Written by S. Kalekar August 7th, 2023

30 Themed Submission Calls and Contests for August 2023

These are themed submission calls and contests for fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Some of the calls are: subscribe; masks; graveyard boots; shopping mall horror; betrayed; reclamation; coastal new weird; comfort & joy; rip; Halloween; uncharted waters; and the midnight labyrinth.



Their tagline is, ‘Magazine of Thrilling Adventure and Daring Suspense’. They have detailed guidelines about the kind of stories they want; apart from Weird Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Horror, some of the sub-genres are Monstergirls, Raygun Romance, Radium Adventures, Sword & Planet, Space Cops, Lost World, Pre-Historic/Antiquity, Occult Detective/Mystery, Mad Science, and Picaresque Adventure. They will close soon for submissions.
Deadline: 7th August 2023
Length: 2,000-7,500 words (can take longer – see guidelines)
Pay: $0.0125 (one and a quarter cents) per word
Details here.

The Suburban Review: Subscribe

This Australian magazine is reading submissions of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, comics, and art on the ‘Subscribe’ theme – “With 2023 now halfway behind us, there’s no better time to take stock of your subscriptions. You might feel called to reshuffle your social life, revolutionise your political ideals, launch a local tabloid, or at least clear out those pesky emails that have been clogging up your spam folder. For our next issue, #31 SUBSCRIBE, The Suburban Review wants to know what compels you to rush to the mailbox, turn on your notifications, or put your money on the line.
Send us binge-worthy fiction, literary essays that are bound to spark a cult following, and poems that’ll have us signing on for a sequel. We want visual art inspired by your neglected collection of Y2K Dolly mags (you knew they’d come in handy one day!) and comics that persuade the world to join your movement.” There are two submission categories, for Australian residents and for overseas contributors.
Deadline: 9 August 2023 (11:59 p.m. AEDT)
Length: 500-2,500 words for prose, up to 3 poems
Pay: AUD150-275 for prose; AUD125-275 for poetry
Details here and here.

Yolk Magazine: Solastalgia
This magazine accepts work from Canadian writers only for their print issues, and by international contributors for online work (see guidelines); they want fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and art. The theme for issue 3.2 is Solastalgia: “Tightening at the smell of smoke. Recoiling at the sight of receding glaciers. Close the news app. Shudder in a foreign home. I’m sorry for the heat. I’m sorry for the mercury. This is a new kind of grief, with a nascent voice. Speak to it.” And, “‍During the submission window for 3.2, we kindly ask those submitting to print to include ‘3.2 Print Publication Submission’ in the subject line of your email, while international contributors should include ‘Digital Publication Submission’.”
Deadline: 14 August 2023
Length: Up to 4,000 words for prose, up to 3 poems
Pay: CAD30/page, up to CAD300 for print; CAD100 for online
Details here.

(Another project that prefers to accept work from British Columbia writers, but will consider submissions from all Canadian writers, is the Red eyes and tired lungs anthology. They want fiction, nonfiction, and poetry inspired by/a response to the wildfires in British Columbia. “We also want stories for, about, or by those affected by the wildfires. Poems, flash fiction, short stories, science fiction, fantasy, romance, literary, contemporary, non-fiction, and more.” Send up to 5 poems, or up to 5,000 words for prose; pay is $5-20, or profit share; the deadline is 15 September 2023, or until filled; details here.)

Hawk and Cleaver: The Other Stories Podcast
Hawk and Cleaver publishes horror, sci-fi, and thriller fiction on their podcast, The Other Stories. They want tales that terrify, scar and haunt. They have listed the themes for 2023 on their website; these include: Masks II (deadline 19 August); Fame (deadline 16 September); Crime II (deadline 14 October 2023). They have other themes listed too, for later in the year.
Deadlines: See above
Length: Up to 2,000 words
Pay: £15
Details here (click on submission form for length and payment details).

The Off-Season: An Anthology of Coastal New Weird
They want “disquieting and disturbing New Weird horror set in landscapes and communities on the edge of the sea. These coastal stories defamiliarize the ordinary, evoke dread even in the daylight, and haunt like half-remembered nightmares. Think ocean-loving cults, crumbling seaside mansions, empty resort towns, strange fisherwomen, beachside arcades, eerie lighthouses, literal tourist traps, jellyfish swarms, red tides, oil spills, intertidal zones, salt marshes, gaudy luxury hotels reclaimed by sea,” and more. Also, “New Weird is a subgenre of horror-fantasy that slides along the margins of other speculative fiction genres, subverts old tropes and conventions, and/or plays with form, style, and ideas.”
Deadline: 28 August 2023
Length: 2,000-4,000 words
Pay: $0.05/word
Details here.

