Lace Press: Omens; To Live Again
They are reading fiction submissions on two themes.
— 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.
Deadlines: See above
Length: 1,000-7,500 words
Pay: $0.01/word + Royalties
Details here.

Mysterion: Christian speculative fiction
They want speculative fiction – science fiction, fantasy, and horror – with Christian themes, characters or cosmology. Their guidelines say, “The story must engage with Christianity. We want stories with Christian characters whose faith affects their actions, with Christian themes such as grace and redemption, or with a Christian view of the supernatural. Note that we’re not saying that you must be a Christian. We are not in a position to judge your faith and won’t try, and we welcome submissions from authors of all backgrounds and perspectives. Nor does your story need to be unambiguously pro-Christian.” They also accept translations and reprints.
Deadline: 31 July 2020
Length: Up to 9,000 words
Pay: $0.08/word
Details here.

Feral Cat Publishers: Dear Leader Tales Anthology
They want fiction and poetry for their anthology, ‘Dear Leader Tales’. They want stories of a humorous or satirical bent which illustrate or lampoon an emperor’s hubris (and lack of clothing). They don’t want any real life current or past Dear Leaders named directly, but their known foibles are fair game. Examples beyond the political include CEOs who constantly quote Sun Tzu or Machiavelli incorrectly, cats plotting to overthrow their human overlords, in short anywhere clueless oppressors operate. They also accept reprints.
Deadline: 31 July 2020
Length: 1,000-5,000 words
Pay: $0.03/word for fiction, $25 for poetry
Details here.

Third Flatiron: Brain Games – Stories to Astonish
They want science fiction, fantasy, horror, steampunk, cyberpunk, mythology, and satire fiction for this anthology. Their guidelines say, “The left side of the brain is associated with logical and analytical characteristics, while the right brain with creativity. We’d welcome stories from both sides of the brain. Stories could feature puzzle solving and ingenuity, inverted tv tropes, inventions (clockwork, practical, or Rube Goldberg), masterful creations (like JS Bach’s Goldberg Variations), and social commentary”.
Deadline: 1 August 2020
Length: 1,500-3,000 words
Pay: $0.08/word
Details here (scroll down for theme details) and here (general guidelines).

Violent Vixens: An Homage to Grindhouse Horror
This fiction anthology will focus on Grindhouse horror films, made famous by movies such as Night of the Living Dead, Death Proof, and Suspiria. This genre encompasses different styles and mashups, but they want to focus only on Grindhouse horror stories featuring a strong female lead, who may be the protagonist or the antagonist. Submissions can focus on Giallo/Slasher, Sci-fi Horror, 80’s Splatter, Japanese Body Horror, 50’s B-Movie Creature Feature, Southern Gothic, Satanic Cult, Lost World, Lost Tribe. Other sub-genres could apply as well, but must have a strong horror connection, including: Carsploitation, Blacksploitation, Spaghetti Western, Women in Prison, Vigilante, etc. The editors tend to lean more toward fun, action-oriented stories like Army of Darkness, Planet Terror, and Blood Drive over anything too serious and brooding. They encourage genre mashups.
Deadline: 1 August 2020
Length: 2,000-8,000 words
Pay: $50
Details here.

Claw & Blossom Equinox Issue: Rise
This is a quarterly online journal of short prose and poems that touch upon the natural world. They are reading work for issue 6 (the Equinox issue), and the theme is ‘Rise’. The work must contain elements of the natural world – this need not be the main focus, but it should have a distinct and relevant narrative presence. Regarding poetry, they are partial to free verse, and aren’t keen on traditional forms.
Deadline: 1 August 2020
Length: Up to 1,000 words for prose, one poem
Pay: $25
Details here.

Cemetery Gates Media: Personal Local Lore/Oddities Anthology
This is a horror fiction anthology on your personal local lore/oddities. Their guidelines say, “Write something dark into a setting you’ve experienced — it could be a place you’ve lived, or even just somewhere you’ve visited on a vacation. Is there a landmark in your town that you can write a nightmare into? Have you ever legend tripped somewhere and thought, well, that cave, mausoleum, torture tree was neat, but I wish there was more to the story?” Also, “In our fifth year of publishing we’re looking to expand our reach into 21st Century folklore, urban legends, and the space between creepypasta and literary horror.” The submission window may close earlier than expected because they will begin accepting work before the deadline.
Deadline: 1 August 2020, or until filled
Length: 3,000-6,000 words
Pay: $0.05/word
Details here.

