Written by S. Kalekar

39 Themed Submissions Calls for January 2023

These are themed calls for submissions and contests for fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Some of the themed calls are: gender; Gothic; holiday hauntings; intersections; food; Anna Karenina isn’t dead (reimagining the stories of women in fiction and legend); seers and sibyls; panic; wayfinding; gravity; monster liars; and fungi. Also see this list for more themed calls; a few deadlines are coming up.

SUBMISSION CALLS

Kenyon Review: Luminous Gender Vessel
They want fiction, creative nonfiction, hybrid/cross-genre work, poetry, art, including comics, and multimedia pieces exploring ideas and questions of gender for their guest edited folio, ‘Luminous Gender Vessel’. “We want work that tells us something about what it means to be alive in a body, that makes us feel more alive in our own. Tell us what you don’t understand, what you’re trying to figure out. Get experimental. Get speculative. Get hybrid. Get weird. Push boundaries of style and form. Because genre, like gender, is a construct. It’s rarely one thing or the other.” They pay upon publication.
Deadline: 5 January 2023
Length: Up to 6,000 words for prose; up to 3 poems
Pay: Unspecified
Details here and here.

diet milk: Gothic
They publish work on Gothic themes – fiction, poetry, and art. Their website says, “Give us withering romance, creatures that lurk and lure, families to be feared and houses that haunt; give us isolation and creeping, oppressive unwellness. Quietly thrill, terrify, and leave us wanting more.” They are reading now for their Spring 2023 issue.
Deadline: 8 January 2023
Length: Up to 5,000 words for fiction, up to 3 poems
Pay: $0.01/word for fiction, $15 for poetry
Details here and here.
(Submissions are also open for Seaside Gothic magazine; 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. They pay £0.01/word for works up to 1,000 words. Please see their note on contributor copies. The reading period is 9-16 January 2023. Details here.)

Neon Hemlock Press: The Crawling Moon – Queer Tales of Inescapable Dread
This is a fiction anthology, open to all writers. They want “Horror stories exploring gothic elements, depravity and perversion. …  We are looking for dark stories that subvert the gothic and explore the filthier edges of horror. We would like to be scandalized. We’re using the most inclusive definition of queer. Queer, trans, ace, undefinable. Throughout, we’re looking for rich, varied and nuanced understandings of gender, family and ethnicity.” They do not want works with unexamined bigotry or sexual violence.
Deadline: 15 January 2023
Length: Up to 6,000 words
Pay: $0.08/word
Details here (scroll down).
(Submissions are also open for Be Gay, Do Time: On Queerness & Incarceration anthology; it is open to Queer writers who have experienced either incarceration or the threat of incarceration, including state-mandated stays in mental hospitals as incarceration; loved ones of those individuals may also submit, with acceptance depending on the volume of submissions, as preference will be given first to those directly affected. They want fiction, poetry, essays, and art. They pay $5, and the deadline is 31 January 2023. Details here.)

Antivus: Humans – Gods – Demons
This is a fantasy anthology from World Publishing Company. “Ancient Gods – We are looking for origin stories, battles between gods and demons/monsters, gods saving human civilization or wreaking wrathful havoc upon their creations.” Regarding the setting, “Ancient gods in ancient times. Prehistoric to mediaeval is good. Modern, not so much.”
Deadline: 15 January 2023
Length: 2,400-4,200 words
Pay: $10
Details here.

Dracula Beyond Stoker: Renfield
Dracula Beyond Stoker magazine is run by DBS Press, and you can read more about it here. “Our flagship journal, Dracula Beyond Stoker, will present the best new fiction based on Stoker’s characters, locations and themes, and sometimes Stoker, himself.” For the current theme, “Give us your best Renfield story. Everybody’s favorite flyman is such a rich character, yet we know so little about him. Who do you think he is?” They accept fiction, and will also consider poetry.
Deadline: 15 January 2023
Length: 1,500-5,000 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.

