Written by S. Kalekar

38 Themed Submission Calls and Contests for November 2022

These are themed submission calls and contests for fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Some of the themed calls are: disabled superheroes; Sherlock Holmes (in the realms of Lovecraft); on the body; beer; this world belongs to us (horror about bugs); empire of beasts (societies of anthropomorphic creatures); die by the sword; the devil who loves me; holiday hauntings; transform the world (hopepunk); phantom thieves & sagacious scoundrels; and miracles. Also see this list for a few more themed calls – some deadlines are coming up.

THEMED SUBMISSION CALLS

Mighty – An Anthology of Disabled Superheroes
This is a project by Renaissance Press. They want stories about and by people at the intersection of disability and other identities traditionally excluded from publishing. This includes but is not limited to people of color, LGBTQ+ folks, religious minorities, women, older adults. “All too often in popular media, disability is used as shorthand to say a character is helpless or weak. A victim. And if that character is a superpowered person, their disability becomes something for them to overcome or cure in order for them to become a hero.
We want to challenge those tropes and celebrate characters who are disabled and still save the day, whose abilities and disabilities are equally important aspects of their lives and identities.” They welcome any genre of speculative fiction, and cross-genre stories.
Deadline: 14 November 2022
Length: 500-3,500 words
Pay: CAD0.08/word
Details here

word west revue
This is a new journal; they want fiction, nonfiction, poetry, video submissions, and photography. Their website says, “word west revue is a home for western-y writing and art and a whole lot more. a place to reimagine ‘the west’ and ‘westerns’ from new angles, overlooked perspectives, in both analogue + digital. we’re into subversion and surprise. we’re into road trips and weird americana, ufos and cosmic country—from the mountains to the deserts to the beaches to the plains. go west-ish.” Their guidelines say, “we’re looking for writing and art and whatever else you’ve got that engages with and reimagines the ‘west.’ ideally you or your work will have some connection to the western usa, but this theme is wide open to your interpretation (though our print issues will be more focused and western-y than online, which will be more free-wheeling). we like intersections and echoes, mythos and symbolism, and perspectives not as often seen.” There is also a word west radio, and videos. Pitches for online content (reviews, interviews, etc.) will always be accepted, and they plan to have two annual reading periods for the print magazine. They also have a press.
Deadline: 15 November 2022
Length: Up to 5,000 words for prose, up to 5 poems
Pay: $25 for online, $100 for print, $50 for videos
Details here (guidelines) and here (Submittable)

Sherlock Holmes: Adventures in the Realms of H.P. Lovecraft
This is a fiction anthology. “The stories must feel like traditional Holmes and Lovecraft stories. The stories should have the traditional Holmes and Watson working with the traditional characters, creatures, and/or gods of H.P. Lovecraft.” Also, “Imagine Holmes investigating the disappearance of a college student in the mysterious town of Innsmouth, matching wits with a man who can reanimate the dead, or using his deductive skills to help fight creatures from beyond the realm of time and space. These are just some of the stories which could be included in the new anthology”.
Deadline: 15 November 2022
Length: 5,000-10,000 words
Pay: $100 OR $50 plus a percentage of the Kickstarter project profits (whichever is greater)
Details here (scroll down).

The Rialto: 100th issue – Machine
The Rialto is a UK-based poetry magazine, and they’re reading for their 100th issue. They want poems on the ‘Machine’ theme, broadly interpreted.
Deadline: 15 November 2022
Length: Up to 6 poems
Pay: £20 per poem
Details here (theme), here (general submission guidelines), and here (Submittable).

Shooter Literary Magazine: On the Body
This literary magazine wants fiction, nonfiction (essays, memoir), and poetry “on anything to do with the body and physicality: competitive sports, endurance, sexual attraction, body image, beauty, the sense of touch, ageing, pregnancy and childbirth. Whatever might literally be on the body also makes for welcome subjects, such as tattoo art, jewellery, clothing and fashion. In addition to thematic relevance”.
Deadline: 20 November 2022
Length: 2,000-6,000 words, up to 3 poems
Pay: £5-25
Details here.
(And Rough Cut Press, which publishes work from LGBTQ+ writers and their allies, wants submissions on the Body theme. Pay is $25 and the deadline is 27 November 2022. Details here.)

