Written by S. Kalekar March 6th, 2023

36 Themed Submission Calls for March 2023

Here are themed submission calls and contests for fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Some of the themed calls are: fungi; cats; dark academia; novus monstrum (monsters); we fear not the sea; (punk) military horror; campfire stories; invisibility; second chances; bodies; and Shakespeare retellings. Also see this list, which has a few calls/contests with upcoming deadlines.

The Quiet Ones: The Cosmic and The Void
The Quiet Ones is an e-zine that centers LGBTQIAP+ and women’s voices in the subgenres of quiet horror and intimate dystopian fiction, both for YA and adult audiences; see FAQ They accept submissions from all writers. They want stories and narrative poetry/stories in verse on The Cosmic and The Void theme, in the subgenres they publish.

Deadline: 8 March 2023
Length: Up to 1,200 words for narrative poetry; up to 3,000 words for fiction
Pay: $25
Details here.

Solarpunk Magazine: Colourful Roots
They are open for solarpunk submissions for BIPOC writers only during the first two weeks of March – see the schedule on their guidelines page. They publish fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and art on solarpunk themes. They have detailed guidelines on the kind of work they publish. Nonfiction is always open.
Deadline: 14 March 2023
Length: 1,500-7,500 words for fiction; up to 5 poems; 1,000-2,000 words for nonfiction
Pay: $.08 per word for fiction, $40 per poem; $75 per essay or article
Details here and here.

Eye to the Telescope: Fungi
This is a speculative poetry magazine. For the Fungi theme,
Mushrooms, molds, and other fungi are organisms that live all around us, yet for the longest time they have eluded classification. They can offer sustenance and ensure survival, or cause a slow, poisoned death. Their mycelium and spores spread–subterranean, airborne–beyond our perception. Within forest ecosystems, fungi are decomposers: feeding on dead matter, returning the nutrients to the soil in a perpetual cycle of destruction and rebirth.
I am particularly interested in cli-fi, body horror, and fabulism from marginalized voices. Make me feel the sublime ache of metamorphosis, the transcendental comfort of belonging in a colony. Send me poems about prehistoric Prototaxites populating the earth; mycologists using parasitic cordyceps to reanimate the dead; Amanita princesses, priests, and witches; the Fungal Folk evolving to survive in space, a starship built out of their own filaments and tendrils.” They also accept translations.
Deadline: 15 March 2023
Length: Up to 3 poems
Pay: $0.04/word (up to $25)
Details here.

A Coup of Owls: Summer issue

This is a fiction anthology; they accept work only from writers of marginalized identities and/or communities, including LGBTQIA+, BIPOC, and disabled people. “All genres, styles and themes will be considered and we especially love stories that are outside the box in their telling. Ambiguous endings? Non-linear storytelling? Antagonist’s point-of-view? A story told in just one scene?” Also, “we do not have set issue themes but feel free to be inspired by the season, seasonal occasions and events”. They are reading for the Summer issue.
Deadline: 15 March 2023
Length: 100-8,000 words
Pay: £5-15
Details here.

Cursed Morsels Press: No Trouble at All anthology
This is a horror fiction anthology. They want “stories of polite horror: horror disguised through polite faces/manners, horror allowed to exist when politeness comes at the cost of self-preservation, and any other interpretation of the theme. We love thought-provoking stories, complex characters, unapologetic weirdness, and bold narrative risk-taking.” The Kickstarter for this project has been funded.
Deadline: 15 March for all writers; extended to 22 March 2023 for writers of marginalized identities
Length: 2,000-4,500 words
Pay: $0.05/word
Details here.

Escape Artists: CatsCast
CatsCast is an audio and online speculative fiction magazine that publishes fun cat stories. “Specifically, we’re looking for speculative fiction stories about cats. “Cats” in this context are, well, cats — but since this is a speculative fiction podcast, they don’t have to be exactly the same species as the housecats we have here on Earth. The stories should have happy, or at least hopeful, endings for all featured cats. Humor is strongly encouraged but not required.” They also accept reprints, but not those that have been published previously in other Escape Artist magazines. Their submission portal will open during the reading period.
Reading period: 11-19 March 2023
Length: Up to 6,000 words
Pay: $0.08/word
Details here.

(And their sister publication, Cast of Wonders for young adult speculative fiction, will be open for Banned Books Week submissions during 1-14 April; their submission portal will open then, with theme-specific guidelines. See their general guidelines and schedule.)

