Written by S. Kalekar January 4th, 2021

28 Themed Submission Calls for January 2021

There are 28 themed calls for fiction, nonfiction, and poetry in the 20 markets here. Some of the themes are: mermaids, lost civilizations, lesbian historic fiction, monsters, protest diaries, stories inspired by Jules Verne, parenting, engaging with the natural world, health, and (reimagined) Gothic fiction. All are paying markets (also see this list for more paying markets open in January). In addition there are themed contests listed at the end.


Mermaids Monthly
They want short and micro fiction, nonfiction, poetry, comics, and artwork on the mermaids theme. “Everything should in some way relate to merfolk. We are loose about how you want to define that, and we will consider other aquatic fantastical creatures to be on theme”, according to guidelines.  For nonfiction, they accept pitches as well as submissions. They also accept reprints.
Deadline: 9 January 2021
Length: Up to 5,000 words for fiction; poetry of any length
Pay: $0.10/word for short fiction and nonfiction, $50-100 for poems
Details here.

Planet Scumm: Snake Eyes
For this submission call, they want stories only by cisgender women
, transgender women, transgender men, non-binary people, and genderqueer people.The anthology theme is ‘Snake Eyes’.  They want hard sci-fi, soft sci-fi, speculative fiction, weird fiction, and slipstream.
Deadline: 10 January 2021
Length: 2,000-6,000 words (one story or a collection of flash stories)
Pay: $0.02/word
Details here.

The Other Stories Podcast: Lost Civilizations; Government Experiments; Newly Discovered Creatures
This is a horror fiction podcast by Hawk & Cleaver. Currently, they’re seeking work on three themes: Lost Civilizations; Government Experiments; and Newly Discovered Creatures. They ask you to submit work if it can terrify, scar, and haunt their audience. The link to download guidelines is on the submissions page. 
Deadlines: Lost Civilisations – 11th January; Government Experiments – 25th January; Newly Discovered Creatures – 8th February 2021
Length: Up to 2,000 words
Pay: $5
Details here.

This Ireland-based journal takes submissions of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction from all over the world. They publish work that engages with the natural world, and have a particular interest in work which encourages reflection on human interaction with plant and animal life, landscape and the self. They also accept translations. For nonfiction, they accept both completed work and pitches.
Deadline: 15 January 2021 for fiction and poetry; ongoing for nonfiction
Length: Up to 6,000 words for prose; up to 4 poems
Pay: €40/poem, €40/page of prose up to €120
Details here.

Women Artists Datebook: Activism and/or Healing
This is a call for submissions of poetry by all women and femmes (LBTQ2IAA) – they want work that promotes activism and/or healing. They can be in any style or language (please provide an English translation). They are also looking for artwork.
Deadline: 15 January 2020
Length: Up to 30 lines; send up to 4 poems
Pay: $70 for poetry; $70-200 for artwork
Details here (scroll down).

Alpennia: Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast Fiction Series
They want short stories in the lesbian historic fiction genre, to be produced in audio format for the podcast, as well as published in text on the website. The editors want to see actual historic culture and the plot and characters should be firmly rooted in that time and place. Stories must be set before 1900; the editors would like to see stories that reach beyond the popular settings of 19th century America and England. Romance is optional – meaning story lines focusing on the establishment of a new romantic relationship – and romance stories should have some other strong element in addition to the romance. Stories may include fantastic elements that are appropriate to the historic setting. For example, they can include fantastic or supernatural events or beings that people of that era considered to be real. Or stories may be modeled on the fantastic literature of a specific historic era and culture. No time-travel or past memories, erotica or tragic endings. 
Deadline: 31 January 2021
Length: Up to 5,000 words
Pay: $0.08/word
Details here.

Mysterion: Christian speculative fiction  
They want science fiction, fantasy and horror stories that engage meaningfully with Christian themes, characters or cosmology. The stories need not teach a moral or be close to an approved theological position. Nor do they need to be pro-Christian – see their detailed guidelines on the kind of work they see too often, and what they would like to see. They are especially interested in stories that show Christians from cultures beyond those of the United States, Canada, and Western Europe. They also accept translations and reprints, and art submissions. Art submissions are open year-round.
Deadline: 31 January 2021
Length: Up to 9,000 words
Pay: $0.08/word
Details here.

Room Magazine: Indigenous Brilliance
This is an international feminist magazine publishing work from marginalized genders, including women, trans men, Two Spirit, and non binary creatives. They publish fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and art. They’re reading for the Indigenous Brilliance issue. They have extensive guidelines, including, “This issue is to hold space for Indigenous writers to tell their stories. Indigenous is used to refer broadly to peoples of long settlement and connection to specific lands who have been adversely affected by incursions by industrial economies, displacement, and settlement of their traditional territories by others. We acknowledge this is not limited to Turtle Island and the America’s, and welcome Indigenous experiences from around the globe, who share histories of European colonialism, genocide, enslavement, subjugation, resistance, sovereignty and liberation.”
Deadline: 31 January 2021
Length: Up to 3,500 words for fiction and non-fiction; up to five poems
Pay: CAD50/page, up to CAD150
Details here and here.