The Saltbush Review: Intersections
This is an Australian magazine and they accept submissions of literary fiction (including flash), poetry, creative nonfiction, and works that challenge genre boundaries, from around the world. They are currently reading submissions on the ‘Intersections’ theme. Creative interpretations of the theme are welcome.
Deadline: 20 January 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.

Fulcrum Publishing: Women’s Reproductive Health Anthology
They want creative nonfictional personal essays (open to various structures and hybrid forms) on reproductive health for this anthology. “Women’s reproductive health is at the forefront of many issues today, whether political, cultural, or personal. The recent Supreme Court decision on abortion is top of mind for most of us. But abortion is only the tip of the iceberg. Our culture has created a system in which women’s health is treated differently than men’s health. … Our wish list: creative nonfiction personal essays on abortion, contraception, menstruation, infertility, miscarriage, IVF, perimenopause/menopause, pregnancy, fibroids, PCOS, endometriosis, and any other topic we may have missed. We are open to broad interpretations. The most important thing is that your essay be well-written. While this is a predominantly woman-centered collection, men, we know, are affected by womens’ health issues too. We are open to their submissions as well.” They also accept reprints. They do not want reported news stories or academic articles, fiction, or poetry.
Deadline: 20 January 2023
Length: Up to 2,000 words
Pay: $150
Details here.

Zoetic Press: Food

They want poetry, fiction, essays, and art. Their upcoming deadline is for the Food theme. They also publish translations. “Food touches every single person on the planet, and can be one of the most fraught relationships a person can have. We’re not looking for recipes, or stories in which food is incidental. We want to read about how food joins people, divides people, shapes those with too much and those with not enough. Who grows food? Who hauls it around? Who cooks it? How is working professionally with food different than cooking at home? There are so many aspects of this necessity of life, and we want to hear them – especially the unexpected, the complicated, the life-changing.”
Deadline: 31 January 2023, or until filled
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.)

Air & Nothingness Press: Gargantua
They want “stories of massive engineering megastructures that reshape stellar systems” All stories to be exactly 1,000 words. “Shellworlds, Alderson disks, Dyson spheres and swarms, O’Neill cylinders, Matrioshka brains, wormhole networks – these megastructures reshape stellar systems, are evidence of the engineering prowess of advanced civilizations, and are just darn cool concepts.
While these ideas usually fall under Hard SF, we are looking for authors to provide stories in any genre they choose. Tell us the tales of advanced civilizations, personal stories of the people who live in these spaces, the mythology that is created as these projects are born, to the time they crumble to stellar dust.”
Deadline: 31 January 2023
Length: Exactly 1,000 words
Pay: $0.08/word
Details here.

Improbable Press: Anna Karenina Isn’t Dead
This is a fiction anthology call that is open to all writers. “You suffer. You die. You exist so the hero can have his journey. Who are you?
You’re a woman in classic literature.
Of course this isn’t the destiny of every woman, but from Anna Karenina to Jocasta to Cio-Cio-San, from Esmeralda to Aida to Mrs Rochester, death, madness, or suffering is the fate of far too many women in classic stories. Anna Karenina Isn’t Dead undoes that.
In this anthology of literary women, these women live. Do they have a happily ever after? Maybe. Do they have a happy-right-now? Oh yes. Feel free to bring your woman to the present, future, to anywhere or anywhen. How your classic heroine finds her peace is up to you.
Tell us a reimagined tale of the famous, the infamous, the barely mentioned woman in an old story, poem, or legend. Give her a better journey than the one she got. (No real life people please.)”
Deadline: 31 January 2023
Length: Up to 5,000 words
Pay: $0.05/word
Details here.

Alpennia: Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast
This is a fiction podcast series on lesbian-relevant themes, and it is open for all writers. They have detailed submission requirements, including, “Stories must be set in an actual historic culture–i.e., a specific time and place in history–and the plot and characters should be firmly rooted in that time and place. (No time-travel or past memories, please.) Stories may include fantastic elements that are appropriate to the historic setting. …Stories must be set before 1900. We’d love to see stories that reach beyond the popular settings of 19th century America and England unless you do something new and interesting in them. … Romance is optional, and romance stories should have some other significant plot element in addition to the romance.” They do not want erotica.
Deadline: 31 January 2023
Length: Up to 5,000 words
Pay: $0.08/word
Details here.

