Written by S. Kalekar April 3rd, 2023

35 Themed Submission Calls and Contests for April 2023

Here are some themed submissions calls and contests for fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Some of the call themes are: seaside gothic; all women are werewolves (about womanhood); medieval horror; war; Halloween horror; ill winds and wild weather; sword & sorcery; mystery/investigation speculative fiction; epic fail; world tour; crime; and monsters.


The Fabulist: Ecology, solarpunk & anti-dystopianism
They accept fantastical fiction, and the current submission window is for Ecology, solarpunk & anti-dystopianism. Please review the guidelines to see the kind of stories they value, and the kind of stories they do not want. Their general submission guidelines say, they want “works of fantastical and speculative fiction, which we define expansively. … We do love science fiction, fantasy, intelligent horror, speculative fiction, literary fabulism, magic realism, mythic/folkloric works, near-future speculations, solarpunk/cli-fi, hopepunk, and genre subversions (crime, mystery, romance, westerns, thrillers, sea adventures, gothic, and quasi-realist works) that are anchored by some element of the fantastic.”
Deadline: 8 April 2023
Length: Up to 3,000 words
Pay: $25
Details here.

Seaside Gothic
Seaside Gothic magazine will soon open for a brief submission window in April; they want seaside gothic fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Their website says, “There are three criteria that define seaside gothic literature.
It is led by emotion, not reason, exploring the human experience mentally and spiritually as well as physically… ; It addresses duality—land and sea, love and hate, the beautiful and the grotesque…; It connects to the edge, living on the seaside either literally or figuratively, and has one foot in the water and the other on solid ground…” They have listed all their open reading periods on the website. Please submit your work only during the reading period.
Reading period: 10th to 16th April 2023
Length: Up to 1,000 words
Pay: £0.01/word (Please see their note on contributor copies.)
Details here.

Showcase: Object & Idea
Showcase is a new Substack-based project. They publish flash (fiction and nonfiction), and poetry, as well as reprints. “We explore Object & Idea. A poem and a prose piece are selected for each monthly issue, and the authors answer questions about the meaning behind their work.” Also, “Every author can submit one poem or prose piece for three weeks before the launch of each issue, or multiple pieces for a fee during the same period. We publish monthly and generally in the 3rd full week of each month via Substack.” Please be sure to submit in the correct category, as submissions in the wrong category will be deleted unread.
Deadline: 12 April 2023
Length: Up to 2 pages of prose (see length guidelines on Submittable), 1 poem
Pay: $50
Details here and here.

All Women are Werewolves: An Anthology of Womanhood
This is a fiction anthology from Erro Press and for this call, they only want submissions from women, inclusive of those who identify as non-binary and trans women. “This anthology is a collection of stories about the transformative experiences that shape womanhood; dark, uncanny, curious and captured by vivid, varied feminine voices. … We are looking for exceptional writing; think Literary fiction and magical realism. Bold, raw, beautifully written stories that may look at the nuances of life as woman at all ages and stages, explore myths and folklore, or delve into the root causes of inequality and vulnerability faced by women around the world – now, before and in the future.” Also, “Your story does not need to include werewolves – their presence in the title refers to their rich and complex symbolic history and folklore including, but not limited to, metamorphosis, persecution and expression of taboo emotions.”
Deadline: 14 April 2023
Length: 1,500-6000 words
Pay: “TBC but c.£100 plus author copies of the book”
Details here (scroll down).

Consequence Magazine: Consequences of war and geopolitical violence
This magazine addresses work on the human consequences and realities of war and geopolitical violence. They accept fiction (including excerpts), nonfiction (interviews, essays, narrative nonfiction), poetry, translations, and art (including graphic narratives, and photo and video essays) on the issues that pertain to the magazine’s themes. They are not accepting unsolicited reviews at the moment. They will decide whether the submission will be published in print, or online.
Deadline: 15 April 2023
Length: Up to 5,000 words for prose, up to 5 poems
Pay: $20-60.
Details here.

A Thin Slice of Anxiety: Mirrors Reflecting Shadows – A Trevor Project Charity Anthology
This is a charity fiction anthology by Outcast Press, Anxiety Press, and Roi Fainéant Press, with proceeds going towards The Trevor Project, which works on suicide prevention among LGBTQ+ youth. “We are open to most genres, including, but not limited to, literary, transgressive, horror, crime, noir, and speculative fiction. The pieces can be about most anything, so don’t feel you need to write about LGBTQ+ issues. … Of course you can touch on these topics, and are encouraged to do so, but the point is to gather excellent short fiction in service of a great cause.”
Deadline: 15 April 2023
Length: 300-1,000 words for flash, 1,500-7,000 words for short fiction
Pay: $40
Details here.