The Alchemy Press Book of Horrors 3: A Miscellany of Monsters
This UK-based publisher wants stories for this monster-themed anthology. Their guidelines say, “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. They come from any place and time: from under the bed to the woodshed; from the icy wastes to the darkest jungles; from the depths of the ocean to outer space; from the past, the future, the now!
Many things. Any things. ….
This is a loosely themed anthology. Just use that word – monster – and run with it.” See guidelines for the kind of stories/themes they do not want to see.  Deadline: 31 January 2020
Length: 3,000-6,000 words
Pay: £0.01/word
Details here.

The New Gothic Review
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 Fiction and Folk Horror elements are welcome. They want some terror and horror, but this is not a horror fiction outlet. They don’t want stories written in Victorian Era prose (see guidelines and FAQ), or those containing gruesome violence, gore, or explicit sexual content, fantasy, strong science fiction, or true crime stories.
Deadline: 31 January 2021
Length: 1,500-6,000 words
Pay: $30
Details here.

Zoetic Press: NonBinary Review — Apocalypse; Industrial Revolution
They are reading fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry for two themed issues now: Apocalypse, and Industrial Revolution. They want writers to “explore each theme in any way that speaks to them: re-write a  familiar story from a new point of view, mash genres together, give us a personal essay about some aspect of our theme that has haunted you all  your life”, according to their guidelines. Each work must have a clear and obvious relation with the theme. They also accept artwork.
Deadlines: 1 February for Apocalypse; 1 May 2021 for Industrial Revolution
Length: Prose up to 3,000 words; poetry up to three pages
Pay: $10 for poetry; $0.01/word for prose
Details here.

B Cubed Press: Three themes
They are open for fiction, essays, and poetry submissions for three anthologies. They will also accept reprints.
Protest Diaries: “Stories from the front lines of revolutions throughout history.”
Alternative War: “War shapes the world through technology, boarders, and norms. What will come next?” Stories can take place anywhere in time and space.
Alternative Deathliness: “Death brings so many options” – this anthology will be a “fun filled romp into the concept and nature of Death.”

Deadline: 1 March 2021
Length: “Story length for our books average about 2200 words but have ranged from 100 to 7500 words. However, we only use one or two stories over 5000 words and our advice is to keep it under 5K, unless we communicate in advance.” 
Pay: $0.02/word + royalties
Details here.

Out There: Into the Queer New Yonder
They want fiction by queer YA authors, about queer teen protagonists – stories that are set in the future. This will be extremely competitive, as they are looking to fill two slots for the anthology via the open call. This anthology is open to young writers also (see guidelines). Stories do not have to be #ownvoices, nor do they have to contain romantic elements.
Deadline: 1 March 2021
Length: 4,000-8,000 words
Pay: $900 + royalties
Details here.

The Were-Traveler: My job is a Hellhole!
This is a call for fantasy, dark fantasy, horror, humor, and science fiction. Their guidelines say, “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.” They also accept drabbles and poetry. See the theme page for other upcoming calls that will open later in the year. 
Deadline: 31 March 2021
Length: Up to 2,500 words; poems up to 30 lines
Pay:  Up to $15
Details here and here.

Extraordinary Visions: Stories Inspired by Jules Verne
The North American Jules Verne Society is seeking short fiction and illustrations for its upcoming anthology. This is the first anthology of new fiction ever sponsored by the Society. They want short stories inspired by the writings of Jules Verne. Their guidelines say, “Your story may be set in any time or place. You may use characters from Verne’s novels (they’re all in the public domain) or make up your own. You need not write in Verne’s style. The connection between your story and at least one of Verne’s works must be obvious and significant.” They also accept reprints.
Deadline: 30 April 2021 (or until filled)
Length: 3,000-5,000 words
Pay: $0.02/word
Details here.

Midnight From Beyond the Stars
This is a project by Silver Shamrock Publishing. They want original alien horror stories with a The Thing/Alien/The Blob/Critters/Night of the Creeps kind of vibe.
Deadline: 30 April 2021
Length: 2,500-6,000 words
Pay: $0.06/word
Details here.

Horizons: Health; Mission/Go and Do Likewise
This is a Christian magazine. It is published by Presbyterian Women, Inc. for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). They seek articles, stories, and poems on specific themes. For their March/April 2021 issue, the theme is Health; for Summer, they want work on Mission/Go and Do Likewise. There are other themes listed, as well.
Deadlines: Unspecified
Length: 600-1,800 words for articles/stories
Pay: At least $50/page, depending on the time and research required
Details here (download submission guidelines), and here (themes – scroll down).