Flame Tree Fiction: Two themes

They are reading for three fiction anthologies now. Two of these are themed, and the third is an unthemed horror one titled Darkness Beckons, deadline 14 November 2022 (see guidelines). The themed calls are:

— Lost Atlantis Short Stories: This is a folklore, fantasy, and sci-fi anthology. “We’re looking for tales of lost civilisations, perfect societies that withdraw from the world, from the plains of Saharan Africa, to the India of the Indus, from subterranean coastlines to narrow mountain ravines, hidden by vistas of cloud, but enchanting the minds of those yearning for something better, something beyond. They can be utopias in the style of Samuel Butler, or Charlotte Perkins Gilman, or walled cities in the deserts of Robert E. Howard.” They will also accept reprints.
Deadline: 27 November 2022
Length: 2,000-4,000 words most likely to be successful, but will read slightly outside this range
Pay: $0.08/word

Details here.

— Spirits & Ghouls Ghost Stories: This is a themed horror anthology. “We’re looking for explorations of spirits, ghosts and ghouls, from every corner of the world. The spirits of the mountainside, the ghouls of the deserts, the abandoned ghosts of pirate ships, the spirits who linger to protect, the apparitions who thirst for revenge, and the ghouls who simply lust for the taste of flesh.
From cemeteries and abandoned mansions, battered tenement buildings and ice-cold chambers to the desert wastelands of Arabia, this new collection gathers stories from open submissions and surrounds them with the ghastly emanations of H.P. Lovecraft, M.R. James, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Amelia Edwards and the frightful tales of Le Fanu, Charlotte Riddell and Elizabeth Gaskell.” They will also accept reprints.
Deadline: 27 November 2022
Length: 2,000-4,000 words most likely to be successful, but will read slightly outside this range
Pay: $0.08/word

Details here.

Apparition Lit: Dread
This is a quarterly speculative fiction and poetry magazine. They will be reading submissions on the Dread theme, starting mid-November. As part of their equity initiative, they have a one-week extra reading period for writers who self-identify as BIPOC in their cover letters.
Reading period: 15-30 November 2022 for general submissions; will extend by a week for BIPOC writers (see guidelines)
Length: 1,000-5,000 words for fiction, up to 5 poems
Pay: $0.05/word for stories, $50/poem
Details here.

From Beyond Press: This World Belongs to Us – Horror Stories about Bugs
This is a horror fiction anthology. “Bugs as ill omens, bugs burrowing into bodies or thoughts, bugs taking over your town, giant bugs eating your friends, bugs giving you the side-eye at the supermarket—terrify us with your best stories about the creepy-crawlies that outnumber us, outweigh us, and scare the bejesus out of us. A little humor is OK, but first and foremost we want to be frightened. Bugs don’t have to be the main characters, but they have to have some influence on the plot.”
Deadline: 30 November 2022
Length: 500-5,000 words
Pay: $0.05/word
Details here.

Lost Boys Press: Empire of Beasts
They want stories about new societies and cultures populated by anthropomorphized creatures, in all genres, for this anthology. “What do you think, say, a society of cats would look like if they could walk and talk as humans do? What would their religion be? What would their world look like? What societal standards would they have? What would their homes be made of? Their favorite foods? You don’t have to use cats, you are free to use any creature you wish!” Also, they encourage “gender fluidity, gender-bending, LGBTQIA+ retellings, and whatever else feels appropriate to YOU for the story you want to tell”.
Deadline: 1 December 2022
Length: 3,000-9,000 words
Pay: $40
Details here.

Outcast Press: Diner Crime/Noir/Neo-Noir Anthology
Outcast Press is a publisher of transgressive fiction, and they want submissions for a diner crime/noir/neo noir anthology. They want stories in which a diner-like venue (broadly interpreted – bar, waffle house, greasy spoon, truck stop, etc.) plays a major role in the narrative. Speculative and fantastical elements will be a hard sell.
Deadline: 1 December 2022
Length: 2,000-7,000 words
Pay: $25-100
Details here.