Mysterion: Christian speculative fiction
They want science fiction, fantasy and horror stories that engage meaningfully with Christian themes, characters or cosmology. “We love science fiction and fantasy, enjoy good ghost stories, and think there’s great fiction material hidden in the mysteries of Christian theology–cherubim, leviathan, nephilim, visions, prophecy, and more”, according to guidelines. The stories need not teach a moral or be close to an approved theological position. Nor do they need to be pro-Christian – see their detailed guidelines on the kind of work they see too often, and what they would like to see. They are especially interested in stories that show Christians from cultures beyond those of the United States, Canada, and Western Europe. They also accept translations and reprints. They have two annual reading periods for fiction, January and July. They are open through the year for art submissions.
Deadline: 31 January 2023
Length: Up to 9,000 words
Pay: $0.08/word
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.

Brink Literary Journal: Gravity
They publish fiction, nonfiction, poetry, translations, and cross-genre work; they’re particularly interested in hybrid/cross-genre submissions. They want work on the ‘Gravity’ theme. “Gravity is an invisible, necessary force of nature. It attracts. It pulls. It governs our days. Gravity is strong enough to hold galaxies together and at the same time is so weak that it can be conquered by a toddler lifting a toy off of the ground.
Let’s talk about this fundamental force of attraction. Tell us stories of movement, of tendency, of acceleration. We want to hear about the moment just before being pulled into the very center of the earth. Send us essays and poems that grapple with gravity’s range. What would happen if certain objects suddenly broke free of their gravitational pull? What shape would the world take if it was not constantly being pulled inward? When has gravity saved your life? What happened right before you fell off the swing? Explore how gravity and grave share the same Latin root.
We are interested in work that focuses on the edge, the brink, of gravity.”
Deadline: 31 January 2023
Length: Up to 3 poems; work of any length for prose
Pay: $25/poem; $50-100 for prose
Details here and here.

Brigids Gate Press: TBD Seers and Sibyls
This is a fiction (including flash) and poetry anthology. The title is yet to be decided; they want work about seers/sibyls/prophets. “We’re looking for stories about the mouthpieces of gods and goddesses. Who interprets their omens, tells their prophecies, sees their visions, and performs their miracles? And to what end?” The work must have a spiritual element (prophecy, omen, vision, conversation with a higher power), and spiritual medium (Seer, Sibyl, Oracle, Shaman, Priestess, Prophet). They can be set in any time period and be in any genre. “Retellings and reimaginings of classic stories are welcome, so long as they offer a new twist.”
Deadline: 31 January 2023
Length: Up to 5,000 words for fiction, up to 500 words for poetry
Pay: $0.08/word for fiction; $50 for poetry
Details here.

The Last Girls Club: Panic
This is a feminist horror magazine and they’re reading fiction and poetry on the ‘Panic’ theme. “Either personal panic, like PTSD or phobias; or global panics like epidemics or famine/water. Get creative. We had a panic over baby formula and cat food in the US this year. The sky is the limit for how civilization or an individual will fall. We’re all holding on by our fingernails these days.”
Deadline: 1 February 2023
Length: Up to 2,500 words; up to 3 poems
Pay: $0.01/word, up to $25; $10 for poetry
Details here.

