Written by S. Kalekar

41 Themed Calls for Submissions for February 2022

These are calls for themed submissions and contests for writers of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Some of the themed submission calls are: juice; play; Halloween; weather (as it relates to fairy tales); mirrors; ancestors; the last five minutes of a storm; resilience; peculiar monstrosities; dispatch; energy; and great wars. Not all of these are open for submissions now, but most of them are. Also see this list for more themed calls; a few deadlines are coming up.

THEMED SUBMISSIONS

The Suburban Review: Juice
This Australian literary magazine publishes fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. They’re reading submissions on the ‘Juice’ theme: “We want the juicy details. Whether it’s the pleasure and difficulty of life’s pulpy bits, the sweat on the outside of the bottle on a summer evening, cold-pressed, bodily, or bin juice–we’re craving it. This issue’s prompt might be taken quite literally, or as a cue for any number of sensibilities. Can a poem speak juicily? How does non-fiction squeeze the good and bad stuff out of the world? What kind of story can be consumed through a straw? Send us your thoughts on any of the above.”
Deadline: 13 February 2022
Length: 500-2,500 words for prose; up to 3 poems
Pay: Up to AUD275
Details here.

filling Station: Play
This Canadian literary magazine is open to works on the ‘Play’ theme. They publish poetry, fiction (including short-short and novel excerpts), non-fiction – experimental interviews, articles, reviews, and creative nonfiction, and visual art.
Deadline: 15 February 2022
Length: Up to 10 pages for prose,
Pay: CAD50
Details here.

Air and Nothingness Press: Orpheus + Eurydice Unbound anthology
This is a fiction anthology. They want reinterpretations of the Orpheus/Eurydice myth in a variety of genres; the book will be divided into four parts, one for each section of the myth – The Wedding, The Snake, The Quest, and The Look Back (see guidelines).
Deadline: 15 February 2022
Length: 1,000-3,000 words
Pay: $0.08/word
Details here (scroll down).
(They will also open submissions in May for ‘The Librarian’ themed speculative fiction anthology – do not send submissions now.)

Apparition Lit: Wanterlust
This magazine publishes themed speculative fiction and poetry quarterly. They will open submissions from 15 to 28 February on the ‘Wanderlust’ theme; they are open for all writers for two weeks, and have an extended submission period for BIPOC-only authors. They have also announced the open reading periods and themes that will open up later in the year; submissions for the Omen theme will open in May, and for the Nostalgia theme, in August.
(Apart from quarterly themed issues, they also are open from 1st to 14th of every month for a speculative flash fiction challenge, based on photographic prompts – all the prompts for 2022 are on their website; pay is $30 for these, and they want stories of up to 1,000 words.)
Reading period: For Wanderlust, 15-28 February 2022 for all writers; 1-7 March for BIPOC authors only
Length: 1,000-5,000 words for fiction; up to 5 poems
Pay: $0.05/word for fiction, $50 per poem
Details here.

Cast of Wonders: Halloween
Cast of Wonders is the young adult online magazine and podcast from the Escape Artists suite of magazines. They will open for Halloween-themed submissions for a week in February. They have extensive guidelines about the kind of work they publish, please read these before submitting. They also accept reprints.
Reading period: 21-28 February 2022 (see schedule)
Length: Up to 6,000 words
Pay: $0.08/word
Details here.

Rough Cut Press: Soil
They publish work by LGBTQ+ artists – fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. They are open year-round, with cut-off dates for themed issues. They are reading submissions on the ‘Soil’ theme. According to their website, “We seek personal, lyrical, critical, and experimental work in under 650 words.”
Deadline: 27 February 2022
Length: Up to 650 words
Pay: $25
Details here.

Queer Weird West anthology
They want fiction and narrative submissions for the Queer Weird West anthology. “This hybrid subgenre requires three elements: Queer: At least one main character belongs to the LGBTQ+ spectrum, defined in whatever way seems natural to them.
Weird: The story contains a speculative fiction element, drawing on fantasy, horror, or science fiction.
West: The setting is the Old West – or the time and place of any other frontier.”
Deadline: 28 February 2022
Length: 3,000-10,000 words
Pay: $30-50
Details here.

