Written by S. Kalekar June 5th, 2023

32 Themed Submissions Calls for June 2023

These are submission calls and contests for fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Some of the call themes are: Guiding Sparks Between the Words – How Stories Illuminate the World Around Us; Trauma; Fracture; Cosmos; Space Brides, LLC; Open All Night; Pentacles; and Shadows on the Water.


Apparition Lit: Creature
Apparition Lit is a quarterly speculative fiction and poetry magazine. They’re reading submissions from BIPOC writers only, currently. “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.”
Deadline: 7 June 2023 for writers who self-identify as BIPOC in their cover letter (general submissions are closed)
Length: 1,000-5,000 words for fiction, up to 5 poems
Pay: $0.05/word for fiction, $50/poem
Details here and here.
Apparition Lit also publish flash fiction online on monthly prompts, during the first fortnight of every month.

Cast of Wonders: Banned Books Week 2023 – Guiding Sparks Between the Words: How Stories Illuminate the World Around Us

Cast of Wonders is a project by Escape Artists, and publishes young adult fantasy, science fiction, and horror in podcast and online format. They welcome work by young writers (writers under 18) during all their submission periods. They also accept translations and reprints. They have extensive general submission as well as theme submission guidelines, please read these carefully. Their submission portal has opened for themed fiction submissions now, and has details on the Banned Books Week theme for 2023, which is ‘Guiding Sparks Between the Words: How Stories Illuminate the World Around Us’. “In times of conflict, division and change, it is more important than ever to build bridges of understanding. We most commonly encounter the stories of others through news articles or in classrooms, kept at a scholarly or journalistic distance and often biased to favour privileged perspectives. Our own truths may also remain unvoiced and unknown, misunderstood even by those around us.
When it comes to illuminating these truths, stories have a key part to play: they help us to learn and appreciate things from perspectives we might never otherwise consider, and allow us to reshape our own experiences within the transformative lens of fiction. When we share our stories, we guide sparks of kinship and understanding, using narrative and emotion to help others experience a small window into another’s reality. For Banned Books Week 2023, we want to see stories of discovery, of learning, of misconceptions unraveled, and how stories can serve as a guiding light to help us understand a new perspective, or to teach us valuable lessons when all other methods fail us. … We aim for a 12-17 age range: that means sophisticated, non-condescending stories with wide appeal, and without gratuitous or explicit sex, violence, or pervasive obscene language.”
Deadline: 14 June 2023 (see Tweet here and schedule here)
Length: Prefer up to 5,000 words, can accept up to 6,000 words; also welcomes flash under 1.5k words
Pay: $0.08/word
Details here (general guidelines), here (submission portal with theme details), and here (schedule).

Eye to the Telescope: Trauma
This is a speculative poetry magazine and they want submissions on the Trauma theme. They have detailed guidelines, including, “I am interested in poems that enter the screams, give voice to the pain, but don’t take the easy way out by wallowing in despair. Show me hope beyond trauma so that another on the path may follow your light out. Send me poems on the last survivor of an alien race, healing by preserving their peoples’ culture; soldiers freeing their PTSD-ravaged minds with an inhibitor chip; the priest who finds a way to contact God via a spaceship he built or a hallucinogenic tincture made by a witch because his wife passed.”
Deadline: 15 June 2023
Length: Up to 3 poems
Pay: $0.04/word, up to $25
Details here.

Neon Hemlock Press: Baffling Magazine
This is a quarterly online magazine of flash fiction. “We are looking for speculative stories that explore science fiction, fantasy, and horror with a queer bent. We want queer stories and we want trans stories and we want aro/ace stories. We want indefinable stories. We welcome weird, slipstream, and interstitial writing.” They are reading submissions on the theme of “quiet stories” as well as unthemed speculative fiction.
Deadline: 15 June 2023
Length: Up to 1,200 words
Pay: $0.08/word
Details here.

The Saltbush Review: Fracture
This is an Australian magazine and they accept submissions of literary fiction (including flash), poetry, creative nonfiction, and works that challenge genre boundaries. They are currently reading submissions on the ‘Fracture’ theme. Creative interpretations of the theme are welcome. “Submissions are open to all, but we particularly welcome work from South Australian and regional writers, emerging writers, First Nations and POC writers, the LGBTQI+ community, and writers with a disability.”
Deadline: 16 June 2023
Length: Up to 3,000 words
Pay: AUD$150 for fiction and nonfiction; AUD$100 per poem or piece of flash fiction
Details here.