(Another charity anthology is Dog Save the King! – they want science fiction and fantasy stories and poetry of up to 17,500 words, involving both, royalty, and canine of any type — wolves, foxes, domesticated, etc.; the canine should play an integral part in resolving the conflict. There is no payment, the proceeds go toward helping lower the cost for students to attend a science fiction and fantasy symposium in Utah. The deadline is 19 May 2023. Details here.)

The Devil Take You – Tales of Medieval Horror
This is a project by Sentinel Creatives, a publishing and production house based in Cape Town, South Africa. They want fiction submissions for their anthology, and have detailed guidelines, including, “We’re looking for original weird tales set in the medieval period that explore the human (and inhuman) experience through the lens of horror.”
Deadline: 15 April 2023
Length: 3,000-6,000 words
Pay: $125-200
Details here.

Cast of Wonders: Limited Demographic – Young Authors
Cast of Wonders publishes young adult fantasy, science fiction, and horror in podcast and online format; it is published by the Escape Artists’ suite of magazines. They welcome work by young writers (writers under 18) during all their submission periods; this is a special window during the second half of April, when they will only accept work from writers aged under 18. They also accept translations and reprints. They have extensive guidelines, please read these carefully. Their submission portal will open for fiction submissions during the reading period.
Reading period: 15-30 April 2023
Length: Up to 6,000 words
Pay: $0.08/word
Details here and here.
(They will open in May for 2023 Banned Books Week submissions, according to their schedule.)

Sinister Smile Press: If I Die Before I Wake – Tales of Halloween Horror
They want stories of Halloween-themed horror for this fiction anthology.
Deadline: 19 April 2023
Length: 4,000-10,000 words
Pay: $30-50
Details here.

Smoking Pen Press: Look at that Weather!
They are reading fiction for their Read on the Run anthology series. The title is ‘Look at that Weather!’ “We’re seeking stories about weather. But we aren’t interested in fair winds or ordinary weather, we are looking for Ill Winds, and Wild Weather. All fiction genres are considered.”
Deadline: 30 April 2023
Length: 1,200-7,000 words
Pay: $20 or two copies of the paperback for US and Canada authors; $20 USD, or one copy of the paperback for non US/Canada authors
Details here.

Parallel Universe Publications: Swords & Sorceries Volume 6
This is a fiction anthology, their sixth edition – they want heroic fantasy stories. They will also consider reprints. Apart from a cash, they’ll also give a paperback contributor copy, and an additional fee if a hardback edition is issued.
Deadline: 30 April 2023
Length: No limit
Pay: £25; an additional £25 if a hardcover version is issued
Details here.

(Submissions are also open for Strange Aeon 2023: Wonder anthology – they want stories in the cosmic horror/Lovecraftian vein, with the Wonder theme. Pay is $20/$35 for stories of 5,000-10,000 words. They will consider nonfiction and poetry, too. Please see their note on payment for US-based and international authors. The deadline is 30 April 2023. Details here.)

Inklings Press: Tales Anthology Series
This is a fiction anthology. “We are looking to solve murders, investigate disappearances, and find clues, but with a twist. Send us your stories of cyborg sleuths, goblin gumshoes, and enchanted investigators. We want tales of fantasy, sci fi and horror with a strong mystery or investigation theme.”
Deadline: 30 April 2023
Length: Up to 5,000 words
Pay: $100
Details here.

Martian: Science fiction drabbles
They want science fiction drabbles – stories of exactly 100 words. For the April submission period, they want more of: cyberpunk; sci-fi horror; stories with tech; starships; holograms; stories involving other planets; dark sci-fi; and characters making a decision. Every genre of science fiction is acceptable, but science fiction must be present. They also accept reprints.
Deadline: 30 April 2023
Length: 100 words
Pay: $0.08/word
Details here.

Zoetic Press: Non-Binary Review – Two themes
They want poetry, fiction, essays, translations, and art. They have two upcoming themes: Epic Fail, and World Tour. Please remember, they accept submissions until a cap is reached, or the deadline, whichever comes first. All submissions must have a clear relationship to the theme.
— Epic Fail: “We’re not talking about everyday failures, like you didn’t pay the electric bill, so your lights are turned off. We’re talking about the cascades of calamity that end in death, destruction, disaster. Series of unfortunate choices that lead to plague, famine, and war. A train wreck that, once it’s been set in motion, you can neither stop nor look away from. There but for the grace of some spectacularly poor planning, bad decisions, and gross incompetence, go all of us.” The deadline is 30 April 2023, or until filled.