Speculative City
This is a quarterly speculative works magazine featuring literary works that explore themes, characters, and landscapes exclusive to urban environments. This submission window is only for authors who identify as queer AND BIPOC. “We seek provocative fiction, poetry, and essays that are center on queer life, as seen through a BIPOC lens, in a speculative city—cities are vital spaces of community that act as a welcome ground and place of exploration.”
Deadline: 28 February 2022
Length: One prose piece; up to 5 poems
Pay: $20-55
Details here.

Haven Speculative: Dry and Wet issues
They publish speculative fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and translations; they are open for submissions from all writers, and for submissions by underrepresented writers, during alternate months (see guidelines). In February, they’re open for submissions from all writers. They publish two themed issues yearly on climate emergency: the Dry issue, published in March, relates to “dry aspects of climate change—desertification and falling reservoirs, rising temperatures and endless droughts.” The Wet issue, published in September, focuses “on stories of water—monsoons and the rising tides, hurricanes and the disappearing coast”. Stories by climate refugees are welcome. They have no deadlines specified for their themed issues. “To submit a story for the theme, make sure to mention in your cover letter how your submission relates to the theme and, if you’d like, how you’ve been personally affected by the crisis at hand.” For their four unthemed issues, they are open to a wide variety of stories across the SFF and weird spectra.
Deadline: 28 February 2022 for submissions from all writers (see guidelines for schedule)
Length: Up to 6,000 words for fiction, up to 3,000 words for nonfiction, poems of any length
Pay: $5-10 for poetry, $0.01/word for prose
Details here.

Enchanted Conversation: A Fairy Tale Magazine — Weather
They publish fairy tales – new fairy tales or mashups of fairy tales. Their next reading period is in March. Their guidelines say, “The theme for 2022 is “weather.” That means rain, blizzards, hail, lightning, hurricanes, thunder, heat, clouds. … It does not need to be a major part of a story or poem, but it does need to be discernibly part of the work. … It means you should submit works that have at least an element of the theme above. You may retell an existing fairy tale or use a story for a jumping off place for your poem or story. You can mashup two or more fairy tales. The theme may figure into your work in subtle or large ways. … Remember, stories and poems must have the theme in them, even though it needn’t be a huge part of the story. You do not have to write about magic, but do bear in mind that all fairy tale related fiction and poetry needs an element of the supernatural—as well as transformation.” They also publish nonfiction, and themed poetry. They will have some brief open reading periods in 2022, from the 1st to the 3rd of these months: March, May, August, and October.
Reading period: 1st to 3rd March 2022; see above for other reading periods
Length: 750-1,000 words for fiction and nonfiction, any length for poetry
Pay: $50
Details here.
(Submissions are currently open for a Folklore & Fairytales themed issue from Qwerty; they want fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and art. Pay is CAD10, and the deadline is 15 February 2022.)

Hawk and Cleaver: The Other Stories – Six themes
They publish horror, sci-fi, and thriller fiction on their podcast, The Other Stories, according to their website. They want tales that terrify, scar and haunt. They have several themed call deadlines coming up; and writers can send up to two stories per theme.
— Mirrors; deadline 1st March 2022
— Crime; deadline 15th March 2022
— Haunting; deadline 1st April 2022
— Octopuses; deadline 15th April 2022
— Ageing; deadline 1st May 2022
— Faeries; deadline 15th May 2022
Deadlines: Various (see above)
Length: Up to 2,000 words
Pay: £15
Details here (click on submission form for length and payment details).

Thema – Three themes

They publish fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. They also accept artwork. They’re reading submissions on three themes currently: To the Pond (deadline 1 March 2022); The Crumpled Yellow Paper (deadline 1 July 2022); and So THAT’s Why (deadline 1 November 2022). The premise (target theme) must be an integral part of the plot, not necessarily the central theme but not merely incidental. They accept only mailed submissions from US-based writers; overseas writers can email their submissions.
Deadlines: 1 March 2022 for To the Pond (postmarked); later for others (see above)
Length: Fewer than 20 double-spaced typewritten pages preferred; up to 3 poems
Pay: $10-25 for fiction, $10 for poetry
Details here.