Jolly Horror Press: Graveyard Boots
This is a fiction anthology with Old West horror themes. “The Old West. Lawless. Filthy. Challenges were numerous. Justice was haphazard. One could die from a gunshot, a snakebite, a disease, or any number of reasons. It was not a place for the weak of heart. And that was just the wild west all by itself. For “Graveyard Boots,” we seek stories that add creatures, gunslingers, ghouls, ill omens, bad luck, evil minds, monsters and more to the already desolate landscape and ghost towns. Yet there was still humor back in those days of yore, and with “Graveyard Boots,” stories with humor will give you a leg up.”
Deadline: 31 August 2023, or until filled
Length: 2,500-5,500 words
Pay: Half a cent per word
Details here.

From Beyond Press: Escalators to Hell – Shopping Mall Horrors
This is a shopping mall horror and dark sci-fi anthology. “Submitted stories should have some horror elements, though the tone could be horrific, serious, campy, awe-inspiring, cozy, tragic, or humorous, etc. However, the story has to be set in a mall, or the concept of a mall has to be important to the plot. Stories could take place in the recent past (1950s onward), in a futuristic mall, or in the present, such as a neo-gothic tale set in abandoned or declining malls. The stories can be located anywhere in the world. … We are eager to read diverse takes on the “shopping mall.” The shopping mall should not be incidental to your story; stories that make thoughtful, innovative use of the elements unique to malls as either a physical place or an abstract concept are more likely to be accepted.”
Deadline: 31 August 2023
Length: 1,000-5,000 words
Pay: $0.05/word
Details here.

Cursed Morsels Press: Why Didn’t You Just Leave
Their About page says, Cursed Morsels Press “specializes in Weird, queer, often splattery horror with an anti-capitalist and anti-fascist spirit.” For this anthology, they want horror stories “that focus on all the possible reasons why people don’t just leave haunted places – including finances, family, legal restrictions, health, etc.
Stories about “ordinary” people and places (including apartments, workplaces, schools, military bases, hospitals, churches, etc.)  as well as extraordinary situations.”
Deadline: 31 August 2023
Length: 500-5,000 words
Pay: $0.10/word
Details here and here.
(They also have a horror fiction collection call that will open later in the year, on their guidelines page.)

Inkd Publishing: Hidden Villains – Betrayed
This is a fiction anthology. They want “Bold, imaginative fantasy, horror, and sci-fi sculpted to thrill and entertain readers with the bizarre or delve into the shadows. Finish it off with a twist of betrayal! Betrayed- double-cross, fail, deceive, cheat, sell-out, let down, stitch up, rat out, turn traitor, rat on, expose, reveal, lay bare, stab in the back. There is no restriction as to how you incorporate the theme into your story as long as the genre falls within Speculative Fiction”.
Deadline: 31 August 2023
Length: 2,000-8,000 words
Pay: $0.02/word + royalty share (please see their note on print contributor copies for international writers)
Details here.

New Smut Project: Erato II
They want flash fiction and prose poetry for this anthology. “Send us your most seductive flash fiction and prose poetry! We’re seeking super short writing in any subgenre, featuring characters of any and every orientation and gender, so long as they’re 18+ and express their consent to all erotic activities. Whether they find pleasure through BDSM, fetish, or vanilla encounters; in long-term romances or one-night stands; with one person, a roomful of people, or just themselves, it’s all good. …Usually at least half the stories in our anthologies feature characters who are LGBTQIA+, including the ace spectrum.” Their website says their project name is “kind of funny…for people very serious about quality, diverse erotica”.
Deadline: 31 August 2023
Length: Up to 1,500 words
Pay: $25-45
Details here.