— World Tour: From the first migration of our ancestors out of Africa to the globe trotting of the jet set, our planet and our culture have been shaped by people traveling vast distances. Some traveled for survival, some for wealth, some for power, and some traveled to satisfy their curiosity. We’re looking for stories about epic journeys over vast distances with many destinations. We’re looking for travels that have changed the way people have viewed their world. We’re looking for travels that have broadened the outlook, not just of the traveler, but of civilization.” Also see the kind of work they do not want (including personal travelogues, family’s moves to the new world.)  The deadline is 29 July 2023, or until filled.
Deadlines: See above
Length: Up to 3,000 words for prose; up to 3 pages for poetry
Pay: $0.01/word for prose, $10 for poetry
Details here.
(They also accept submissions for Random Access Memory, where they publish non-linear literature online.)

Apex Magazine: Strange Machines – An Anthology of Dark User Manuals
Apex is a speculative fiction magazine, and they have a themed microfiction call. “We are looking for your darkest, strangest microfiction in the form of user manuals, FAQs, and how-to guides for the use of (or by) robots!
Tell us a story while guiding humans through the use of a strange machine, or guiding sentient robots through human activities they may not understand. Reveal deep yearnings and dark secrets between the lines, show us fascinating futures or weird horrors, and don’t be afraid to mix biology with machine. Let your imaginations go wild to create beautiful, surreal, and dark user-guides for strange machines!”
Deadline: 30 April 2023 for Strange Machines
Length: 250 words
Pay: $10
Details here.
(They’re also reading submissions from marginalized writers –BIPOC, LGBTQ+, has a disability, or is marginalized in some other way – on the Robotic Ambitions theme; pay is $0.08/word for stories up to 5,000 words. The deadline is 5 April 2023 for marginalized writers. Details here.
Apex also publishes unthemed speculative fiction of up to 7,500 words, and pays $0.08/word. Details here.)

Rock and a Hard Place: The One Percent – Tales of the Super Wealthy and Depraved
They usually publish “literary noir and dark fiction, chronicling bad decisions and desperate people.” For this anthology, “Instead of stories about desperate protagonists in tough positions, we’ll explore the privileged and elite, and how they traffic in, revel in, and benefit from the desperation that they cause.  Hopefully, some of these characters get the comeuppance they so richly deserve . . . but we wouldn’t count on it.” Also, “We are looking for fictional short stories ranging from 2,000 to 5,000 words examining the ways in which the most affluent among us commit wrongs. These transgressions can range from broken laws to the perfectly legal, though otherwise reprehensible. These acts can be small in scale — being an awful parent or spouse — or they can have wide-ranging impact — concealing carbon emissions or human rights abuses.” And, “We want stories that say something. Submissions can include speculative elements, but we want stories that are grounded in and have something to say about the world we live in.”
Deadline: 1 May 2023
Length: 2,000-5,000 words
Pay: Either $35 or $25 with a contributor copy
Details here.
(They also publish Stone’s Throw, an online companion to the Rock and a Hard Place Magazine. They select one work to publish via monthly prompts, and are open during the first week of every month for submissions; pay is $25 for themed stories of 1,000-2,000 words. They want noir stories on the Family theme, and the deadline is 7th April 2023. Details here.)

The First Line Journal
They want fiction (all genres) and poetry that begins with pre-set first lines, one for each quarterly issue. For nonfiction, they want critical articles about your favorite first line from a literary work. For fiction and poetry, for the Summer issue, the first line is:
All the lawns on Mentone Avenue are mowed on Wednesdays.’ Deadline: 1 May 2023 for the Summer issue
Length: 300-5,000 words for fiction; 500-800 words for nonfiction
Pay: $25-50 for fiction, $25 for nonfiction, $10 for poetry (less postage fee for international writers – see guidelines)
Details here.

The Last Girls Club: Reparations
This is a feminist horror magazine. The theme is ‘Reparations’. “The country I live in is founded with a deep blood debt that will continue to haunt us if we do not acknowledge it. Revisionist history cannot kill ghosts. Colonialism exists everywhere. What do reparations even look like?” They accept fiction and poetry submissions, and nonfiction pitches.
Deadline: 1 May 2023, or until filled
Length: Up to 2,500 words for fiction; up to 200 words for poetry
Pay: 1.5 cents/word for fiction, $10 for poetry
Details here and 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.