Parabola: Ancestors
This is a quarterly journal that explores the quest for meaning as it is expressed in the world’s myths, symbols, and religious traditions, with particular emphasis on the relationship between this store of wisdom and our modern life. They accept original essays and translations. Their guidelines say, “We look for lively, penetrating material unencumbered by jargon or academic argument. We prefer well-researched, objective, and unsentimental pieces that are grounded in one or more religious or cultural tradition; articles that focus on dreams, visions, or other very personal experiences are unlikely to be accepted.” They publish articles (1,000-3,000 words), book reviews (500 words), retellings of traditional stories (500-1,500 words), forum contributions (up to 500 words), and poetry (up to 5 poems). Currently, they are looking for work on the ‘Ancestors’ theme; they have other themes listed as well, with later deadlines; namely, Belonging, and Transformations.
Deadline: 1 March 2022 for Ancestors; later for others (see guidelines)
Length: Various; see above
Pay: Unspecified
Details here.

Planet Bizarro Press: Peculiar Monstrosities
Peculiar Monstrosities is an anthology of bizarre monsters. “They could be bloodthirsty, benevolent, pets, or whatever else you can dream up. Keep in mind that this is first and foremost BIZARRO, although we also love horror, humour, and stories with a message (subtle). Keep it weird, wacky, and bizarre.” (They’re also open for bizarro novel and novella submissions.)
Deadline: 1 March 2022
Length: 4,000-7,000 words
Pay: £20
Details here.

(Submissions are also open for an anthology from Splatter Ink Publishing, Cryptid Carnage, horror stories involving cryptids attacking people. Pay is $25, and the deadline is 1 April 2022.)

Sans. Press: The Last Five Minutes of a Storm
They are reading fiction submissions for an anthology, and the theme is ‘The Last Five Minutes of a Storm’. They are looking for stories of all genres that respond to this theme/their cover art (see website). They have detailed guidelines, including, “How does it feel to be in the eye of the hurricane? What does it mean to know that the storm will vanish very soon, if only you can hold on a second longer? Now that the monster is defeated, can the hero make it out of the maze? Do they still want to?” Also, “We are not requesting any specific genres for this edition, so they are all welcome – sci-fi, literary, fantasy, romance, horror, noir, non-fiction – as long as they reveal a piece of reality that might have otherwise gone unnoticed.”
Deadline: 7 March 2022
Length: Up to 5,000 words
Pay: €150
Details here.

Mascara Literary Review: Resilience
Mascara Literary Review is an Australia-based journal. They want submissions of fiction (including flash fiction), nonfiction, and poetry on the ‘Resilience’ theme for their first print anthology. Their guidelines say, “Resilience looks upwards to the ever-changing, ever-present skies, where fingers and fist touch the horizon. Resilience is often deeply imagined and hard won. Resilience, by turn, is fervent, supple, rhizomatic, generative. Like the beguiling evenness of an orchid, resilience is enduring and delicate.
Against the odds, the impediments and rigid boundaries that may limit our lives, we channel resilience as our guide and our key to rejuvenation and regeneration. Resilience offers a futuristic and promising gaze into the future: What does it look like? How did we get here? What have we lost and/or inherited?”
Deadline: 11 March 2022
Length: Up to 3,000 words for prose; up to 3 poems
Pay: AUD200
Details here.

Book of Witches anthology
This is an anthology project from Harper Voyager, for BIPOC writers only. They want submissions on the ‘Witches’ theme – “more specifically your witch and what it means to you”. They want fiction submissions only, not poetry, for the open call (see guidelines and the comments section on the guidelines page). They do not want explicit content.
Deadline: They are open to submissions from the 14th-18 March 2022.
Length: Up to 6,000 words
Pay: $0.08/word
Details here.

Work, and Free Time anthology
This is a project from Funemployument Press. They want science fiction and fantasy submissions for their Spring anthology, and the theme is ‘Work, and Free Time’.
Deadline: 14 March 2022
Length: 1,000-5,000 words
Pay: CAD20
Details here.

Eye to the Telescope: Notional Ekphrasis
Eye to the Telescope is a journal of speculative poetry, and they want submissions on the ‘Notional Ekphrasis’ theme. Their guidelines say, “Ekphrastic poetry consists of poems based on visual art; “Musée des Beaux Arts” by W. H. Auden is a classic example. The work does not necessarily need to be described in the poem, nor is it considered necessary to view the image in order to appreciate the resultant poem.
Notional works of art are those that do not actually exist; fiction (and poetry) are replete with instances of these; another classic example is “My Last Duchess” by Robert Browning.
Notional exphrastic poems, therefore, would be poems inspired by works of art that exist only in your own imagination (or that of others), from any period in time or space.” They also accept translations.
Deadline: 15 March 2022
Length: Up to 3 poems
Pay: $0.03/word, up to $25
Details here.

