Written by S. Kalekar June 7th, 2021

32 Themed Submissions Calls for June 2021

Here are 32 themed submission calls for fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, including fee-free contests. Some themes are: mermaids; banned books week; love needs no translation; climate crisis; ecological horror; occult detective stories; cold; mythos reborn; neurodivergent voices; contemporary art and culture; sleep and dreams; and get it over with. Most of these pay cash for submissions. A few calls aren’t open yet, but are scheduled to open in later in June; those are listed in order of opening dates, rather than deadlines.


Mermaids Monthly
They want short fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and comics 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.  They accept reprints, as well. They will also run some themed issues this year – the September issue will be dedicated to ecology and climate change, and the November issue will be themed All Ages: Young to Old – and writers can also submit for those.
Deadline: 12 June 2021
Length: Up to 5,000 words for fiction; up to 1,500 words for non-fiction; poetry of any length
Pay: $0.10/word for short fiction and nonfiction, $50-100 for poems
Details here.

Cast of Wonders: Two themes
This is a young adult speculative fiction online magazine and podcast, aimed at the 12-17 age range – read their extensive guidelines for details. They also accept translations, reprints, and submissions from young writers. According to their schedule, they have short submission windows for two themes coming up: Banned Books Week, and Seasonal Holiday Submissions//Special Events. Do not submit before the start of the reading period.
Reading periods: 13-26 June for Banned Books Week; 27 June-3 July for Seasonal Holiday Submissions//Special Events
Length: Up to 6,000 words
Pay: $0.08/word
Details here (guidelines) and here (schedule).

Eye to the Telescope: Indigenous Futurisms
This is a speculative poetry magazine, and they are reading for the ‘Indigenous Futurisms’ theme, a term which “describes a movement where Indigenous perspectives on the past, present, and future find expression in science fiction and other genres. Possible poems in this issue could include (but are not limited to) Indigenous robots, AI, and cyborgs, star stories and space exploration, Indigenous takes on solarpunk (or any of the other “-punks”), decolonization, Indigenous technologies, inventions and innovations, climate healing and community, time travel, and/or language revitalization.” This issue is open to submissions from indigenous writers worldwide.
Deadline: 15 June 2021
Length: 1-3 poems
Pay: $0.03/word, up to $25
Details here.

This Ireland-based journal was born out of the climate crisis, publishing poetry and prose with an environmentalist perspective.
They take submissions of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry 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. They are reading now for their fifth issue.
Deadline: 15 June 2021
Length: Up to 6,000 words for prose, up to 4 poems
Pay: €40/poem, and €40/page of prose up to €120
Details here.

Constelación Magazine: Love Needs No Translation
This is a bilingual speculative fiction magazine, and they will open for their fourth issue, on the theme ‘Love Needs No Translation’ in mid-June. At the time of writing, there were no details on the theme on the website. Authors are free to interpret their themes creatively, and they encourage writers to twist and bend the theme, as long as they fit into any of the speculative fiction genres. Submissions can be in English or Spanish, and they also ask for translation rights. They also commission artwork from BIPOC creators months in advance based on the issue’s theme. Do not submit before the start of the reading period.
Reading period: 15 June-1 July 2021
Length: Up to 6,400 words
Pay: $0.08/word for fiction, $1,000 for artwork
Details here.

Neon Hemlock Press: Speculative novellas from BIPOC writers
They have opened a submission period for speculative fiction novellas from BIPOC writers only. They want science fiction, fantasy, horror, supernatural, slipstream, and weird.  Hybrid work or difficult to categorize novellas are also welcome. The novellas have to be standalone works, although they may be connected to other series or work. They are particularly interested in work that explores some element of queer experience, broadly speaking. Their window for speculative novellas from all writers is in October.
Deadline: 19 June 2021
Length: 17,500-40,000 words
Pay: Unspecified
Details here (scroll down).
(Neon Hemlock Press also has other projects running – Baffling Magazine, flash speculative fiction, open till 15 June; OutWrite Chapbook Competition, an LGBT chapbook contest of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, open till 15 June; Opulent Syntax, Irish speculative fiction, open now; and We’re Here, queer speculative fiction reprints, open till 31 December).