Shortwave Publishing: Wilted Pages – An Anthology of Dark Academia
They want horror, dark fantasy, and science fiction horror concerning: Schools, colleges, universities, and/or other educational institutions; Libraries and books; Laboratories and research facilities; Teachers and students; Scholarship and scholarly life; Esoteric/occult learning; Educational technology; The future of learning; The knowledge economy. Also, “Gloomy buildings, secret societies, futuristic boarding schools, gothic yet modern aesthetics, and occult learning are among the pleasures to be found in this subgenre.” Please read their guidelines, including the works they take inspiration from and wish list. Please submit only during the reading period.
Reading periods: 8-24 March for general submissions (submissions from all writers); 1-31 March for submissions from underrepresented voices — people of color, LGBTQ2S+, neurodiverse people, people with disabilities, those of marginalized genders.
Length: 1,000-4,000 words
Pay: $0.05/word
Details here.

Dragon’s Roost Press: Novus Monstrum
This is a speculative fiction anthology; they want science fiction, fantasy, and horror about original monsters. ” To qualify, your story must feature, meaningfully, a never-before-seen monster (however you define the word) and must contain a speculative element. … All land, sea, space, time, earth, wind, and fire monsters welcome. … The real-world midnight zone is that depth between 1,000 and 3,000 meters in the ocean where no sunlight penetrates. The pressure is intense, life is fleeting, and predators and scavengers abound. Take us to that place only you know, the one that is inhospitable, surprising, uncomfortable, strange, or otherworldly.”
Deadline: 30 March 2023
Length: 1,000-5,000 words (prefer up to 3,000)
Pay: $0.03/word
Details here.

Paper Angel Press: We Fear Not the Sea Anthology
This is a fiction anthology of stories inspired by sea shanties. “Each tale should be based on, or somehow incorporate, one sea shanty and include a speculative element of some kind. Give us your adventures with ghosts, sea monsters, and mermaids! Put us in the salty sea boots of sailors, whalers, pirates, and privateers!”
Deadline: 30 March 2023
Length: 2,000-6,000 words
Pay: $0.02/word
Details here.

Hollow Oak Press: Campfire Stories Anthology
This is a speculative fiction anthology. “We want the stories you’d whisper in the dark. The kind that linger and leave readers with more questions than they answer. We want a little bit of campiness and a whole lot of speculation on the world around us.
We prefer stories set in a rural backdrop with the intimate feeling of a small town. We want sparse populations and a closeness to nature. The stories don’t need to be about camping necessarily, but they should evoke the eerie feeling of a story told around a campfire with the strange sounds of the forest just beyond the firelight.”
Deadline: 31 March 2023
Length: 2,000-5,000 words
Pay: $40
Details here.

Cohesion Press: SNAFU – Punk’d
This is a speculative fiction anthology, and they want military horror in the punk genre. They have detailed guidelines, including,  “horror/spec-fic within conflict in a past, present, or future filled with the aspects that make your story a ‘punk’ sub-genre tale.

​In the broadest sense, the punk subculture is about anti-authoritarianism, anti-big corporate, and pro-personal freedom….​We want lots of monster goodness and lots of action.

​Please ensure the action is central to the story, from start to finish, and don’t forget monsters!”

Deadline: 31 March 2023
Length: 2,000-7,500 words
Pay: AUD0.05/word
Details here.

Cloaked Press: Summer of Speculation – Sidekicks
They want science fiction and fantasy stories for this anthology, and the theme is Sidekicks. “What we want are stories from the perspective of the superhero (or villains) top henchman/helper. For copyright purposes it would be best if we didn’t use real superheroes currently in production.”
Deadline: 31 March 2023
Length: 3,500-10,000 words
Pay: $15 or an anthology copy
Details here.


Splatter Ink Publishing: No Lives Left Anthology
They want video game horror stories, “related to gaming experiences. These can range, and we want you to open that mind and show us the horror of what could happen when you maybe play a game too long. Maybe the VR set fuses to your mind, with your body. Haunted arcades; mysterious systems; game developers inserting something diabolical into their programs. Think about the worlds from your favorite games and twist these into your own nightmarish arenas where pixelated blood flows.” Please see their note about copyrighted works.
Deadline: 31 March 2023
Length: 5,000-7,500 words
Pay: $30
Details here.