Love Letters to Poe: The Fall of the House of Usher
They want original gothic short stories and poems inspired by Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’. The first submission is free, and additional submissions are charged.
Deadline: 31 March 2022
Length: Up to 3,000 words
Pay: $5
Details here.

(Submissions are also open for some anthologies from HellBound Books, including Madame Gray’s Poe-Pourri of Terror – “Lifelong Edgar Allan Poe fan, Madame Gray, is in search of horror tales that pay homage to one of the greats of the genre. Whether you gravitate toward The Raven, The Tell-Tale Heart, Murders in the Rue Morgue, or the Masque of the Red Death, she wants to read your story…”. Pay is $5, and the deadline is 1 September 2022. The publisher is also open for other anthologies in 2022, see guidelines for details: Hellbound Sci-Fi;
Kids are Hell!;
In Celebration of Splatterpunk;
Vampires and Such; and
Beautiful Tragedies 3 – a poetry anthology.)

Triangulation: Energy
They want fantasy, science fiction, weird fiction, and speculative horror submissions for their anthology and the theme is Energy, sustainable energy. They have extensive guidelines, including “This year we’re looking for stories that explore the possibility of creating sustainable energy with alternative technologies and/or social change.”
Deadline: 31 March 2022
Length: Up to 5,000 words
Pay: $0.03/word
Details here.
(They also have a fiction contest; the theme is Herth, Song, and Table; the top prize is $200, and the deadline is 1 May 2022.)

Lost Boys Press: Great Wars anthology
This is a fiction anthology. “Write a story about a historical war of any culture and any era and change one aspect of it to see how the war might change and explore from there!
Examples: How would the Revolutionary War change if soldiers on all sides had access to advanced weapons, such as those which are laser-powered?” Every genre qualifies, and “We encourage gender fluidity, gender-bending, LGBTQIA+ retellings, and whatever else feels appropriate to YOU for the story you want to tell.”
Deadline: 1 April 2022
Length: 3,000-9,000 words
Pay: $50
Details here.

(And Consequence Forum is open for fiction, various types of nonfiction, reviews, and poetry on the human consequences of war and geopolitical violence. Pay is $20-80, and the deadline is 15 April 2022.)

Sovereign: An Anthology of Black Fantasy Fiction
This is a project by Pride, which runs the Aurealia Leo imprint. For their ‘Sovereign’ anthology, they want stories by Black writers only, from flash to novella-length. The sub-genres are: Heroic; Mythic; Flintlock; Gaslamp; Medieval; Religious; Weird West; Arcanepunk; High/Epic Fantasy; Sword and Soul/Planet; Noblebright/Nobledark; Fables/Fairytale Retellings. They also accept reprints. They will accept up to two submissions from writers – one original fiction, and one reprint.
Deadline: 16 July 2022, or until filled
Length: 1,000-39,999 words
Pay: $0.08/word for the first 1,000 words, $0.01/word thereafter
Details here.

(Submissions are also open for Orion’s Beau, a new gay fantasy arts & literary journal. They want fiction, poetry, and art. Pay is $3. They accept work on an ongoing basis; to submit to the inaugural issue, the deadline is 20 February 2022.)

The Bureau Dispatch: Dispatch
They want fiction submissions, in all genres, on the Dispatch theme.
“We are open to all narratives, but are currently partial to ones that explore the theme of DISPATCH:
verb
1. to send off to a destination or for a purpose.
2. to deal with (something or someone) quickly and efficiently.
noun
1. the sending of someone or something to a destination or for a purpose.
2. a report.”
There is no deadline specified; submissions are open now.
Deadline: Open now
Length: 500-1,500 words
Pay: $50
Details here.

THEMED CONTESTS

Olive B. O’Connor Fellowship in Creative Writing
For this cycle, there is one fellowship each, open to writers of poetry and fiction, completing their first book. It provides a stipend and office space. Each fellow teaches a creative writing workshop at Colgate University each semester and gives a public reading of his or her work. Those who have completed MFA, MA or PhD in creative writing and working on their first book are encouraged to apply.
Value: $42,745, travel expenses, health and life insurance; residency at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York
Deadline: 15 February 2022
Open for: Unspecified
Details here.