Hex Publishers: Shadow Atlas – Dark Landscapes of the Americas
This is a dark fiction and poetry anthology that will open for one week, later in June. Their guidelines say, “We seek haunting and folkloric tales where setting is character and landscape is an essential part of the story. We want stories that draw from the wellspring of cultural destinations and local folklore in their shaping – most especially, stories that are tied to a specific and concrete location. This can include places that never existed, or those with connections created by the author, but they must take place in South America. Original tales, mash-ups, and new takes on known folkloric elements/cryptids/legends are all welcome.” Short stories must be exclusively set in South America, and poetry must be set in the Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, and South America. Do not submit before the start of the reading period.
Reading period: 21-27 June 2021
Length: 2,500-3,000 words for fiction; up to 35 lines for poetry
Pay: $250 for short fiction; $25 for poetry
Details here.

Dread Stone Press: Field Notes from a Nightmare — An Anthology of Ecological Horror
This is a publisher of horror and other dark speculative fiction, and they’re reading submissions for an anthology of environmental and ecological horror. Their guidelines say, “Though some still try, there is no denying that humans have and continue to drastically alter the earth and its environment. Climate change, pollution, suburban sprawl, deforestation, etc. Give me your tales and observations on these impacts. What horrors have/will we see as a result? How will Mother Nature fight back in a struggle for survival? As long as it’s nature/environmental/ecological and horror, it’s good.”
Deadline: 30 June 2021
Length: 1,000-4,000 words
Pay: $0.03/word
Details here.
(Another horror anthology is Gen X-ed – open for fiction by writers of Gen X, i.e. those born between 1965-1980, and containing elements specific to Generation X. There is no deadline given, and submissions open on 20th June.)

Fat Coyote Literary Arts: Neurodivergent Voices
This is a new literary magazine that showcases the work of neurodivergent artists; writers have to be neurodivergent to contribute. They accept fiction, nonfiction, poetry, comics, as well as art and photography.
Deadline: 30 June 2021
Length: Up to 6,000 words for prose, up to 3 poems
Pay: $0.03/word, up to $120, for prose; $1/line, up to $70, for poetry; up to $120 for comics
Details here.

Curiosities: Weird/Occult Detective Stories
Curiosities is a publisher of retropunk fiction. They have opened a reading period for Weird/occult detective stories. They strongly prefer retro-tech/vintage/alternate history settings for this issue. They also accept reprints. They also podcast some stories.
Deadline: 30 June 2021
Length: Up to 7,500 words
Pay: $0.05/word
Details here.

Black Lawrence Press: Mamas, Martyrs, and Jezebels – Myths, Legends, and Other Lies You’ve Been Told about Black Women
This is an essay anthology that “revisits notions of Black womanhood to include the ways in which Black women’s perceived strength can function as a dangerous denial of Black women’s humanity. This collection addresses the stigma of this extraordinary endurance in professional and personal spaces, the Black church, in interpersonal partnerships, and within the justice arena, while also giving voice and value to Black women’s experiences as the backbone of the Black family and community.” Essays can be on a few broad themes, including Black Women and Justice, and Black Women at Work and at Home. They will accept both creative and academic essays. Writers will be paid a contributor copy.
Deadline: 30 June 2021
Length: 700-5,000 words
Pay: Contributor copy
Details here.

Thema: Watch the Birdie!; Get It Over With
They are accepting short stories, poems, essays, photographs, and art, and they are open for two themes this year: ‘Watch the Birdie!’, and ‘Get It Over With’. They have also announced a theme with a deadline in 2022: ‘To the Pond’. The premise (target theme) must be an integral part of the plot, not necessarily the central theme but not incidental, either. They do not accept electronic submissions, except from writers living outside the US.
Deadline: 1 July 2021 for Watch the Birdie; 1 November 2021 for Get It Over With
Length: Fewer than 20 pages of prose; up to 3 poems
Pay: $10-25 for short fiction and artwork, $10 for poetry
Details here.

The Periodical, Forlorn: Mythos Reborn
This magazine publishes fiction “that’s dark, creepy, weird and just a little off-kilter. We’re open to genre fiction, particularly anything related to horror, science-fiction, speculative fiction or weird fiction.” Their guidelines also say, “We all know Zeus as king of the Greek panoply of gods and a ruthless tyrant. But we don’t know what Zeus did when he wasn’t mercilessly pursuing those who defied his will. Maybe he was a great baker. Maybe he liked to sing in the shower.
For this issue, we’re looking for stories that give us a unique take on mythological figures and characters from all the cultures of the world. Retell a classic tale from a minor character’s perspective. Reintroduce us to a story lost to the ages. Or invent your own mythology.”
Deadline: 2 July 2021
Length: Up to 6,000 words
Pay: $15
Details here.