Horror Story Magazine: Monster stories
This is a new horror magazine, and they’re reading submissions for their first issue. “Edition 1’s theme will be … good old-fashioned monster stories: vampires, werewolves, ghosts, ghouls, Frankenstein-style creatures, or newer creatures, including those of your creation. Give us a monster, and tell us a great story.” They also accept poetry; word limits for that do not have to adhere to fiction limits, and will be paid a flat rate. They will have a print and electronic edition, for the first issue. Also, “As long as the theme of monsters is followed, we’re pretty open. That includes a little cross-genre, comedic horror, etc.” They also accept reprints. Regarding the deadline, “There is no firm deadline. We’ll read until we have all we need, but we’d like to be wrapped up by May 1 at the latest.”
Deadline: Until filled
Length: 2,000-10,000 words for fiction
Pay: $0.02/word for fiction
Details here.

Unnerving Books: Crime stories
The editor wants crime stories for a yet-unnamed anthology; the call was also announced on Twitter. “I want gritty stories. Think Jim Thompson, James M. Cain, Sara Gran, Jo Nesbo. I also like humorous stuff with a dark edge. Think Donald Westlake, Adam Howe, Brian Evenson. I like twists. I like oddity. I like violence.
Now, for what I don’t want: no police procedurals, no copaganda, nothing supernatural, no rape revenge stories, nothing pro-religion, and nothing cozy or soft.”
Deadline: Until filled
Length: 1,500-8,000 words (2,500-4,000 preferred)
Pay: $0.01/word
Details here.
(The press is also accepting submissions, while the Unnerving Magazine is closed.)

Green Stories Project: Superhero Competition
They want a short story (2,000 words) on superheroes saving the planet; this contest is open to writers ages 14+. They want writers to “create an uplifting short story of superheroes that respond to climate change. Imagine your target audience to be teens and young adults that enjoy watching superhero films.
Drawing on your own experiences of climate change, entries from adults that live /have lived in the following countries are especially welcome (but not essential): India, Pakistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, South Sudan, Mali, Niger, Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco, or Brazil.” They have detailed guidelines/suggestions on the theme. You can add your own illustrations, but this is not necessary; apart from a cash prize, one of the scenes from the winning story will be turned into a 1-page comic strip, made by a professional artist.
Value: £500
Reading period: The submission link will open on their website on 1st April, and the deadline is 15 April 2023.
Open for: All writers (see above)
Details here.

If There’s Anyone Left micro fiction contest
This is a contest for marginalized writers only (people of color, the LGBTQ2S+ community, members of marginalized genders, and disabled and neurodiverse people). They want stories, of up to 500 words – science fiction or speculative fiction.
Value: $250, $100, $50
Deadline: 15 April 2023
Open for: Marginalized writers
Details here.
(They will open in spring for non-contest submissions.)

ALTA Travel Fellowship
Each year, fellowships are awarded to emerging translators (someone who does not yet have a book-length work of translation published or under contract) to help them pay for hotel and travel expenses to the annual American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) conference. Part of the application requirement is up to 10 pages of translated work (poetry or prose – see guidelines). Also see the Jansen Fellowship for an emerging translator of color or a translator working from an underrepresented diaspora or stateless language. Also see ALTA’s other awards for published works.
Value: $500-1,000 each
Deadline: 17 April 2023
Open for: Unspecified
Details here and here (scroll down).

Casa Africa micro-story contest
For this contest, they want micro-stories that are related to Africa in some way. Stories can be in Spanish, English, French or Portuguese, with a maximum length of 1500 characters (not words) including spaces and excluding the title.
Value: €750, €375, €225
Deadline: 21 April 2023
Open for: All writers
Details here.

Whiting Foundation: Creative Nonfiction Grant
Up to 10 grants will be awarded to writers of creative non-fiction books – projects must be under contract with a publisher in the US, UK, or Canada to be eligible. Contracts with self-publishing companies are not eligible. The subjects are history, cultural or political reportage, biography, memoir, the sciences, philosophy, criticism, food or travel writing, graphic nonfiction, and personal essays, among other categories. It is intended for multiyear book projects requiring large amounts of deep and focused research, thinking, and writing, after significant work has been accomplished. The work should be intended for general, not academic, audiences. One of the application requirements is sample chapters, up to 25,000 words.
Value: $40,000 each
Deadline: 25 April 2023
Open for: Nonfiction books contracted with a publisher in the US, UK, or Canada
Details here and here.