Tenebrous Press: Thank You For Joining The Algorithm
They want fiction (also accept reprints), nonfiction, poetry & weird forms, comics, and art. This “is a special edition dark speculative fiction magazine concerning humanity’s rage against the devaluing of the light. All proceeds from the sale of this publication…will be donated to organizations that fight for the rights of human artists and pursue the regulation and limitation of machine-generation in the arts. We are looking for dark speculative fiction stories, poetry, comics, illustrations, haikus, etc. at the meeting point between humanity and technology.” Some of the themes are humanism, machine-generation dangers, encroaching machine rule, algorithm overload, and the chaotic crash point between the human mind and machine limitations. The genres they will accept are Weird Horror, Dark SF, Tech-Horror, Post-Apoc, Eco, Cosmic, Slipstream, and Dark Lit. Submission is via Google forms; please be sure to submit via the correct form.
Deadline: 20 June 2023
Length: Up to 3,500 words for fiction, 1,000-2,000 words for nonfiction, up to 40 lines for poetry, 3 pages for other
Pay: $0.03/word for fiction, $50 for nonfiction, $25 for poetry
Details here.

Antithesis Journal: Cosmos

This is an Australian journal, affiliated with The University of Melbourne. For their next print issue, they want fiction, nonfiction, personal essays, scholarly research articles, poetry, and art submissions on the ‘Cosmos’ theme. They have detailed guidelines, including, “Wrapped in the darkness of the night for centuries, the stars above shone brightly. What was this blanket covering the horizon? It was everything, from the first millisecond of existence. It was cosmos. It instils wonder, curiosity, reverence and terror.
How could it be so many things to so many people? What does it mean to you? Do you embrace the idea of the cosmos, wanting to seek out the unknown? Or does it spark reflection within yourself as you are faced with its endless expanse? Can the cosmos be discovered through rigorous scientific methodology or careful spiritual reflection?” They also want unthemed submissions for their blog, and these are unpaid.
Deadline: 25 June 2023
Length: Creative prose up to 3,000 words; scholarly prose up to 7,500 words; poetry up to 100 lines
Pay: AUD50 for print journal
Details here and here.

Wolfsinger Publications: Space Brides, LLC
This is a mail order spouse anthology, but in space. They have detailed guidelines. These stories should be primarily Romance/Science Fiction in which Mystery, Paranormal, Fantasy, or Western elements can be included. Stories may contain anything from humor to drama. Stories have to be PG13.
Deadline: 30 June 2023
Length: 3,000-7,000 words (see guidelines)
Pay: $15 + royalties
Details here.

DBS Press: Dracula Beyond Stoker – Lucy Westenra/Bloofer Lady
Dracula Beyond Stoker publishes fiction issues (with some poetry) featuring characters and more from Bram Stoker’s Dracula. You can read about them here. For the Lucy Westenra theme, they say, “What’s your take on Miss Lucy? Innocent and pure? Promiscuous Tease? How about her time as the Bloofer Lady? You can romance us or scare us, just be sure to intrigue us.” And, “We like stories that feel like they could be canon, but we also enjoy fun alternate takes and pastiche. Prequels, sequels, updates, divergent timelines – unleash your creative powers of darkness and show us something exciting.” Also, “Poetry will be considered, but is not necessarily sought”.
Deadline: 30 June 2023
Length: 1,500-5,000 words
Pay: $0.05/word
Details here.

Atomic Carnival: Two anthologies
They are reading submissions for two anthologies: Greater Than His Nature, and Open All Night.
“For Greater Than His Nature, I’m looking for short stories based around the theme of “mad science.” Cackling Victorian scientists, giant atomic monsters, and Cronenbergian body horror are all fair game. I’m even open to the right piece of nonfiction for this one.