Manawaker Studios: Project Briar Rose
This is a science fiction anthology. They have extensive guidelines, including, “The book will be a sci-fi retelling of the first half of Briar Rose (Sleeping Beauty), as it was told by the Grimm Bros.
In Galilean Space, a Spincity administrator is bringing a new Android online. It is his plan that this android, codenamed Briar Rose and in a mechanical body resembling a young woman, will succeed him one day in running the city. He invites the most accomplished AI experts from 12 of the spincity’s 13 districts to a dinner party in celebration of Briar Rose; leaving out the expert from the 13th district because she is an unpleasant person. At the dinner, the experts, all women, each approach the android in turn, and program her with a personality trait that she will need to be a good person, and eventually also a good administrator of the city. As they do this, they each tell a story about a person who succeeded, thrived, or overcame adversity due to possessing this trait. When they are finished, the 13th expert shows up uninvited, imbues the android with one unpleasant trait, and tells a story in which such a trait would be needed. There will be a bit more, but that’s the context you’ll need to submit. … I want thirteen stories from thirteen different authors, each one showcasing one of the traits imbued upon Briar Rose in the framing story. The stories should be some form of speculative fiction, but any of the sub-genres of spec fic, or even some parallel genres, are acceptable.” See guidelines for each trait they want stories for, and the traits that they have already commissioned stories for. They also accept reprints.
Deadline: 31 March 2023 (extended)
Length: 1,500-5,000 words
Pay: $0.01/word
Details here.

FIYAH: Carnival
This speculative fiction magazine only takes submissions by and about Black writers from Africa and the African Diaspora (see guidelines). For non-fiction, they want queries only. They also publish reviews. For the Carnival theme, “It’s Carnival time! Bring us your colorful stories centered on the mystique and pulsating energy of the bacchanals, the festivals, the soca fetes, and jamborees from all across the globe, time, space, and even the multiverse. We want intoxicating merriment, daring mischief-making, and chaotic melodrama fueled by the riotous revelry of the Carnival.”
Deadline: 31 March 2023
Length: 2,000-15,000 words for fiction; up to 1,000 words for poetry; 800-1,200 word for non-fiction
Pay: $0.08/word for fiction, $50 for poetry, $0.10/word for non-fiction.
Details here.

Legion of Dorks Presents: Resurrected – An Anthology of Second Chances
This is a fiction anthology from Cursed Dragon Ship Publishing.
They want stories of “some sort of resurrection, whether real or virtual, that concludes by the end of the story to meet the theme requirements.” They have a few suggestions on the theme: A scientist discovers a way to bring back an extinct species; At a new school, an outcast finds a way to reinvent herself; A dead god tricks new worshippers into rejuvenating his power.
Deadline: 31 March 2023
Length: Up to 7,000 words
Pay: $50
Details here.

Black Spot books: Mother Knows Best — Homemade Horror Anthology
This is a fiction anthology, and they only want submissions from writers who identify as women (cis, trans, or non-binary femmes). This is a “women-in-horror anthology inspired by “bad mothers.” We’re looking for your best horror stories featuring mother-figures: mama trauma, smother-mother, etc.”
Deadline: 31 March 2023
Length: 1,000-5,000 words
Pay: $0.06/word
Details here.

Ninth Letter: Invisibility
They want fiction, nonfiction, and poetry submissions for their online magazine, and the theme is Invisibility. “What lies beneath, behind, below? What in the air do we breathe without knowing? Is it the wind that makes trees shiver, or something otherworldly? Where are the gears that govern our world–are they just under the table, barely out of sight? Where are the wires that connect our lives, our voices, our words? What is it that keeps us tethered? Is there more than meets the eye? Are there eyes that meet the more? Look past what you see. Look through it. Find the hidden lines that connect us or the secret walls that keep us separate. Find the ghosts that haunt the edges–capture them before they disappear. Show us the photos. Make us believe.”
Deadline: 1 April 2023
Length: Up to 3 poems, up to 3,500 words for prose
Pay: $25 for poetry, $75 for prose
Details here.

Quill & Crow Publishing: Violent Delights & Midsummer Dreams — An Anthology of Shakespeare Retellings

This is a fiction anthology of “Shakespeare retellings … We want stories that bring fresh new perspectives on the classic stories, bonus points for providing a Gothic twist. Give us Romeo & Juliet with zombies or the real story of the Wayward Sisters. Deconstruct tropes and bring unique voices to life.” See the list of things they are looking for, including dark Shakespeare retellings, gothic horror, deconstructed tropes, themes of death/darkness, historical horror; and what they are not looking for, including YA stories. Modern settings will be considered only if they maintain a Gothic feel.
Deadline: 1 April 2023
Length: 5,000-8,000 words
Pay: $40
Details here.

(They also have a reading period for another anthology coming up, starting June, The Wicked Bestiary — An Anthology of Monstrous Folk Tales. Please submit your work only during the reading period.)