Toxic Workplaces Anthology
They plan to publish anthologies by women writers, starting 2023. The theme of the first creative nonfiction anthology is Toxic Workplaces. “This series is intended to amplify women’s voices, but writers need not necessarily confront issues of gender, sexual harassment, patriarchy, etc. Essays may be politically conscious, but please avoid didactic writing and polemics. Successful pieces will include a strong, relatable voice, engaging narrative, rich sensory detail, and thoughtful reflection.”
Deadline: 1 December 2022
Length: Up to 5,000 words
Pay: $0.02/word for original essays; no cash payment for reprints
Details here and here.

Hawk and Cleaver: The Other Stories – three themes
They publish horror, sci-fi, and thriller fiction on their podcast, The Other Stories. They want tales that terrify, scar and haunt. They have three themed call deadlines coming up: Tunnels (deadline 1 December 2022); Strange Weather (deadline 1 January 2022); and Imaginary Friends (deadline 15 January 2022).
Deadlines: See above
Length: Up to 2,000 words
Pay: £15
Details here (click on submission form for length and payment details).

Crystal Lake Publishing: Never Wake
For this anthology, they want “scary, mind-bending stories featuring dreams, nightmares, hallucinations, messed-up psychedelic experiences, and various elements of phantasmagoria. Think sleep experiments gone awry and Freddy Krueger and “This is bat country!” from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, but maybe the bats are real and maybe they are vampires? Feel free to bring the weird, the trippy, and the surreal in large doses.”
Deadline: 4 December 2022
Length: 2,500-4,500 words
Pay: $0.08/word
Details here (download the guidelines for the ‘Never Wake’ anthology from here.)
(They’re also open for novel and novella submissions).

Channel Magazine
This Ireland-based magazine accepts submissions from around the world; they want work that engages with the natural world. They are reading submissions for Issue 8. “We have a particular interest in work which encourages reflection on human interaction with plant and animal life, landscape and the self. Each issue includes a mix of poetry and fiction, alongside a selection of essays which may include creative non-fiction, criticism, and the occasional review of new creative work or of community-based environmental projects.” Poetry and fiction have submission deadlines; nonfiction is open through the year. They also accept visual art.
Deadline: 15 December 2022 for fiction and poetry, ongoing for nonfiction
Length: Up to 6,000 words for prose; up to 4 poems
Pay: €50/poem, €50/page of prose, up to €150
Details here.

DMR Books: Die by the Sword
This is a sword and sorcery anthology. “For clarification, sword-and-sorcery is a genre that combines swashbuckling adventure with supernatural elements (usually of a horrific nature) in a pre-industrial setting. The stories can be set in an invented world like Zothique or Nehwon, or in the past of the real world.” Also see the list of what they’re not looking for, including urban fantasy, Tolkien-style epic/high fantasy, and YA/children’s fiction.
Deadline: 31 December 2022
Length: 4,000-8,000 words
Pay: $0.01/word
Details here.

Cutleaf: Beer
They want beer-related writing – short stories, personal essays, poems, or hybrid work. “While reviewing submissions, we delight in the unexpected. However, we’re going to resist sharing specific examples of what this might look like on the page because we want the interpretation of “beer,” and how it figures into your work, to be left up to you, the writer.”
Deadline: 31 December 2022
Length: One prose piece, up to two poems
Pay: $50-200 for poems, $100-300 for prose
Details here.

Grendel Press: Four themes
They are accepting submissions for 4 dark fantasy, dark romance, and horror anthologies. They are reading on these themes currently: – Paramnesia (a condition or phenomenon involving distorted memory or confusions of fact and fantasy, such as confabulation or déjà vu);
— stories with monsters as main characters;
— stories with supernatural elements (ghosts, cults, etc.);
The Devil Who Loves Me – literal devil, figurative devil, questionably the devil, open to interpretation.
Deadline: 1 January 2023
Length: 3,000-7,000 words
Pay: $0.05/word
Details here.