I’m especially interested to include stories from disabled and chronically ill writers.”
“For Open All Night, I want horror and fantasy (and all and any assorted sub- and cross-genres) based around the theme of “open all night.” While not strictly necessary, I’ll definitely be looking for retail and service industry-based stories. Give me graveyard shifts, overnight inventories gone bad, and haunted diners, shit so sordid and spooky that even the most seasoned of waitresses can’t handle what’s happening.
No nonfiction here, but if you want to deviate from the above genres, a little or a lot, that’s cool with me.”
The Kickstarter for both anthologies has been funded.
Deadline: 30 June 2023 for both anthologies
Length: Up to 10,000 words (2,000-6,000 words preferred)
Pay: $0.03/word (more if Kickstarter hits stretch goals)
Details here.

Eerie River Publishing: Pentacles
They want horror fiction themed around tarot cards; for the current period, they want submissions on the Pentacles theme. “Does the story have to be about Tarot Cards… NO. … We are looking for the theme to be the element, not necessarily the card itself, although we would love to read that as well.” They have upcoming submission windows for other tarot cards, as well.
Deadline: 30 June 2023 (for non-members)
Length: 1,500-7,000 words
Pay: CAD0.01/word
Details here.

Sinister Smile Press: If I Die Before I Wake – Tales of Death and Destruction
This is a horror anthology series. For this one, they want stories of death and destruction.
Deadline: 30 June 2023
Length: 4,000-10,000 words
Pay: $30-60
Details here.

NPQ Magazine: Climate Fiction
Their website says, “NPQ uses a range of media channels to help advance critical conversations that can refine nonprofit and social movement policy and practice.” They publish research-based articles. They have issued a special fiction call for NPQ Magazine; “we’re looking for short climate fiction stories that spark imaginative visions of the future. Particularly, we want to see writing that is largely speculative in nature but scientifically grounded. In the midst of our climate crisis reshaping the way people live, our fall 2023 issue focuses on the question, Where do we find/how do we create home in the future? As such, we are interested in stories that speak to our intersectional lived experiences in the context of climate change and how these might play out, evolve, or even completely transform in your visionary future world. Stories can be utopian and apocalyptic or somewhere in between.”
Deadline: 30 June 2023
Length: Up to 2,000 words
Pay: They “will pay $500 for substantive science-grounded stories and $300 for short stories around 500 words.”
Details here.

Thema: The Magic of Light and Shadow

They publish three themed issues a year. They accept short stories, essays, poetry, and art. Their upcoming theme is The Magic of Light and Shadow, and the deadline is 1 July 2023; they have other themes too, with later deadlines. Only writers outside of the US can submit by email, US-based writers have to post their submissions.
Deadline: 1 July 2023
Length: Up to 20 pages for fiction, up to 3 poems
Pay: $10-25
Details here.

Flame Tree Publishing: Learning to be Human
This is a fiction anthology – they want science fiction, folklore, and myth stories. “Machine learning, AI and large language models tell us that the future is with us now. This thrilling collection of science fiction stories gathers the fears and opportunities prompted by responsive chatbots to reveal the struggles of the Machine Age, affecting both humanity and artificial intelligence. With stories from open submissions and classic tales we examine the interplay between automation, humankind, and what it is to be human. The stories encourage us to think of human and machine development in the same terms: what is it like to emerge from childhood as an adult? What was it like to be at the mercy of elemental forces in ancient times? Are we truly in control of our climate now? Are machines the future, or a dangerous distraction? Are thinking machines inevitable?” They also accept reprints.
Deadline: 2 July 2023
Length: 2,000-4,000 words (see guidelines)
Pay: $0.08/word
Details here.

Flame Tree Publishing: Shadows on the Water
This is a fiction anthology – they want dark fantasy, folklore, and myth. “A wonderful new book with short stories from open submissions and a curated selection of ancient myths and folk tales from Polynesia, Scotland, the Ancient Greeks and tales from the high sea. The mysteries of the rivers, the secrets of the lochs, the whispers across the vast stretches of the ocean, there are so many stories from the beginnings of civilisation, through myth and folklore, to the dark fantasies, and supernatural tales of the modern storyteller. The treasures under the sea, the siren call of the mermaid, the liberating spirits of the fountains and waterfalls, all feature here alongside iconic stories of creation, ancestor worship and the seductive shadows across the waters of life.” They also accept reprints.
Deadline: 2 July 2023
Length: 2,000-4,000 words (see guidelines)
Pay: $0.08/word
Details here.