(Apart from the themed contests, there are some great fellowships coming up, as well, including National Endowment for the Arts’ Creative Writing Fellowships for US-based fiction and nonfiction writers, up to $25,000, deadline 8 March, details here; A Public Space Writing Fellowship, $1,000, deadline 31 March, details here; The Marguerite and Lamar Smith Fellowship for Writers, $5,000, deadline 1 April, details here — scroll down to Academic Opportunities and click on Fellowships; ALTA Travel Fellowship for emerging translators, $500-1,000, deadline 17 April, details here and here – scroll down; and the Whiting Foundation Creative Nonfiction Grants, $40,000 – books must be under contract with a publisher in the US, UK, or Canada to be eligible, deadline 25 April 2023, details here and here.)

The Waterman Fund Essay Contest
The contest is for emerging writers in the US and Canada – those who have not published a book-length work of fiction or narrative nonfiction on topics of wilderness, wildness, or the ethics and ecology of environmental issues are eligible. Essays should be 2,000 to 3,000 words, on the theme of climate change – they have detailed guidelines on the theme. They welcome personal, scientific, adventure, or memoir essays. The contest is run by the Waterman Fund – their tagline is, “Fostering the Spirit of Wildness and Conserving the Alpine Areas of Northeastern North America”.
Value: $1,500; $500
Deadline: 15 March 2023
Open for: Emerging writers (see guidelines) in the US or Canada (see eligibility here)
Details here and here.

West Chester University: Five contests
They run seven contests, five of which are free to enter.
Iris N. Spencer Poetry Award: This contest is for undergraduate poets enrolled in a US college or university for poems composed in the traditional modes of meter, rhyme and received forms. Prizes are $1,500, and $500.
— Sonnet Award: This is a contest for undergraduate poets in the US, for sonnets. Limit of three poems per contest. The prize is $1,000.
— The Villanelle Award: This contest is for undergraduate poets enrolled in a US college or university, for villanelles. Limit of three poems per contest. The prize is $1,000.
— Myong Cha Son Haiku Award: This contest is for undergraduate poets enrolled in a US college or university for unpublished, original haiku. The prizes are $1,500, and $500.
— Rhina P. Espaillat Award: This contest is for undergraduate poets enrolled in a US college or university for original poems written in Spanish, and translations of English poems to Spanish. The prize is $500.
Deadline: 15 March 2023 for all West Chester University contests
Open for: Undergraduate poets in the US
Details here (scroll down) for all the West Chester University poetry awards; click on each contest name for details.International Thriller Writers Scholarships
They are awarding two separate scholarships for ThrillerFest 2023: one scholarship to a BIPOC author writing a thriller manuscript featuring a BIPOC protagonist, and one scholarship to an unpublished author who is writing a mystery/thriller novel (80-100k words). Each scholarship recipient will receive a cash stipend and a free pass to attend ThrillerFest XVIII, which takes place May 30 – June 3, 2023 in New York City. One of the application requirements is a writing sample. Application is via a form.
Value: $1,000 stipend, ThrillerFest pass
Deadline: 20 March 2023
Open for: Unspecified
Details here.

Intrepid Times: Romance on the Road Travel Writing Competition
Their website says, “Travel is full of romance and romantic ideals, whether that’s a new relationship with a fellow traveler, a deep connection with a sublime landscape, or even the discovery of self and the self-love that follows. Romance leads us into unexplored territory, both internal and external. … Write an original, factual, first-person travel story about a time you experienced romance while traveling. Feel free to explore romance in all of its manifestations, but ensure that your travel story builds itself around the context of a place or experience. Editors will be looking for originality, voice, and a satisfying story arc that captures attention and makes use of imagery to pull the reader along at every step.” Send work of 1,200-2,000 words. They have both fee-based and fee-free entries. The runners-up published on the website will receive their standard fee.
Value: $200
Deadline: 19 March 2023
Open for: All writers
Details here.

Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award
This international grant is for supporting the recipient in crime fiction writing and career development activities. She or he may choose activities that include workshops, seminars, conferences, and retreats, online courses, and research activities required for completion of the work. This is for an emerging writer (see guidelines). The application process includes a writing sample – an unpublished piece of crime fiction, written with an adult audience in mind. This may be a short story or first chapter(s) of a manuscript in-progress, 2,500 to 5,000 words.
Value: $2,000; the winner can choose from a range of activities
Deadline: 31 March 2023
Open for: Writers of color
Details here.

The Every Animal Project
This is an anthology about courageous animals, and they also will publish work on their website. “Stories must be true (non-fiction). They must relate to non-human animals (of any species) and can be about your personal experiences/growth because of an animal, an issue threatening animals today, or other aspects of the human/non-human animal relationship. For the upcoming anthology, please weave the theme of courage/bravery into your story. We are particularly interested in spotlighting species less familiar to people, like insects, marine animals, and reptiles.”
Value: One writer will get an award of $300, another will be awarded $200, and other writers whose work is chosen for the print anthology get $50; writers whose work features online get $20.
Deadline: 31 March 2023
Open for: All writers
Details here.