Fairy Tale Review: The Lilac Issue – Sleep and Dreams
They publish work around fairy tales – short fiction, essays, lyric nonfiction, scholarship, poetry (in received and nonce forms), translations, graphic novels, comics, drama, and artwork.
The Lilac Issue is themed around “sleep and dreams: the forgotten language of fairy tales.”
Deadline: 6 July 2021
Length: Up to 1,000 words for fiction and nonfiction; up to 4 pages for poetry, graphic novels, comics, drama
Pay: $50
Details here.

the other side of hope: journeys in refugee and immigrant literature
This is a UK-based literary magazine edited by refugees and immigrants. Their website says, “We exist to serve, via words, the refugee and immigrant communities worldwide.” The print issue is annual, and they also publish online periodically. They accept fiction and poetry submissions from refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants only; work does not have to relate to the refugee or immigrant experience. Non-fiction (short essays, creative ethnography, memoir, criticism, reportage, and travelogue), book reviews, and author interviews are open to everyone, so long as the subject matter sheds light on refugee and immigrant life.
Deadline: 31 July 2021
Length: 1,000-8,000 words for fiction; up to 4 poems; 2,000-5,000 words for non-fiction
Pay: £100 per published author in the print issue, and £50 per published author in the online issue; asylum seekers will receive a £100/£50 online gift card
Details here.

The First Line
They want stories that begin with a pre-set first line; they are open to all genres. They also sometimes publish poetry, and these too have to begin with the first lines provided. For nonfiction, they want critical essays about your favorite first line from a literary work. For the Fall, the first line is: “What should we do with the body?”
Deadline: 1 August 2021
Length: 300-5,000 words for fiction; 500-800 words for non-fiction
Pay: $25-50 for fiction, $25 for nonfiction, $5-10 for poetry
Details here (first lines) and here (guidelines).

Books and Bikes in Space
Submissions are open for the 10th annual Bikes in Space anthology, and the theme this time is books. The stories have to be about bicycling and books, from a feminist perspective. Their guidelines say, “Send your most creative tales of bicycle-powered interlibrary loan on the moon, characters who literally leap out of books and go for a ride, a two-wheeled revolution sparked by seditious literature, the competing stories of steampunk velocipedists, a manual for futuristic bike messengers, a literal rewriting of gender norms…”  Stories can be “in any speculative or fantastical genre—hard science fiction, space opera, epic fantasy, alternative history, paranormal romance, hope punk, modern fairy tales and anything around or in between.” This anthology will be funded via Kickstarter.
Deadline: 1 September 2021
Length: 1,000-6,000 words
Pay: At least $50
Details here.

Crow Toes Quarterly: Broken; Cold
This is a Canadian art and literature magazine “for children who don’t scare easily”. Their guidelines say, “We are looking for “playfully dark”, intelligent, humorous, descriptive literature written for children ages 8 – 13.” They accept poetry, fiction, and art, and they read work throughout the year. After their relaunch, they have published one issue in Spring, and the Summer issue will be released on 1 July, according to a Twitter update. Their submission guidelines list all of the issue themes for the year. For the Fall 2021 issue, the theme is ‘Broken’, and for the Winter 2022 issue, it is ‘Cold’. They read submissions throughout the year.
Deadline: Unspecified
Length: Up to 3,000 words for fiction, up to 5 poems
Pay: CAD25-50 for fiction, CAD20 for poetry
Details here.
(Cricket Media has also announced several themed submission calls for its children’s literary magazines, catering to various age groups – some of the themes are Fantastic Fall; Exploring Our World; Legendary Kids; and Game On! – the deadlines are in August.)

Sable Books: The Ending Hasn’t Happened Yet
They want poetry or prose poetry for this anthology from disabled, chronically ill, and/or neurodivergent writers – work that explores the intersections of disability and trauma. This is a paid opportunity, and payment will depend on grant funding and donations (see this Tweet).
Deadline: Until filled
Length: Up to two pages of poetry
Pay: Unspecified
Details here.