Griffith Review: Animal Magic
Griffith Review is an Australian literary and current affairs journal; they mostly publish work of Australian writers, and some work by international writers. They’re currently accepting non-fiction submissions only, on the ‘Animal Magic’ theme. They have detailed guidelines, including, “Whether it’s man’s best friend or the king of the jungle, animals occupy a central place in our social, emotional and cultural lives. … This edition of Griffith Review visits habitats near and far, wild and domestic – the backyard and the dog park, the jungle and the desert, the field and the farm – to examine our complex interactions with creatures furry or scaled, four-legged or eight-limbed, winged or feathered.” They want complete submissions only, no pitches.
Deadline: 9 July 2023
Length: Up to 4,000 words
Pay: Unspecified
Details here.
(Griffith Review will issue a separate call for poetry on this theme at a later date.
And two other magazines accepting unthemed nonfiction are TOLKA Journal, pays €500, open till 11 June 2023, details here and here; and Electric Literature, pays $100, deadline 15 June or until filled, details here.)

FIYAH: Belonging
They publish speculative fiction by Black writers of the African Diaspora. They also publish nonfiction and poetry. They are reading submissions on the ‘Belonging’ theme, in collaboration with the Othering and Belonging Institute (OBI) at UC Berkeley. “For this Belonging issue, we are looking for stories highlighting why, where, and how Black folks belong across the diaspora and multiverse. Imagine a moment in time or another universe where Black people aren’t forced to question our right to be ourselves. We want to see courageous narratives about forging new relationships for the betterment of all, including the planet/land, whether among the diverse peoples of our global community or with beings from faraway worlds. We are looking for fun and dynamic adventures that give rise to a sense of belonging and showcase the importance of community.”
Deadline: 31 July 2023
Length: 2,000-15,000 words for fiction
Pay: $0.08/word for fiction, $50/poem, $0.10/word for nonfiction
Details here.

Neon Hemlock Press: We’re Here – The Best Queer Speculative Fiction 2023
This is a reprint anthology; do not send original stories. “Submissions are open for all speculative work published in 2023 under 17,500 words that deals either implicitly or explicitly with queerness.”
Deadline: 31 December 2023
Length: See above
Pay: $0.01/word
Deadline: 31 December 2023
Details here, here, and here.


Defenestration.net Short Story Contest
They want a short story which should include an incident of defenestration – the art or –ism of throwing people out of windows. This need not be literal. Their team defines such an incident as follows – “a sudden, immediate, even violent shift, change, or seismical event between the beginning and the end.” There will voting by four judges for this contest, with fan voting counting as an additional judge vote.
Value: $75, two runner-up prizes of $30 each
Deadline: 7 June 2023
Open for: All writers
Details here.

Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Contest
This is for junior and senior division (11-14 and 15-18) students worldwide. The theme for this ocean awareness contest is Climate Heroes in Action (see guidelines). There are various categories: Visual Art; Poetry & Spoken Word; Creative Writing; Film; Performing Arts: Music & Dance; and Interactive & Multimedia.
Value: Senior division – $1,500, $1,000, $500, $300, $250 in each category; Junior division – $1,000, $750, $250, $150, $100 for each category
Deadline: 12 June 2023
Open for: Students ages 11-18
Details here.

Imagine 2200: Climate Fiction for Future Ancestors
This is a climate fiction contest from Fix, Grit’s solutions lab. “We’re looking for stories of 3,000 to 5,000 words that envision the next 180 years of climate progress — roughly seven generations – imagining intersectional worlds of abundance, adaptation, reform, and hope.” They have detailed guidelines, please read them carefully.
Value: $3,000, $2,000, $1,000; and $300 each for nine winners
Deadline: 13 June 2023
Open for: All writers
Details here and here.

Sapiens Plurum Short Fiction Contest
Sapiens Plurum conducts an annual short fiction contest, opening on Earth Day of each year. The theme is Building Communities in the Face of Climate Change. They have detailed guidelines, including, “We invite stories that explore how we can use science and technology to build resilient communities in a rapidly changing world. We are most interested in the ways that science and technology can help us to ride out the coming storms, especially in communities already under stress.” Submissions should be 1,500-3,000 words.
Value: $1,000, $500, $300
Deadline: 15 June 2023
Open for: All writers
Details here and here.