The Restless Book Prize for New Immigrant Writing
This is a prize for a debut literary work by a first-generation immigrant. The prize alternates between fiction and non-fiction. For this cycle, they are reading non-fiction manuscripts. Non-fiction submissions can take the form of a memoir, a collection of essays, or a book-length work of narrative non-fiction. The submission should address some combination of identity, the meeting of cultures and communities, immigration and migration, and today’s globalized society. Non-fiction submissions must consist of either a complete manuscript, or a sample of at least 25,000 words and a detailed proposal that includes a synopsis and an annotated table of contents. All submissions must be in English (translations welcome). Candidates must not have previously published a book of non-fiction in English. Apart from the cash prize, the winner also gets publication.
Value: $10,000
Deadline: 31 March 2023
Open for: First-generation residents of their country
Details here.

Deborah Rogers Foundation: The DRF Writers Award
This is an award for writers of British Commonwealth countries, and Eire (see guidelines for the list of eligible countries). It is for a first-time prose writer whose submission demonstrates literary talent and who would benefit from financial support to complete their work. One of the submission requirements is 15,000 – 20,000 words of a work in progress, fiction or non-fiction, which is not under option or contract.
Value: £10,000, £1,000
Deadline: 31 March 2023
Open for: Writers in the British Commonwealth and Eire
Details here.

Robert B. Silvers Foundation: Silvers grants
English-language writers of any nationality may apply for their grants to support long-form essays (essay-length or book-length) in the fields of literary criticism, arts writing, political analysis, and/or social reportage. Applicants should have an editorial agreement with a publication or publishing house for the work under consideration. Some of the submission requirements are a writing sample, project description, and a budgetary statement.
Value: Up to $10,000
Deadline: 31 March 2023
Open for: All writers
Details here.

Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest
This prize is for humor poetry. Submit a poem of up to 250 lines.
Value: $2,000 and a subscription to Duotrope; second prize of $500; 10 prizes of $100 each
Deadline: 1 April 2023
Open for: All poets
Details here.

The Mike Resnick Memorial Award
This award is sponsored by Galaxy’s Edge magazine and Dragon Con. They want a science fiction story by a new writer (who has not been paid a per-word rate of 6 cents a word or more or received a payment for any single work of fiction totaling more than $50). Send stories up to 7,499 words. Apart from the cash prize, the first-prize winner will have their story bought by Galaxy’s Edge magazine at their current prevailing rates. Writers do not need to be members of Dragon Con.
Value: $250, $100, $50
Deadline: 1 April 2023
Open for: New writers
Details here (scroll down), here, and here.

Tales to Terrify: Changing Seasons
For their 2023 contest, they want horror fiction of up to 1,500 words on the Changing Seasons theme, for their podcast. “The story must have horror elements and relate to the theme of changing seasons. How you choose to interpret that theme is up to you, but it must be central to the story. Simply setting your tale during a change in seasons or having a tale take place across seasons is not adequate. It must play a crucial role in the development of the narrative.” Please read their note about shortlisted stories.

Value: $50
Deadline: 1 April 2023
Open for: Unspecified
Details here.

A few contests with later deadlines are:
— 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 of £500, one of the scenes from the winning story will be turned into a 1-page comic strip, made by a professional artist. The submission link will open on their website on 1st April, and the deadline is 15 April 2023. Details here.

Women’s Prize for Playwriting: This is for a play by UK/Ireland based writers who identify as women and nonbinary, and are aged 16 or older. Plays have to be written for the stage (not for radio or screen), can be co-written, and can be in any genre except musicals (though plays with music are accepted). The prize is £12,500, and the deadline is 17 April 2023. Details here, here, and here.

— The Black Orchid Novella Award: This is an international contest for novellas (15,000-20,000 words) that confirm to the tradition of Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe series. They should focus on the deductive skills of the sleuth. They are not looking for derivatives of the Nero Wolfe series, or the milieu. They accept mailed submissions only. The prize is $1,000 and publication in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, and the deadline is 31 May 2023 (postmarked). Details here.

— 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.

— Red Hen Press Ann Petry Award: This is for a work of previously unpublished prose, either a novel or a collection of short stories or novellas, with a minimum of 150 pages, by a Black writer. The award is $3,000 and publication. The deadline is 31 July 2023. Details here.

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


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