The First Line Journal
They want fiction and poetry that begins with pre-set first lines, one for each quarterly issue. They also accept 4-part stories (or 5-part, if also ending with the last-line prompt from The Last Line Journal – ‘Samir was never one to back down from a challenge.’ – see guidelines) from writers who want to use all the 4 (or 5) prompts, but all of these must be submitted by the 1 February 2023 deadline. For nonfiction, they want critical articles about your favorite first line from a literary work. For fiction and poetry, the first lines are:
Spring: ‘I am the second Mrs. Roberts.’ Due date: February 1, 2023
Summer: ‘All the lawns on Mentone Avenue are mowed on Wednesdays.’ Due date: May 1, 2023
Fall: ‘As soon as Harriet entered the building, she headed to the seventh floor.’ Due date: August 1, 2023
Winter: ‘It was the farthest north they had ever been.’ Due date: November 1, 2023
Deadlines: 1 February 2023 for the Spring issue, and for 4-part (or 5-part) stories; later for other issues (see above)
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.

Dark Matter Presents: Monster Liars
This is a fiction anthology, “for tales that feature decidedly inhuman monsters that have been sought out and challenged, befriended, protected, or stolen from their own grounds, roots exposed like naked bone. I want writers to spawn a nightmare with sharp claws. … Dark fantasy and horror are a given, but I would especially like to see genre-chimeras: fairytale horror, gothic fantasy, supernatural horror, cosmic horror, and similar hybrids. Experimental narratives and silver-tongued monsters who bite back with humor are most welcome.” Please see their essay linked in the guidelines for additional information on additional insight into ‘monster liars’. A note on the deadline – I could see they are open through January to 5th February 2023 (see Tweet) and I infer, from their guidelines, that the deadline for general submissions is 29th January; there is an extended deadline for marginalized voices, from 30th January to 5th February 2023 (see guidelines).
Deadline: See above
Length: 2,000-4,000 words
Pay: $0.08/word
Details here, here, and here.
(And Dark Matter Magazine will remain open for general submissions of dark sci-fi and horror, including translations, until 15 January 2023. They pay $0.08/word for stories of 1,000 to 5,000 words. Details here.)

Cast of Wonders: Seasonal Holidays
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. During the first two weeks of February, they will read submissions on Seasonal Holidays (e.g. Christmas, Halloween, Valentines and others); see their submission schedule here. They also take submissions from writers who are under 18 years of age, as well as translations and reprints. They have extensive guidelines for Cast of Wonder submissions, please read these carefully. Their submission portal will open for fiction submissions during the reading period.
Reading period: 1-14 February 2023
Length: Up to 6,000 words
Pay: $0.08/word
Details here and here.
(Their sister publication Escape Pod, for science fiction stories, is also open now and has an end-May deadline, according to their schedule.)

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.

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.


THEMED CONTESTS

Penguin WriteNow
This is for UK/Ireland-based writers, for people from a background or community that is currently under-represented in UK and Irish publishing . “This year we are looking exclusively for commercial fiction for adults. This means books with a fast-moving plot and a gripping hook that reels the reader in — fiction novels that will engross and captivate readers. In particular we’re interested in reading compelling love stories, family drama, crime, thriller, and comedy novels.” Part of the application is writing 1,000 words, and synopsis of the proposed novel. This year, for the first time, they are also partnering with BBC Studios – you can read about what that entails here.
Value: $1,000, other non-cash prizes
Deadline: 8 January 2023
Open for: UK/Ireland-based writers
Details here (scroll down for shortlisting phases) and here.

The John F Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest
This is for US high school students in grades 9 through 12. Essays must describe an act of political courage by a US elected official who served during or after 1917, the year John F Kennedy was born. The official may have addressed an issue at the local, state, or national level. Essays should be 700-1,000 words and must quote at least five sources.
Value: $10,000, $3,000, $1,000 each for finalists, $100 each for semi-finalists
Deadline: 13 January 2023
Open for: US high school students
Details here (also click on tabs on the page for various details)