Kelsey Street Press: QTBIPOC 2023 Poetry Manuscript Contest
This is an international poetry manuscript prize for QTBIPOC-identified, feminist, innovative writers/poets. The prize winner will receive publication along with a cash award to help aid in book promotion, travel, event attendance, and a general contribution to the hopes of thriving as an artist. The editors seek work that challenges and engages alternative conventions, a poetics of allowance that encourages writers to write directly from their own creative imperatives. For the scope of this contest, QTBIPOC is inclusive of Lesbian, Bisexual, Trans, Nonbinary, Queer, Two Spirit, Indigiqueer and/or Intersex Writers.
Value: $1,000
Deadline: 15 June 2023
Open for: QTBIPOC writers
Details here.

Goi Peace Foundation: International Essay Contest for Young People
This is an international essay contest for people aged up to 25 years, in two categories – children and youth. The theme is, Youth Creating a Peaceful Future. See guidelines for theme details. Entries can be in English, French, (up to 700 words), or Japanese (up to 1,600 characters).
Value: For each category, there is one first prize is JPY100,000 (about $740); three second prizes of JPY50,000 (about $370) each; five third prizes, and 25 honorable mentions
Deadline: 15 June 2023
Open for: Children ages 14 and under; youth ages 15-25 years
Details here.

Last Stanza Poetry Journal
They want poetry on The Things We Carry theme. “As with every issue, poems submitted do not need to follow the prompt/theme. A single $100 award will be given for an outstanding poem.” Poems can be any style; they prefer non-rhyming. Send up to 5 poems.
Value: $100
Deadline: 30 June 2023
Open for: All writers
Details here

Preservation Foundation Contest: General Non-Fiction
This is an international contest for unpublished writers (see guidelines). Their upcoming deadline is for the general non-fiction category: “Any appropriate nonfiction topic is eligible. Stories must be true, not semi-fictional accounts. So-called “creative nonfiction” will not be considered.” Entries should be 1,000-5,000 words. Please note, 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 have deadlines later in the year.
Value: $200, $100
Deadline: 30 June 2023
Open for: Unpublished writers
Details here.

The Writers College: My Writing Journey Competition
This is an international contest, open to all writers. They want a 600-word essay on the theme, The best writing tip I’ve ever received.
Value: NZ$200 (R2 000 or £100)
Deadline: 30 June 2023
Open for: All writers
Details here.
(They also have a contest with non-cash prizes and a later deadline, The Global Novel Writing Competition.)

The Writers College: Short Story Competition for Emerging Writers This is an international fiction contest, open to writers ages 16 and over; send stories of up to 2,000 words. Regarding eligibility they say, “We aim to support beginner writers only. We accept stories from writers who have never been published, or who have been published fewer than four times in any genre.” (See guidelines). The contest theme is, Words Have Consequences. Also, “We accept stories in any genre (literary/horror/sci-fi/fantasy/spec fic). However, literary fiction tends to fare best with our judges.”
Value: NZ$1,000, NZ$500, NZ$250
Deadline: 30 June 2023
Open for: Beginning/emerging writers (see guidelines)
Details here.

Richard J. Margolis Award
The award is for nonfiction writers of social justice journalism. It is for a promising new journalist or essayist whose work combines warmth, humour, wisdom and concern with social justice. Applications should include 2-3 non-fiction writing samples, up to 30 pages. At least one sample should be non-memoir material.
Value: $5,000, residency at Blue Mountain Centre artists’ colony; $1,000 for runners-up
Deadline: 1 July 2023
Open for: Unspecified
Details here and here.

Fiyah Grants
Fiyah publishes speculative fiction by Black writers. These grants are for Black people of the African Diaspora, anywhere in the world. Their website says, “The FIYAH Literary Magazine Grant Series is intended to assist Black writers of speculative fiction in defraying costs associated with honing their craft.
The series includes three $1,000 grants to be distributed annually based on a set of submission requirements. All grants with the exception of the Emergency Grant will be issued and awarded as part of Juneteenth every year. The emergency grant will be awarded twice a year in $500 amounts.” The grants are: The Rest Grant (for activists and organizers with a record of working on behalf of the SFF community, but who are in need of respite or time to recommit to their personal projects); Emergency Grant; Study Grant; Craft Grant; and Editorial Grant.
Value: up to $1,000 (see guidelines)
Deadline: Open now
Open for: Black writers of speculative fiction
Details here.

Bio: S. Kalekar is the pseudonym of a regular contributor to this magazine.


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