Wilbur & Niso Smith Foundation: Author of Tomorrow Award
This international contest is designed to find the adventure writers of the future. Writers must enter a piece of short fiction. The work must fall within what can be defined as adventure writing (see guidelines).  There are three categories: for writers ages 16-21, 12-15, and under 11.
Value: £1,000 in the 16-21 group, £100 in the 12-15 group, £100 in the under-11 group
Deadline: 30 April 2023
Open for: All writers ages 21 and under
Details here.

The Baen Fantasy Adventure Award
They want stories in all fantasy genres. “It must be a work of fantasy, though all fantasy genres are open, e.g. epic fantasy, heroic fantasy, sword and sorcery, contemporary fantasy, etc.” The winner gets $0.08/word for work up to 8,000 words. Second- and third-place winners get book bundles. They would prefer for the winners to attend DragonCon at Atlanta, Georgia, in August 2023, but this is not required.
Value: $0.08/word
Deadline: 30 April 2023
Open for: All writers
Details here.

Terrain.org Editor’s Prize
This magazine focuses on place, climate, and justice. They publish nonfiction, fiction, and poetry by all writers, and pay a minimum of $50. Also, “All accepted submissions by writers of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, women, and/or other marginalized communities whose contributions explore place particularly in the context of social, environmental, or climate justice are considered for our annual Editor’s Prize of $500 per genre.”
Value: $500 each for fiction, non-fiction, poetry
Deadline: 30 April 2023
Open for: Underrepresented writers (see above)
Details here

Preservation Foundation Contest: Non-fictional Animal Stories
This is an international contest for unpublished writers (see guidelines). Their upcoming deadline is for the non-fiction animal stories category: “Stories should be factual and true accounts of an encounter or encounters by the author with a wild animal or animals. These include, but are not limited to, birds, fish, butterflies, snails, lions, bears, turtles, wombats, etc., as long as it is not a pet.” 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 have deadlines later in the year.
Value: $200, $100
Deadline: 30 April 2023
Open for: Unpublished writers
Details here.

New England Crime Bake: Al Blanchard Award
This is a short story award. Their guidelines say it must be a crime story, of up to 5,000 words, by a New England author or have a New England setting if the author is not from New England (the New England states are Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island). The story may include the following genres: mystery, thriller, suspense, caper, and horror. (No torture/killing of children or animals.) Apart from the cash award, the winner also gets publication in Level Best Books’ Crime Fiction anthology, and admission to the Crime Bake Conference (though conference attendance is not a requirement).
Value: $100
Deadline: 30 April 2023
Open for: All writers
Details here.

Waterston Desert Writing Prize
This prize is for a proposed book of literary non-fiction that illustrates artistic excellence, sensitivity to place, and desert literacy – with the desert both as subject and setting. Writing samples about deserts and natural settings are more likely to be reviewed favorably. Apart from the cash award, there is also a residency at PLAYA at Summer Lake and a reading and reception at the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon.
Value: $3,000, residency
Deadline: 1 May 2023
Open for: All writers
Details here and here.

Queer Sci Fi: Rise
They want to see science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, or horror LGBTQIA stories of up to 300 words on the theme of Rise. They have detailed guidelines,  please read them carefully.
Value: $100, $75, $50
Deadline: 1 May 2023
Open for: All writers
Details here.

Parsec Ink Short Story Competition: Preserve or Purge
They want short speculative fiction (up to 3,500 words) on the theme Preserve or Purge. There is also a Youth category, for those aged up to 19 years, or currently enrolled in high school.
Value: $200, $100, $50; and $50 for the Youth category winner
Deadline: 1 May 2023 Open for: Non-professional writers (see guidelines)
Details here and here.

A couple of contests with later deadlines:

— ABA Journal / Ross Writing Contest for Legal Short Fiction: This is a fiction contest for US writers (see guidelines). The ABA Journal is the flagship magazine of the American Bar Association. Send a story of up to 5,000 words that illuminates the role of the law and/or lawyers in modern society. The prize is $5,000, and the deadline is 15 May 2023. Details here.

— The Fountain Essay Contest: How to focus in an era of distractions: They want an essay on the topic, ‘How to focus in an era of distractions’. See guidelines for details on the theme. Ideal length is 1,500-2,500 words. Also, “There is no age limit or a condition to fulfill for entry.” Read the FAQ carefully, any of the entries may be published, whether or not they win the prize. The prizes are $1,000, $500, $300, two prizes of $150 each. The deadline is 31 May 2023. Details here.

Drue Heinz Literature Prize: This is for previously published writers of short fiction (see guidelines), and the submission period is 1 May-30 June 2023. The prize is for a short story collection, or for two or more novellas, and the award is $15,000. Details here, 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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