Alienhead Press: Literally Dead – Tales of Holiday Hauntings
This is a fiction anthology. “We’re inviting writers of dark fiction to submit short stories of classic paranormal, poltergeists, ghosts, spirits, haunted places and objects, and the eerily unexplained that take place on or around the winter holidays. #ownvoices, BIPOC, gender-diverse, LGBTQIA, and authors of other marginally represented groups highly encouraged to apply.” They do not want children’s or slasher stories, vampires, werewolves, zombies, extreme, or creature horror.
Deadline: 20 January 2023
Length: 2,000-4,000 words
Pay: $0.06/word
Details here.
(Submissions are also open for The Theatre Phantasmagoria’s December theme, which is Hear the Slay Bells Ring – they want stories about Christmas or set during wintertime. The deadline is 30 November. Pay is £10 for stories up to 2,000 words. Details here.)

The Bureau Dispatch: Wayfinding
They publish fiction and nonfiction. For Volume 5, they say, “We’re open to all kinds of narratives but are particularly interested in ones about WAYFINDING: stories that explore our relationships with physical (and metaphorical) spaces and places, how we orient ourselves within or among them, and how we navigate and find our way.” Also, “We are not a spec fic journal, but our stories often contain a hint of the speculative, a dash of the intriguing. We want fiction that is compelling and beautifully-crafted; narratives that leave the reader breathless and changed.”
Deadline: 31 January 2023
Length: Up to 1,000 words
Pay: $50
Details here.

Other Worlds Ink: Transform the World
They want near-future hopepunk stories. This is the third in the series of Writers Save the World anthologies. “The way we do things now as a society is unsustainable. Garbage is piling up in our landfills and oceans, income inequality is getting worse, and our governments are often paralyzed when it comes to seeking solutions. … we’re focusing on new ways of living and of structuring societies. Stories should be near future (in the next 100 years or so) science fiction with a hopeful tone.
Stories do not need to be hard sci fi, but the chosen solution/adaptation should be plausible, given what we know about human nature and society today. That said, we have accepted a few whimsical stories that tickled our fancy in the past.”
Deadline: 28 February 2022
Length: 2,500-15,000 words
Pay: $50-100
Details here.
(And Solarpunk Magazine is open for nonfiction/essay submissions on solarpunk themes. Essays of 1,000-2,000 words are accepted year-round, and pay $75; fiction and poetry are open periodically, you can see the 2023 schedule on their website. Details here.)

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles
Chicken Soup for the Soul publishes true stories and poetry. They have a few upcoming themes, including Miracles. “All of us have experienced events in our lives that are completely unexplainable: the strange premonition that made you take a different route home causing you to miss an accident; the eerie feeling that you should call home… now, saving someone’s life; the mysterious communication from a loved one who has passed on. Divine timing, miraculous coincidences, answered prayers, premonitions that come true. Good things do happen to good people. Please share your unbelievable and amazing stories about the unexplainable events that have occurred to you. … Writers of all religions or no religion are welcome.” Some of the suggested topics are: coincidences; chance events; a happy accident; meeting the love of your life; everyday miracles and hope; miraculous healing or recovery; holiday miracles; miraculous acts of kindness; and mysterious helpers. Apart from cash payment, writers also get 10 contributor copies.
Deadline: 28 February 2023 for Miracles
Length: Up to 1,200 words
Pay: $250
Details here (themes), here (general guidelines), here (FAQ), and here (submission portal).
(Chicken Soup has other themes listed, too: How stepping outside my comfort zone changed me, deadline 15 December 2022; The power of positive thinking, deadline 15 December 2022; Angels, deadline 28 February 2023. See details on these topics here; they periodically announce new themes, too. Please note, their deadlines sometimes change, so it may be a good idea to re-check before submitting.)

Sinister Smile Press: Dead Hookers in Gas Station Bathrooms
This is a road trip horror anthology. “Road trips can be memorable, the stuff of dreams. Just you and the family or loved ones out on the open road, taking in the breathtaking scenery, and experiencing adventure and mystery while exploring the world. But the thing about dreams is sometimes they quickly turn to nightmares.”
Deadline: Until filled
Length: 4,000-10,000 words
Pay: $30-50
Details here.