Fourteen Hills: Stacey Doris Memorial Poetry Award
This is a poetry contest – send one poem of 3 to 10 pages. Their guidelines say, “Stacy Doris was a poet, translator, and an Associate Professor in San Francisco State University’s Department of Creative Writing, where she taught for ten years. … Doris created new worlds with her unexpected poetics. Following upon her spirit of creative invention, engaging wit and ingenious playfulness, discovery in construction, and radical appropriations based on classical forms, pastiche, etc., and love, the Stacy Doris Memorial Poetry Award is given to a poet with a truly inventive spirit.” Works that don’t win will be considered for publication in Fourteen Hills.
Value: $500
Deadline: 15 January 2023
Open for: Unspecified
Details here

Walter Muir Whitehill Prize in Early American History
This prize is for an essay on early American history (up to 1825), not previously published, with preference being given to New England subjects. Essays should be 40-60 pages, and can be emailed (as both PDF and Word attachments – see here) or mailed.
Value: $2,500
Deadline: 15 January 2023 (postmarked)
Open for: Unspecified
Details here, here, and here.

Discoveries 2023
This prize is run by The Women’s Prize Trust, Audible, Curtis Brown Literary Agency, and Curtis Brown Creative writing school. It is for UK- and Ireland-based women writers, for a novel-in-progress in the adult fiction genre – send the first 10,000 words and a synopsis. Apart from a cash prize, the winner also gets literary representation. There are also non-cash prizes for shortlisted and longlisted writers.
Value: £5,000
Deadline: 15 January 2023
Open for: UK- and Ireland-based women writers
Details here.

Zócalo Public Square Poetry Prize
They want poetry from US poets whose poem best evokes a connection to place. “The prize interprets “place” in many ways: A place may possess historical, cultural, political, or personal importance, and may be literal, imaginary, or metaphorical.” Please read the conditions at the bottom of the page carefully.
Value: $1,000
Deadline: 23 January 2023
Open for: US poets
Details here.
(Poets in the US upper Midwest may be interested in Milkweed Editions’ Ballard Spahr Prize for Poetry for a poetry manuscript, of 48 or more pages. They will award $10,000, a royalty contract, and publication. The deadline is 15 January 2023. Details here.)


The Nine Dots Prize
This is a prize for creative thinking that tackles contemporary societal issues. For this cycle, the question is: ‘Why has the rule of law become so fragile?’ Entrants have to respond to a question in 3,000 words, and provide an outline showing how they would expand their response into a short book of 25,000-40,000 words, backed up with relevant research and evidence. The winner will receive editorial support from Cambridge University Press, and the opportunity to spend a term at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH), at Cambridge University, to help develop their ideas and focus on their writing. “The aim of the Prize is to promote, encourage and engage innovative thinking to address problems facing the modern world. The name of the Prize references the nine dots puzzle – a lateral thinking puzzle which can only be solved by thinking outside the box.” They want submissions from both established names and emerging talent, including those who may not have been published before.
Value: $100,000, residency, publication
Deadline: 23 January 2023
Open for: All writers
Details here and here.

International Young Theatre Playwriting Contest
This prize is for bold and powerful plays for young audiences (no plays for children or adult audiences, or musicals), written in any official European language. Performance time for Category A is 60-120 minutes and for Category B, 30-60 minutes. They accept plays co-authored by more than one writer. The play must be a new and original piece of work. Writers of any age or nationality can enter the contest.
Value: €2,400 for Category A, €1,000 for Category B, €400 for Category C, and other non-cash prizes
Deadline: 31 January 2023
Open for: All playwrights
Details here.
(There’s also the Papatango New Writing Prize for plays by UK/Ireland-based writers. The prize is £7,000 + royalties, with £500 for shortlisted entries. The deadline is 5 February 2023. Details here.)

Speculative Literature Foundation: A. C. Bose Grant
This grant supports South Asian or South Asian diaspora writers developing speculative fiction. Work that is accessible to older children and teens will be given preference. “This grant, as with all SLF grants, is intended to help writers working with speculative literature. Speculative literature spans the breadth of fantastic writing, encompassing literature ranging from hard science fiction to epic fantasy, including ghost stories, horror, folk and fairy tales, slipstream, magical realism, and more. Any piece of literature containing a fabulist or speculative element would fall under our aegis.” A writing sample of up to 5,000 words is part of the application. Applicants need not have prior publishing credits to apply.
Value: $1,000
Deadline: 31 January 2023
Open for: South Asian/South Asian diaspora writers
Details here; the schedule for their other upcoming grants is here.