The First Line: Two themes
For this quarterly journal, they want a short story beginning with a pre-set first line.
For the Fall issue, it is: ‘The Simmons public library was a melting pot of the haves and have-nots, a mixture of homeless people and the wealthy older residents of the nearby neighbourhood.’ The deadline is 1 August 2020 for this theme.
For the Winter issue, it is: ‘Loud music filled the room, making it hard to hear anything else.’ The deadline is 1 November 2020 for this theme.
They are open to all fiction genres. They also accept poetry and nonfiction. For nonfiction, they want critical essays about your favorite first line from a literary work.
Deadlines: See above
Length: 300-5,000 words for fiction; 500-800 words for nonfiction
Pay: $25-50 for fiction, $25 for nonfiction, $5-10 for poetry
Details here.

Eerie River Publishing: With Blood and Ash; It Calls From the Sea
They are reading fiction for two anthologies.
— With Blood and Ash: They want stories of Elemental Magic – earth, wind, fire, water and spirit. Dark versus light. Their guidelines say, “We are giving a lot of leeway for story building, but magic must play an integral part in your world and there must be a dark fantasy element. Create a fantasy world for this to all play out in, or build something in ours. The choice is yours. The only requirement is that you must feature elemental magic. 
Fae and other realms, magic and witches, dragons or orcs, all magical and fantastic creatures are welcome.” Stories should be 5,000-15,000 words, and the pay is CAD25. The deadline is 1 August 2020 for this theme.
— It Calls From the Sea: They want horror stories of the sea. 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. … Be it real or mythological creatures of lore that attacks, make our hearts race and our nightmares come alive. We also want it to be within our reality, so please keep your stories on our earth. If you are doing a future earth story, we would still like it within our relative timeline, so don’t go too far into the future.” Stories should be 2,000-8,000 words, and the pay is CAD10-20. The deadline is 15 September 2020 for this theme.
Deadlines: See above
Length: See above
Pay: See above
Details here.

Sub-Terrain Magazine: Isms
They accept fiction, creative nonfiction, commentary, social or otherwise, and poetry. For the Isms theme their guidelines say, “In a time of acute social activism, and some might say, division, issue #87 invites writers to ponder “isms.” Racism, classism, conservatism, pacifism, feminism, sexism, atheism, capitalism, dualism, fascism, neoliberalism, optimism, populism, etcetera.” Online submissions are charged, but there is no fee for mailed submissions.
Deadline: 7 August 2020
Length: Up to 3,000 words for fiction, up 4,000 words for creative non-fiction and social commentary
Pay: CAD0.10/word for prose up to CAD500, CAD50/poem
Details here.

The New Gothic Review
They are now open for submissions for their second issue. They want short stories that embrace and reimagine Gothic fiction for the 21st century. They want compelling plots with a strong literary bend; eerie atmosphere is key, and stories with Weird elements are welcome. They want some terror and horror, but this is not a horror fiction outlet. They don’t want stories that contain gruesome violence, gore, or explicit sexual content, fantasy, strong science fiction, or true crime stories.
Deadline: 15 August 2020
Length: 1,500-6,500 words
Pay: $30
Details here.

Consumed: Tales of the Wendigo
They want stories of the Wendigo. The point of view could be a person becoming the Wendigo, from a Wendigo, pursued by a Wendigo, or a witness to a Wendigo-esque situation unfolding. Submissions may cover cannibalism, lust, plague, war, anxiety, greed, power, or any topic a person or animal could become obsessed with. Submissions do not have to have characters turn into a literal Wendigo, nor do writers have to use the term Wendigo. Character(s) must go through some sort of a transformation due to the “hunger.” They just ask that authors use the core concept of the Wendigo as inspiration for their story.
Deadline: 15 August 2020
Length: 3,000-12,000 words
Pay: $20 for the first 3,000 words, half a cent per word after that
Details here.