JayHenge Publishing: Three themes
They are open for three speculative fiction anthologies.
— Phantom Thieves & Sagacious Scoundrels: “Phantom (or Gentleman/Lady) thieves and lovable and clever rogues like Thomas Crown, Simon Templar, Arsène Lupin, Carmen Sandiego, Danny Ocean, Han Solo and The Stainless Steel Rat have long been characters we root for despite their nefarious deeds. We now want your spec-fic stories of this special class of criminal. Elusive and fantastic thieves and scoundrels of all genders and species who can be long gone before the victim even knows what happened. Show us what admirable trickery your scoundrels and robbers and smugglers have up their sleeves!”
The Nameless Songs of Zadok Allen & Other Things that Should Not Be: “What lurks in the deep? Who listens from the shadows? What sorts of abominable experiments are taking place at the mysterious ivy-covered university? We want your Lovecraftian tales.”
— The Black Forty: “In the 1860s, the Homestead Acts granted farmers a quarter section; a section was nominally 1 square mile containing 640 acres, a quarter section was 160 acres, and the quarter section was itself subdivided into four quarter-quarter sections of 40 acres each: two front forty and two back forty. It now refers to the most remote part of a farm, or even the most remote or inaccessible part of any place.
In The Back Forty, we are looking for your stories that explore new, lawless frontiers, backwater towns, self-appointed sheriffs, lonesome explorers, bounty hunters, and other Wild West in Outer Space kinds of themes. We are sometimes flexible on themes, so if you have something you think might fit as an edge case, don’t hesitate to give us a holler. We’ll usually have a look at most anything.”
Deadline: Until filled, for all anthologies
Length: Up to 15,000 words
Pay: $5 per 1,000 words
Details here (themes) and here (general guidelines).

THEMED CONTESTS

Academy of American Poets: Treehouse Climate Action Poem Prize
This prize, for US poets, is given to honor exceptional poems that help make real for readers the gravity of the vulnerable state of our environment at present; poets may submit one poem. In addition to the prize money, all three poems will be published in the popular Poem-a-day series. The Academy of American Poets also has other contests listed; see Submittable.
Value: $1,000, $750, $500
Deadline: 15 November 2022
Open for: US poets (see guidelines)
Details here and here (Submittable)

Brooklyn Film & Arts Festival: Brooklyn Non-Fiction Prize
This prize will be awarded to a Brooklyn-focused nonfiction essay which is set in Brooklyn and is about Brooklyn and/or Brooklyn people/characters. “We are seeking compelling Brooklyn stories from writers with a broad range of backgrounds and ages (minimum age 18 years old) who can render Brooklyn’s rich soul and intangible qualities through the writer’s actual experiences in Brooklyn.” Essays have to be 4-10 pages (up to 2,500 words).
Value: $500
Deadline: 15 November 2022
Open for: Unspecified
Details here.

The One Teen Short Story Contest: Stories about the teen experience
This contest is open for short fiction by writers around the world ages 13-19. There are three categories, ages 14-15, 16-17, and 18-19. They want stories about the teen experience. “We are interested in great short stories of any genre about the teen experience—literary, fantasy, sci-fi, love stories, horror, etc. What’s in a great short story? Interesting teen characters, strong writing, and a beginning, middle, and end.” Also, they want “Some examples of stories we look out for are ones that deal with issues of identity, friendship, family, and coming-of-age. Gratuitous profanity, sex, and drug use are best avoided. We’re open to all genres of well-written young adult fiction between 2,000 and 4,500 words. Because of our format, we can only accept stories that are strong enough to stand alone (as opposed to excerpts from novels-in-progress).” They also accept translations (see guidelines). A parent or legal guardian must sign a consent form for writers under 18. Apart from cash prizes, winners get 25 copies of the magazine featuring their work. The contest winners will also have the opportunity to work with a One Teen Story editor prior to publication.
Value: $500
Deadline: 27 November 2022
Open for: All teen writers
Details here and here.