Jerry Jazz Musician Short Fiction Contest
The magazine runs a short story contest thrice a year. Readers of this magazine are interested in music, social history, literature, politics, art, film and theater, particularly that of the counter-culture of mid-twentieth century America. While the writing should appeal to a reader with these interests, stories can be on any theme. Stories should be up to 3,000 words, but up to 4,000 words will be considered.
Value: $150
Deadline: 31 January 2023
Open for: All writers
Details here.

Imagine Little Tokyo Short Story Contest
This is a short fiction contest run by the Little Tokyo Historical Society in Los Angeles. Stories must take place in Little Tokyo, and can be set in the past, present, or future. Stories can be in Japanese (5,000 ji or fewer) or English (up to 2,500 words). There are three categories: Youth (under 18s), Japanese, and English. Contest winners will be invited and encouraged to attend an awards ceremony in Little Tokyo to be held in spring 2023.
Value: $1,000 in each category
Deadline: 31 January 2022
Open for: Unspecified
Details here (download the guidelines and agreement form).

Harlequin: Romance Includes You Mentorship
This is an opportunity for a US/Canada based writer who is looking to publish their debut romance book, and is unrepresented by an agent; they are particularly interested in writers from an underrepresented community (including but not limited to: writers who identify as Black, Indigenous, People of Color, biracial and multiracial; writers in LGBTQ+ communities; members of marginalized ethnic and religious cultures; writers with disabilities; and writers identifying as neurodiverse). “We are looking to work with a writer with an interest in writing category romance whose story can be published in one of Harlequin’s 11 romance lines (excluding Carina Press and Carina Adores).” Some of the submission requirements are the first 5,000 words of the novel and a synopsis; also, “these novels are typically 50,000 to 70,000 words in length and are trope-based … Your story may include characters that share your background, community or culture but this is not a requirement. We are open to romance stories with all gender and identity pairings.” They will begin accepting submissions for this mentorship from 1st January 2023, which is also when the Submittable portal for this category will open on the Harlequin website; upload your submission to the “Romance Includes You Mentorship” category when it opens up here.
Value: $5,000, mentorship, and publication
Deadline: 31 January 2023 (see FAQ).
Open for: US/Canada based writers (see guidelines)
Details here.

The John Bryne Award
This is an award for Scotland-based creatives. While the award is for creative work in all disciplines, and on any topic, they are keen on “artistic work which examines societal or personal values, ideals or beliefs and has the potential to create an interesting real-life debate or discussion.
Your work should not only be of high quality, but it should also have an accompanying rationale which clearly articulates how your submission is relevant to these aims.” Written work is to be up to 5,000 words, and audio/video, up to 15 minutes. Works must have a written rationale explaining how it meets the John Byrne Award criteria; i.e. what ideas your work communicates, and why these are important.  There will be monthly winners chosen through the year, with an overall winner chosen annually. Please note, all entries will be posted online – read their terms and conditions carefully.
Value: Annual award of £2,500; monthly awards of £250
Deadline: 31 January 2023 for the annual award
Open for: Scotland-based writers
Details here.

St. Gallen Symposium Global Essay Competition
This is an international contest for young writers; they want a themed essay of 2,100 words, on the best or worst legacy from previous generations: How to preserve or replace it? – see guidelines for details of the two themes writers can submit essays on. To be eligible, writers must be enrolled in a graduate or postgraduate programme (master level or higher) in any field of study at a regular university, and be born in 1993 or later.
Value: CHF20,000, split between three winners; they’ll also cover travel, accommodation, and admission to the symposium in Switzerland
Deadline: 1 February 2023
Open for: See above
Details here.