Necronomi Romcom Anthology
This is a cosmic romance fiction and poetry anthology. “Just because the cosmic flirts with disaster doesn’t mean it can’t flirt with other things! In this anthology, we’re looking for cosmic tales with a light romantic twist. Think couples visiting Leng on blind dates and Carcosa on their honeymoons, Valentine’s Day roses tinted with the Color Out of Space, and brains in jars finding everlasting love with Mi-go. Think the lost pages of the Necronomicon written in sonnet form, Shoggoths shape-changing to impress the objects of their affection, and Nyarlathotep crushing on someone while Azathoth is piping a love song. Send us your best blend of cosmic and romance… just no erotica. Satire is great, and a little bit of dark is always welcome—after all, just because depressed, angry Deep Ones meet cute too doesn’t mean it’s all a bed of roses. That said? We look forward to reading your most imaginative comic romance fantasies!”
Deadline: 31 August 2023
Length: 1,000-6,000 words for fiction
Pay: $5 per poem, $0.01/word for fiction
Details here.

Apparition Lit: Reclamation
Apparition Lit is a quarterly speculative fiction and poetry magazine. “Speculative fiction is weird, almost unclassifiable. It’s fantasy, sci-fi, horror, and literary.” They will be reading submissions on the ‘Reclamation’ theme during the last two weeks in August 2023 (August 15-31st) by all writers; also see the note about their equity initiative in the guidelines here (scroll down) – “Our submission window will remain open for an additional week each quarter for writers who identify as BIPOC and self-identify in their cover letter.
We will also accept simultaneous submissions from writers who identify as BIPOC or LGBTQIA+. Please just note how you identify in your cover letter, that it is a simultaneous submission.”
Reading period: 15-31 August for all writers; an additional week for BIPOC writers (see guidelines)
Length: 1,000-5,000 words for fiction, up to 5 poems
Pay: $0.05/word for fiction, and $50/poem
Details here and here.
(They also publish flash fiction online on monthly prompts, during the first fortnight of every month.)

Heartlines Spec
This is a Canadian online and print magazine, and they have published one issue so far. Please note, they will publish at least 50 percent Canadian content in each issue. “We’re looking for short fiction and poetry focused on long-term relationships: platonic, romantic, or familial. We don’t want the blaze of new love or the obsession of a new friend. We want pieces that show that comfort that develops when people know each other for years.
Give us deep space, dusty frontiers, or dreamy fantasy. We want stories and poetry with strong, confident relationships amid all the sci-fi/fantasy. While we are primarily looking for stories with happy endings (yeah, yeah), we also want endings that are earned. If things get a little teary or gory, that’s ok.
We are especially interested in stories featuring queer platonic relationships, ace/aro love stories, and polycules.”
Reading period: 24-31 August 2023 for equity-deserving groups, 1-30 September for all writers
Length: 1,000-3,500 words for fiction, or up to 5 poems
Pay: CAD0.08/word for fiction and CAD60/poem
Details here.

Parabola: Comfort & Joy
Parabola is a quarterly journal that explores the quest for meaning as it is expressed in the world’s myths, symbols, and religious traditions, with particular emphasis on the relationship between this store of wisdom and our modern life. “We look for lively, penetrating material unencumbered by jargon or academic argument. We prefer well-researched, objective, and unsentimental pieces that are grounded in one or more religious or cultural tradition; articles that focus on dreams, visions, or other very personal experiences are unlikely to be accepted.” They publish articles and translations (1,000-3,000 words), book reviews (500 words), retellings of traditional stories (500-1,500 words), forum contributions (up to 500 words), and poetry (up to 5 poems). The theme for their next issue, i.e. Winter 2023/24, is ‘Comfort & Joy’.
Deadline: 1 September 2023
Length: See above
Pay: Unspecified
Details here.

The Victorian Writer: Rip
This is the magazine of Writers Victoria, an Australia-based organization that supports writers. The theme is ‘Rip’. They publish articles/writing of 600 words and 1,200 words in the print edition with particular interest in the craft of writing and the writing life. They also publish poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.
Deadline: 4 September 2023
Length: 600-1,200 words for articles; unspecified for other genres
Pay: AUD70 for poems, and AUD100-200 for articles/writing
Details here and here.
(They are also accepting submissions for contests in various genres, for Australians – see their Submittable page.)

Book Worms: Halloween
This is a mail-order only horror zine. They want horror fiction and nonfiction on the Halloween theme. Please note, submissions have to be mailed.
Deadline: 15 September 2023
Length: Up to 1,500 words
Pay: $0.08/word
Details here.

JayHenge Publishing: Three themes
They want submissions for three speculative fiction anthologies.