The London Society: Love Letters to London
This is an international, themed contest, about London. “Tell us why you love this city. Write a Love Letter to London of up to 500 words (or poems 40 lines in length) around the theme of ‘making connections’. You can write on any aspect of London’s past, present or future. It might be reportage, an historical essay, a ‘think piece’, a spot of futurology, a work of fiction, a poem. We are open to all forms and styles.” There are 4 categories: Aged 11 and under; 12-18 year olds; Open – all other entrants; and Poetry. Entries can have been published elsewhere but must fit the brief and have been written in 2022.
Value: £500, £250, and £100 each for Open and Poetry categories; £500, and 4 runners up prizes of £150 each for 11 and under, and 12-18 categories
Deadline: 30 November 2022
Open for: All writers
Details here.

Dappled Things: The J. F. Powers Prize for Short Fiction
Dappled Things is a space for emerging writers to engage the literary world from a Catholic perspective. For this contest, they want stories of up to 8,000 words “with vivid characters who encounter grace in everyday settings—we want to see who, in the age we live in, might have one foot in this world and one in the next.”
Value: $500, $250
Deadline: 30 November 2022
Open for: All writers
Details here.

Better than Starbucks Sonnet Contest
This is a contest for metrical sonnets. “Your sonnet can be shakespearean, petrarchan, spenserian, rhymed, or slant-rhymed. Blank verse is eligible, as long as the sonnet form is clearly identifiable. We’ll consider tetrameter, hexameter, etc. as well as pentameter. Some metrical variation is fine, but don’t forget the volta!” They also accept previously published work, as long as the poet holds the rights (see guidelines).
Value: $500, $100, $50
Deadline: 30 November 2022
Open for: All poets
Details here.

Patrick Henry Fellowship: American history and/or legacy
Those working on American history and/or legacy may be interested in the Patrick Henry Fellowship, which supports outstanding work on the subject by both scholars and non-academics in many genres – a book, film, oral history archive, podcast series, museum exhibition, or similar work.
Value: $45,000, residency
Deadline: 15 December 2022
Open for: Unspecified
Details here.

The Philosophy Essay Prize: Emotions
The Philosophy Essay Prize is run by the Royal Institute of Philosophy. The theme this year is Emotions. “We intend this topic to be understood very broadly, so as to include related issues in any area of philosophy and from any philosophical tradition.” Send an essay of up to 8,000 words.
Value: £2,500 and publication in Philosophy magazine; in exceptional circumstances, the prize may be awarded jointly, in which case the financial component will be divided.
Deadline: 20 December 2022
Open for: All writers
Details here.

Deep Wild 2023 Graduate Student Poetry Contest
This is a contest from Deep Wild: Writing from the Backcountry – they want students currently enrolled in graduate studies to submit work for our 2023 Graduate Student Poetry Contest. “We seek work that conjures the experiences, observations, and insights of backcountry journeys. By “backcountry,” we mean away from roads, on journeys undertaken by foot, skis, snowshoes, kayak, canoe, horse, or any other non-motorized means of conveyance.” This is an international contest.
Value: $300, $200, $100
Deadline: 1 February 2023
Details here and here.
(They’re also reading general submissions for 2023 for the magazine on related themes, from all writers, through 30 November 2022.)

(A couple of other prizes are:
— Cave Canem’s Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize, dedicated to the discovery of exceptional chapbook-length manuscripts by Black poets. Apart from a cash award of $1,000 and publication, the winner also gets a residency at The Writer’s Room at The Betsy Hotel in Miami, and a featured reading at the O, Miami Poetry Festival. The deadline is 14 November 2022, details here and here. Cave Canem also runs other prizes.
— And Thin Air Magazine’s The Bird in Your Hands Prize is a literary contest that centers and celebrates BIPOC voices; send fiction, poetry, or nonfiction of up to 500 words. The prize is $500, the deadline is 20 November 2022, and it is open for BIPOC writers;
Details here and here.
— There’s also the ServiceScape Short Story Award, open for all writers, for fiction or nonfiction. The award is $1,000, and the deadline is 30 November 2022. Details here.)


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

 

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