Motherwell: Home for the Holidays; Back to School and COVID-19; Essays on the parenting experience
They publish personal essays and features/perspective pieces, some of them themed, as well as work in alternate formats (like graphic memoir) on the parenting experience. For personal essays their guidelines say, “We are looking for evocative first-person narratives that have a unique focus, or take a novel angle, on a slice of the parenting experience. We are open to a range of styles and tones: the only requirement is that the essay works on its own terms—be it lyrical, humorous, research-oriented, etc—and conveys something fundamental about its writer. Up to 1,200 words. Completed essays only and please include word count.” Apart from general essays on parenting, they are also reading essays on two themes: Home for the Holidays; and Back to School and COVID-19. Some types of submissions/formats are unpaid (see guidelines).
Deadlines: Unspecified
Length: Up to 1,200 words for personal essays
Pay: Unspecified
Details here.

They are currently open for poetry and art submissions (not fiction). “Bracken is a literary magazine born of the love of the woods and its shadows. … We seek poetry, short fiction, and art that will root, tender and tough, in us”, according to guidelines. They consider any style of poetry, although they have a bias toward the lyrical. They look for natural-world, and especially arboreal, elements in poems.
Deadline: Unspecified
Length: Up to 4 poems
Pay: $30/poem
Details here and here.

The Pomegranate London: Artists, and more
This is a biannual printed art and literary magazine featuring short stories, poems, and essays on artists, and was founded in July 2020. It seeks to publish and promote innovative, fresh and experimental new work from established and emerging writers and artists from the UK and internationally. All submissions must feature an artist or an artist’s tool, creation or environment in some way. Artists include, but are not limited to: writers, painters, musicians, dancers, performing artists, actors, filmmakers, artistic directors, fashion designers, sculptors, photographers. They publish short stories, flash fiction, self-contained novel excerpts, and works in translation year round, as well as poetry, and some nonfiction.
Deadline: Ongoing
Length: Up to 4,000 words for prose; up to 4 poems
Pay: £30 per story/essay/poem. Each issue will also select a single poem, story, essay or artwork to receive £200.
Details here.


Neukom Institute Literary Arts Awards 
They have an award for playwrights, and other awards for writers of speculative fiction (which are not open yet). Playwrights have to write to a prompt: What does it mean to be a human in a computerized world?
Value: $5,000
Deadline: 15 January 2021
Open for: All playwrights
Details here (playwriting award) and here (all awards).

Walter Muir Whitehill Prize in Early American History
This prize is for an essay on early American history (up to 1825), not previously published, with preference being given to New England subjects. Essays should be 40-60 pages, and be mailed.
Value: $2,500
Deadline: 15 January 2021 (postmarked)
Open for: Unspecified
Details here

The Hillman Prize for Journalism
This is for journalists who pursue investigative reporting and deep storytelling in service of the common good. Recipients exemplify reportorial excellence, storytelling skill, and social justice impact. The categories are: Book (bound volumes and ebooks), Newspaper Journalism (story or series/in print or online), Magazine Journalism (story or series/in print or online), Broadcast Journalism (story/series/documentary that has aired on television or radio), Web Journalism (story/series or multimedia that did not appear in print), and Opinion & Analysis Journalism (any medium)– includes all types of advocacy, opinion, commentary and analysis, normally short-form and/or frequent, regardless of medium; open to newspaper and magazine columnists, TV and radio presenters, podcasters, blogs, and bloggers. The US prize is open to all journalists and subjects globally but the work must have been primarily accessible to a US audience; the Canadian prize, too, is open to all journalists and subjects globally but the work must have been primarily accessible to a Canadian audience, and must have been published in Canada.
Value: $5,000 each
Deadline: 15 January for Canadian, 30 January 2020 for US entries
Open for: Journalists
Details here
(They also have Labor and Workforce Reporting Grants – they accept pitches on a rolling basis, and grants are up to $5,000.)

The Nine Dots Prize
This is a prize for creative thinking that tackles contemporary societal issues. Entrants are asked to respond to a question in 3,000 words, and the winner will be asked to write a short book expanding on their ideas (the 3,000 words is to be an outline structure for their proposed book; they also want a justification statement of their ability to complete the book of 25,000-40,000 words in seven months). The aim of the Prize is to promote, encourage and engage innovative thinking to address problems facing the modern world. The name of the prize references the nine dots puzzle – a lateral thinking puzzle which can only be solved by thinking outside the box. The Nine Dots Prize question is: What does it mean to be young in an ageing world?
Value: $100,000
Deadline: 18 January 2021
Open for: All writers
Details here.

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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