Deep Wild 2023 Graduate Student Poetry Contest
This is an international 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.”
Value: The top prize is $300
Deadline: 1 February 2023
Open for: Students currently enrolled in graduate studies
Details here and here.

Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Award
They want a short story, of up to 8,000 words, that shows the near future (no more than about 50-60 years out) of manned space exploration. They want to see Moon bases, Mars colonies, orbital habitats, space elevators, asteroid mining, artificial intelligence, nano-technology, realistic spacecraft, heroics, sacrifice, adventure. They do not want stories that show technology or space travel as evil or bad, galactic empires, paranormal elements, UFO abductions, zombie stories, thinly veiled copies of previous winners, non-standalone novel excerpts, or screenplays.
Value: 8c/word, and various non-cash awards
Deadline: 1 February 2023
Open for: All writers
Details here.
(They also have a fantasy short story contest, the Baen Fantasy Adventure Award, which pays $0.08/word for stories of up to 8,000 words in all fantasy genres, and will open for submissions from 1st  February to 30th April 2023.)

Biographers International Organization: The Frances “Frank” Rollin Fellowship
They offer two fellowships, open to all biographers anywhere in the world who are writing in English, who are working on a biography of an African American figure or figures whose story provides a significant contribution to our understanding of the Black experience, and who are at any stage in the writing of a book-length biography. A publishing contract is not required for eligibility. Memoirs are not eligible. The application includes an excerpt of up to 20 pages. The Biographers International Organization also has other awards, some of which are open for all writers, as well as other resources. 
Value: Two fellowships of $5,000 each
Deadline: 1 February 2023
Open for: See above
Details here.
(There’s also the AKO Caine Prize for African Writing, for a published short story by an African writer – someone who is a national of an African country, or who has a parent who is African by birth or nationality. The story must have been published in the five years preceding the submissions deadline. Submissions have to be made by publishers only. Works published in translation are also eligible. The prize is £10,000, and £500 for four short-listed candidates. The deadline is 26 January 2023. Details here and here.)

(See a few more contests below. Most of them have later deadlines, and aren’t necessarily themed:

— Philip Roth Residence in Creative Writing, for US writers, is offered by Bucknell University, and provides writing time of up to four months. It’s for writers of any literary genre: fiction, creative non-fiction, or poetry. Writers should be working on a first or second book of fiction or creative nonfiction. There are two residencies, in fall and spring semesters. Some record of publication is desirable. They will award $5,000 and a residency. The deadline is 1 February 2023. Details here.

BBC International Radio Playwriting Competition for those outside the UK – they want a radio play of approximately 53 minutes (9,000-10,000 words) – see guidelines for other requirements; you can enter singly or in a group. Prizes are £2,500, and other non-cash prizes. There are two categories – English as a First Language, and English as a Second Language. The deadline is 12 February 2022, details here and here.

The Welkin Writing Prize is for a piece of narrative prose of up to 400 words. “The competition is open to all forms of narrative prose, be that flash fiction, short-short, vignette, haibun, hermit crab, prose poem or work that sits outside such labels.” The prizes are £150, £75, and £50; there are other prizes of £25 each – for a writer with a disability or chronic health condition, LGBTQ+ writer, working class writer, writer whose first (or home) language isn’t English, carer for an adult dependent, new writer, as well as for historical fiction, speculative fiction, and humorous prose. The deadline is 28 February 2022, details here.

Homebound Publications – The Prism Prize for Climate Literature for UK- and US-based authors. It is for a work of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry manuscript in the genre of climate literature. The final manuscript of up to 75,000 words (for fiction and nonfiction) and a market assessment and/or statement of marketing intentions are part of the submission requirement. The prize is $1,000, and a publication contract. The deadline is 28 February 2023. Details here and here.

National Endowment for the Arts’ Creative Writing Fellowships for US writers – they are accepting applications for prose (fiction and creative non-fiction) this year, awards are up to $25,000, and the deadline is 8 March 2023, details here. They also have a translation fellowship, with an earlier deadline, 12th January 2023, details 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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