— Sunshine Superhighway: Solar Sailings: “A new anthology in the spirit of looking forward with a positive outlook. Solarpunk, cyberpunk, other planets, alternate worlds that might be nearly lost through our own hubris; futuristic fantasy and speculative-fiction stories of all kinds that are hopeful and leave us with the idea that despite the doom and gloom in the universe, things can possibly work out if we use TECHNOLOGY to strive to make life better, even if in a small way.” Deadline 31 December 2023.

— The Kafka Protocol & the Burden of Compliance: “Do you have a story to tell about the struggles of navigating an endless sea of paperwork, the tedium and surrealism of bureaucratic procedures, the tyranny of faceless institutions, or some other aspect of the absurdity of Kafka-esque politics? We are excited to read your speculative fiction (SFF+) submissions and to bring together a collection of stories that will transport readers to a world that is both bizarre and thought-provoking.” Deadline: Until filled

— The Pelagic Zone: Uncharted Waters:
“This planet (and surely others like it) are mostly covered in water, and while we know a bit about life there, what mysteries might still lie far down within its depths? From gripping narratives that explore the ocean, the discovery of lost civilizations, or the dangers of creating underwater colonies, we are seeking stories that examine those worlds, and transport readers to a place that is both familiar and fantastical. Send us your speculative fiction (SFF+) tales of the underwater!” Deadline: Until filled
Deadlines (for all JayHenge anthologies): See above
Length: Up to 15,000 words (can publish longer – see guidelines)
Pay: $5 per 1,000 words
Details here and here.

Grendel Press: Uncanny & Unearthly Tales (Vol 2) – The Midnight Labyrinth
This is a fiction anthology. The general submission guidelines for the press say they publish stories of dark fantasy, horror, and romance. For this anthology, “Each story should feature a tale delivered from a character who stepped through a door and found themselves someplace unexpected. On their journey, they will notice a book called Midnight Labyrinth. No requirement to read or interact with it; it just needs to appear. Genre-bending is welcome! Sci-fi, steampunk, horror, fantasy, etc. … This anthology is an exploration of PLACE and FANTASY, so the MC in the story needs to actually find themselves in a new world/city/place that they’ve either never been before or haven’t been for a long time.”
Deadline: 31 December 2023
Length: 2,500-7,000 words
Pay: $0.05/word
Details here and here.


Canongate Books: The Nan Shepherd Prize for Nature Writing
This is for unpublished UK and Ireland based writers who consider themselves underrepresented in nature writing. Writers need to send a sample chapter/chapters of up to 7,000 words as part of the submission.
Value: A publishing contract with £10,000 advance, editorial mentoring, literary representation
Deadline: 25 August 2023
Open for: UK and Ireland based writers
Details here and here

The SciFedia Award: Dyson Sphere
SciFidea is a sci-fi brand launched in Singapore. For this award, they want science fiction novels of 30,000-100,000 words based on the Dyson Sphere. “The submitted works should be within the realm of science fiction, and must show a new worldview that conforms with scientific logic. The work involves both the technical setting of the Dyson Sphere (overall structure, the scale and the size, construction materials and methods, etc.) and the ecological environment of the internal civilization (gravity changes, alternation of day and night, species distribution, etc.).It needs to conform to the concepts and characteristics of Dyson Sphere scientific theory, including the uses, size, structure of a Dyson sphere and other related basic settings, and reflect and expand them in the story. There will be 10 awards; apart from a cash advance against royalties, “All award-winning works will be recommended to be published and adapted to other art forms/media (such as animation or movie); some outstanding works will be translated into other languages and be showcased in foreign countries.” Please note, “If your work is shortlisted, you will be required to allow us to make it publicly and freely available on our website for a year. Those whose stories make the shortlist but don’t win will each receive US$2,000.” Please carefully read their terms, including the publication rights to winners’ works on the guidelines page and FAQ.
Value: $20,000 each for 10 winners; $2,000 each for shortlisted works
Deadline: 31 August 2023
Open for: All writers, barring submission editors (see FAQ)
Details here.