The H G Wells Short Story Competition: Vision
This is a short story contest on the theme of ‘Vision’, of 1,500-5,000 words. There is no fee for those under 21 years.
Value: £1,000 for the Junior Award (under 21)
Deadline: 6 July 2020
Open for: All writers
Details here.

The 6th Singapore Poetry Contest: Singapore
This contest is for anyone who isn’t a Singapore citizen/permanent resident. Poems should contain the word ‘Singapore’ (or its variants) in some creative manner. Poems don’t have to be about Singapore; in fact, the organizers prefer that poems not be about Singapore. Submit up to three poems.
Value: SGD100, SGD50, SGD20; winners nominated for the Hawker Prize, worth SGD1,500
Deadline: 15 July 2020
Open for: Poets who are not citizens or permanent residents of Singapore
Details here.
(The page also has details of the Singapore Unbound Relief Fund for creative writers who are Singapore citizens or permanent residents, a no-strings-attached fund of $200, or SGD280).

Origami Poems Project: Kindness 2020 Contest
This is their third contest on the theme of Kindness. They want to read poems that give insight and perspective on the qualities that make us better companions to one another.
Value: $100
Deadline: 15 July 2020
Open for: All poets
Details here.

2020 ArabLit Story Prize
This is an award for the best short stories, in any genre, newly translated from Arabic into English. Translators must have rights to the work, and translations must have been previously unpublished. Stories will be judged primarily on the quality of the translated work as a thing-in-itself, although translators must also submit the Arabic original, as this must be a translation, not a loose adaptation nor a work written originally in English.
Value: $500, split between the author and translator
Deadline: 15 July 2020
Open for: All translators
Details here.
(Also see this link for the forthcoming ArabLit Quarterly issue with the Cats theme; the deadline for pitches is 20 July 2020.)

The McGraw Business Journalism Fellowship
The McGraw Fellowship provides editorial and financial support to journalists who need the time and resources to produce a significant investigative or enterprise story that provides fresh insight into an important business, financial or economic topic. They accept applications for in-depth text, video or audio pieces, and they encourage proposals that take advantage of more than one storytelling form to create a multimedia package. This is not a residency Fellowship. All Fellows work from their own offices. It is open to anyone with at least five years professional experience in journalism. Freelance journalists, as well as reporters and editors currently working at a news organization or a journalism non-profit, may apply. Applicants should submit a story proposal of no more than three pages. The applications are open twice annually.
Value: Grants of up to $15,000
Deadline: 17 July 2020 – “However, we will consider time-sensitive projects on a case-by-case basis outside of the deadline periods.”
Open for: Anyone with at least five years of experience in journalism
Details here.

Pop Up Projects: Difference
This is a short story contest for children’s fiction/poetry, for writers under 26 years. Each story will explore or touch on the theme of Difference. Stories can be inspired by the subject in any way – they might explore diversity or transformation, otherness or other worlds. They will be printed – and stories will be 10 pages long, between 750 and 3,000 words, professionally edited and art directed, and hand-printed in a special small print-run limited edition. Stories can be picture book text, prose fiction for any age up to YA, or poetry – a collection or one long poem. They will pick three winners from this public call; overall, 10 works will be published. Winners will receive a fee for their story, be matched with a published children’s illustrator, who will illustrate their story, and get time with a publishing editor and art director to perfect their story. It is unspecified whether this is writers around the globe, or for UK-based writers only.
Value: £500
Deadline: 30 July 2020
Open for: Writers under 26 years
Details here.

PEN/Jean Stein Grant for Literary Oral History
These grants are for literary works of non-fiction that use oral history to illuminate an event, individual, place, or movement. They are to help maintain or complete ongoing projects. Oral history must be a significant portion of the work and its research. Writers have to send in writing samples and transcripts as part of the application.   
Value: Two grants of $15,000 each (increased)
Deadline: 1 August 2020
Open for: Unspecified
Details here.

PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship
This is for an author of children’s or young-adult fiction. The fellowship is for helping writers whose work is of high literary caliber and is designed to assist a writer at a crucial moment in his or her career to complete a book-length fiction work-in-progress. Applicants must have already published one work for children or young adults that was warmly received by literary critics, but whose work has not yet attracted a broad readership. 
Value: $5,000
Deadline: 1 August 2020
Open for: Published YA/children’s writers (by a US trade publisher)
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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