University of Pittsburgh: The 2022 Center for African American Poetry and Poetics Book Prize
This is for a poetry manuscript, of 48-168 pages. The prize will be awarded to a first or second book by a writer of African descent and is open to the full range of writers embodying African and African diasporic experience. The book can be of any genre that is, or intersects with, poetry, including poetry, hybrid work, speculative prose, and/or translation.
Value: $3,000
Deadline: 15 February 2022
Open for: Writers of African descent
Details here.

NYU Journalism: The Matthew Power Literary Reporting Award
They are open for the Matthew Power Literary Reporting Award. This is for promising early-career non-fiction writers to research and write an article that tells the truth about a human condition.
Deadline: 16 February 2022 for proposals
Value: Up to $12,500
Open for: All journalists, early career non-fiction writers
Details here and here.
(They’re also open for a Reporting Award, which also pays up to $12,500 and is “for a significant work of journalism, in any medium, on an under-reported subject in the public interest.” The deadline is 23 February 2022 for applications, and 6 December 2022 to deliver the final work.)

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.
Value: $500 in each category
Deadline: 28 February 2022
Open for: Unspecified
Details here.

Neukom Institute Literary Arts Award for Playwriting
Playwrights have to write to a prompt: What does it mean to be a human in a computerized world? Apart from a cash award, the winner also gets a workshop, and a public reading.
Value: $5,000
Reading period: 1 February-28 February 2022
Open for: All playwrights
Details here.

Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize
This is for a previously unpublished, full-length manuscript of literary nonfiction. “Graywolf awards the Nonfiction Prize to a previously unpublished, full-length work of outstanding literary nonfiction by a writer who is not yet established in the genre.
The Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize seeks to acknowledge—and honor—the great traditions of literary nonfiction. Whether grounded in observation, autobiography, or research, much of the most beautiful, daring, and original writing over the past few decades can be categorized as nonfiction.” The submission portal for this prize will open in February.
Value: Unspecified
Reading period: 1-28 February 2022
Open for: Unspecified
Details here.

Hippocrates Young Poets Prize for Poetry and Medicine
This is an annual international award for an unpublished poem on a medical subject. Poems must be no more than 50 lines in length and not have previously been published in any form. They must be written in English. They also have prizes for adults and medical professionals, which have an entry fee, and an earlier deadline.
Value: £500
Deadline: 1 March 2022
Open for: All poets ages 14-18
Details here and here.

Deep Wild: Student Essay Contest
This is a contest for students currently enrolled in graduate studies. Send an essay of up to 3,000 words that is backcountry infused and inspired.
Value: Unspecified cash prize for up to three authors, publication
Deadline: 1 March 2022
Open for: Students enrolled in graduate studies
Details here.

On the Premises: Short Story Contest
This is a short fiction contest. They want a story on the Arrival theme, of 1,000-5,000 words, in which, in the first sentence, one or more characters arrive at a location and find something unexpected.
Value: $250, $200, $150, $75
Deadline: 4 March 2022
Open for: All writers
Details here and here.

A few contests with later deadlines are:
The Fountain Essay ContestThey want an essay of ideally 1,500-2,500 words on the theme, of (post-pandemic) ‘Revival’ – see guidelines for details. Prizes are $1,000, $500, $300, and two prizes of $150 each; the deadline is 1 April 2022.
The Marguerite and Lamar Smith Fellowship for WritersThese three-month fellowships are to afford writers uninterrupted time to focus on their work at an apartment in Carson McCuller’s childhood home in Columbus, Georgia. A spouse or companion is welcome. The application includes a writing sample of up to 20 pages. The grant is $5,000, and the deadline is 1 April 2022.
the Baen Fantasy Adventure Award – They want stories in all fantasy genres and pay $0.08/word for work up to 8,000 words; will read submissions from 1 February to 30 April 2022. (They also have a science fiction contest, with a 1st February deadline – see the section above.)

 

Bio: S. Kalekar is the pseudonym of a regular contributor to this magazine. She is the author of 182 Short Fiction Publishers. She can be reached here.

 

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