Nat 1 Publishing and Audience Askew Literary Journal: Nat 1 $h!TpOsT Shorts
They want stories of 3,000 words that use the covers on their website as prompts; they have “six horribly made covers that you would expect from an over-enthusiastic self-publishing author who insists that their skills with photoshop is all they need in the world. Well, that and a little bit of written content. Minor. How does this involve you? We need the questionable content to go with them! …we will be taking submissions for novelettes that use the covers as the prompts. While we anticipate and desire the outrageous, eyebrow-raising, chaos that these are sure to prompt, we also want them to be polished. That means put effort into the stories, give them a semblance of making sense, read, reread, and edit.; … the best submission for each cover will be fully published (don’t worry, while your name will be on the sales page, it will remain “Some Author” on the cover itself…. unless you really want it there.) Not only will you receive royalties, but you’ll also receive $25 (because lets face it, the royalties probably won’t be huge. These are shitpost covers, after all!).” And, “It must be previously unpublished (personal blogs, websites, Patreon, Reddit, etc. are okay)”.
Value: $25
Deadline: 31 August 2023
Open for: All writers
Details here and here.

The Val Wood Prize 2023
They want a short story of up to 1,500 words. Their guidelines say, “This year’s competition celebrates 30 years since the release of Val Wood’s award-winning debut, The Hungry Tide. We are looking to receive entries that focus on the ebb and flow of the ocean and the rivers that lead to it, as The Tide itself rolls in as the central focus of this year’s competition. We’re looking for entries packed with originality and creativity that paint a picture and take the reader on a memorable journey. The story can cover any genre as long as it is not unnecessarily violent or gruesome.” The competition is open to anyone over 16 years of age.
Value: £100
Deadline: 31 August 2023
Open for: All writers
Details here.

Preservation Foundation Contest: Biographical non-fiction
This is an international contest for unpublished writers (see guidelines). Their upcoming deadline is for the biographical non-fiction category: “A biographical entry must be a true story of an individual(s) known to the author personally–not a fictional or historical character.  Autobiography, of course, must be a true story about the author’s life, the whole or an episode. Biographical stories, especially those from older people, or about them by children and grandchildren, are especially appropriate for our mission–to “preserve the extraordinary stories of  ‘ordinary’ people.” ”
Entries should be 1,000-5,000 words. They want all entries, regardless of whether or not they win, to be on their website as long as the Foundation exists (see guidelines). Also see contests in other genres, which will open for submissions later.
Value: $200, $100
Deadline: 31 August 2023
Open for: Unpublished writers
Details here.

Gulf Coast: The Toni Beauchamp Prize in Critical Art Writing
This prize is for critical writing on art, unpublished or published, of up to 1,500 words. Their guidelines say, “The Beauchamp Prize will consider submissions of work that have been written (or published) within the last year. A variety of creative approaches and formats to writing on the visual arts are encouraged, and can include thematic essays, exhibition reviews, and scholarly essays.”
Value: $3,000; two prizes of $1,000 each
Deadline: 31 August 2023
Open for: All writers
Details here and here. (Gulf Coast has other opportunities too, which have entry fees.)

The Academy for Teachers – Stories Out of School Flash Fiction Contest
They want honest, unsentimental stories, of 6-749 words, about teachers and schools. The contest is open to all writers, whether or not they are a teacher. The story’s protagonist or narrator must be a K-12 teacher. Sentimentality is discouraged and education jargon is forbidden. Apart from a cash prize, the writer receives publication in A Public Space.
value: $1,000
Deadline: 1 September 2023
Details here and here.

American-Scandinavian Foundation Translation Awards
The American-Scandinavian Foundation annually awards translation prizes for outstanding translations of poetry, fiction, drama, or literary prose written by a Scandinavian author born after 1900. The Leif and Inger Sjöberg Award is for those whose translations from a Nordic language have not been previously published. There is also the Nadia Christensen Prize, the Wigeland Prize (this is for the best translation by a Norwegian), and the Inger and Jens Bruun Translation Prize, which recognizes the best Danish translation. The application includes 25-50 pages of prose or 15-25 pages of poetry.
Value: $2,500 (Nadia Christensen Prize); $2,000 (Leif and Inger Sjöberg Award); $2,000 (Wigeland Prize), $2,000 (The Inger and Jens Bruun Translation Prize)
Deadline: 1 September 2023
Open for: Unspecified
Details here.

On the Premises: Picture This

They want a story of 1,000-5,000 words based on a visual prompt on their website. 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: $250, $200, $150, $75
Deadline: 1 September 2023
Open for: All writers
Details here and here.

Bio: S. Kalekar is the pseudonym of a regular contributor to this magazine. She can be reached here.


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