The World’s Revolution: Gaia Awakens
This is a climate crisis shared-world anthology. The stories must contain a SciFi/Fantasy element connected to the environment, feature a hero taking action to protect people or their environment, inspire hope for a future where we solve the climate crisis, take place roughly between 2040 & 2050, and occur within the loosely designed setting featured in Catalyst: A Prelude to the World’s Revolution (see guidelines) and the information provided on their website. They are “particularly interested in stories written by authors who have experienced the direct effects of environmental injustice. We also encourage intersectional stories exploring the relationship between the climate crisis, racial justice, reproductive justice, colonialism, capitalism, and indigenous experiences.”
Deadline: Until filled
Length: Up to 10,000 words
Pay: $0.01/word
Details here.

No Niin: Contemporary art and culture
They’re interested in writing that is lively, rigorous, and engaged with current ideas and debates on contemporary art and culture. They’re specially interested in publishing the texts written or works done by art students during their studies. They publish works in a variety of forms: text from different genres, video, photography, podcasts, comics and hybrids of all kinds. They accept outlines, works in progress, and already complete works. Take a look at their online issues to see what kind of work they publish. They are open through the year.

Deadline: Ongoing
Length: Up to 2,500 words for fiction; 1-2 pages for poetry; varies for others
Pay: €150-250 for fiction writing (short story, a short play or short script); €100-200 for poems; €150-350 for essays, articles, exhibition reviews, manifestos, letters; €150-300 for interviews; they also pay for memes, illustrations, comics, photos, videos, podcasts, and playlists
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 ‘Water Rising’- it invites students to respond to one of the five prompts on the theme, given on their website. Apart from creative writing, and poetry & spoken word, the categories are: visual art, film, interactive & multimedia, and performing arts: music & dance. Students may submit one entry per category, meaning they may enter up to six pieces, one in each category.
Value: Senior division – $1,500, $1,000, $500, $100 in each category; Junior division – $1,000, $750, $250, $50 for each category
Deadline: 14 June 2021
Open for: Students ages 11-18
Details here.

OutWrite Chapbook Competition
OutWrite is a celebration of LGBT literature, held annually the first weekend in August in Washington, D.C. They want chapbook submissions of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Entries that explore aspects of LGBTQ culture or identity are encouraged. Thematically-linked works are encouraged, but not required. There are no limitations regarding genre. Manuscripts have to be 20-40 pages.
Value: 25 copies of their winning chapbook, an offer of print publication from Neon Hemlock Press
Deadline: 15 June 2021
Open for: Unspecified
Details here.

A&U — America’s AIDS Magazine: Christopher Hewitt Awards
This is an award for fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, and drama. All submissions must be HIV/AIDS-related. Writers may submit more than one work. Send up to 1,200 words for fiction and non-fiction, and up to 1,400-1,600 words for drama.
Value: $75 in each category
Deadline: 15 June 2021
Open for: Unspecified
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, ‘What is Life? What does life mean to you? Have you had an experience that made you think about the meaning of life? What kinds of things can you do to cherish and invigorate your own life and all life on earth?’ 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 $900); three second prizes of JPY50,000 (about $450) each; five third prizes, and 25 honorable mentions
Deadline: 15 June 2021
Open for: People aged up to 25 years
Details here.

Wizard of Oz Annual Club Contests
They want writing and art pertaining to L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and its sequels, Oz plays, or movies. There are two categories for writing (up to 10,000 words), fiction and non-fiction. For fiction, they want any fictitious story about or pertaining to the Land of Oz; this category also includes poetry and drama. Submissions must be appropriate for a family audience, like a G or PG-rated movie. For the non-fiction category, they want any non-fiction academic or scholarly research paper about or pertaining to the Land of OzOz authors, illustrators, and other portrayals of Oz. There is also an art category. Submissions will also be forwarded to their anthology editors for potential publication (see guidelines).
Deadline: 15 June 2021
Value: $100, $50 each for fiction and non-fiction
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 1,000-10,000 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 in the year.
Value: $200, $100
Deadline: 30 June 2021
Open for: Unpublished writers
Details here.

Blue Mountain Arts Biannual Poetry Card Contest
Blue Mountain Arts is a greeting card company and this international contest is for poetry for its greeting cards. Poems for this contest can be rhyming or non-rhyming, though they do find that non-rhyming reads better. Writers can enter the contest as often as they like.
Value: $350, $200, $100
Deadline: 30 June 2021
Open for: All writers
Details here.

Richard J. Margolis Award
The award is for non-fiction 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
Deadline: 1 July 2021
Open for: Unspecified
Details here and 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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