Written by S. Kalekar May 1st, 2023

45 Themed Submission Calls and Contests for May 2023

These are themed calls and contests for fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Some of the themed calls are: spice, underwater creepies, climate change, overcoming, haunted, creature, Sapphic villains, playlist of the damned, into the forest, rhapsody of the spheres, and open all night.


The Suburban Review: Spice
This Australian magazine wants submissions of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, comics, and art on the Spice theme. “Stories of spice can be told through meals cooked in suburban kitchens, histories of trade, exchange, and migration, good gossip,  plants grown in backyards and window boxes, or recollections of five girl-powered pop stars from the nineties. Tell us your spicy tales through poetry that zings in the throat, fiction that warms from the inside, and essays that will break us out into a sweat. Send us redolent, evocative artworks in any 2D medium, and comics with an unexpected kick.”
Deadline: 3 May 2023
Length: 1,000-2,500 words for fiction, 500-2,500 words for nonfiction, up to 3 poems
Pay: AUD150-275 for prose, and AUD125-275 for poetry
Details here.

Horns & Rattles Press: Underwater Creepies
They want horror science fiction and fantasy stories, with an emphasis on below the water. Neither hard fantasy nor hard sci-fi are preferred. “Underwater creatures that lurk beneath the depths. Angler fish and merfolk. Seaweed and tides. Storms and choppy waters. Wet and wriggling. Calm on the surface.” Please note, Underwater Creepies is not the anthology title, but it is the theme. And, “All contributors will be provided one copy of the book, and Horns and Rattles Press will cover shipping fees up to $20.”
Deadline: 11 May 2023
Length: Up to 4,000 words
Pay: $20
Details here.

Shoreline of Infinity: Climate Change
This is a speculative fiction magazine, and they have a special call on Climate Change. They have detailed guidelines, including, “While I’m looking more for hopeful and utopian visions, I’m not strictly against narratives that focus more on the consequences of climate change. However, darker or dystopian stories should still be centred around themes and commentary on the impacts, rather than just a world where climate change is present or climate collapse inevitable. I’d also prefer all stories in this issue to hint at hope, or solution, even if it’s not come to fruition in the story’s world yet.”
Deadline: 11 May 2023
Length: Up to 6,000 words
Pay: $20 per 1,000 words
Details here and here.

Intrepidus Ink: Two themes
They want literary and genre fiction, including flash (no horror, erotica, or children’s fiction). They want submissions on Intrepid and Overcoming themes.
Deadline: 15 May 2023
Length: 300-1,000 words
Pay: $0.02/word for stories of 300-1,000 words, and $30 for stories of 1,500-2,500 words
Details here.

Unnerving Books: Crime stories
The editor wants crime stories for a yet-unnamed anthology; the call was also announced on Twitter. “I want gritty stories. Think Jim Thompson, James M. Cain, Sara Gran, Jo Nesbo. I also like humorous stuff with a dark edge. Think Donald Westlake, Adam Howe, Brian Evenson. I like twists. I like oddity. I like violence.
Now, for what I don’t want: no police procedurals, no copaganda, nothing supernatural, no rape revenge stories, nothing pro-religion, and nothing cozy or soft.”
Deadline: 15 May 2023
Length: 1,500-8,000 words (2,500-4,000 preferred)
Pay: $0.01/word
Details here.
(The press is also accepting submissions, while the Unnerving Magazine is closed.)

Prairie Fire: Haunted – Things That Keep You Up At Night
This Canadian magazine publishes fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, and they have a special call on the Haunted theme. Their website says, “This fall, Prairie Fire is taking a deep dive into what haunts us. What keeps you up at night? Is it thoughts of regret about what you did or didn’t do, said or didn’t say, the risks you didn’t take? Or, maybe the pain of the past comes to visit, specters of history we’ve inherited through family or societal trauma? What do these hauntings teach us, and how do we cope with them? Can we finally put the old ghosts to bed, or have we learned to live with them?
Not all hauntings are unwelcome. Sometimes an idea or dream, repeatedly whispered in our ears at night, can lead us to take personal action, give rise to radical change, create new movement in our lives, or inspire acts of great artistic expression. Sometimes, ghosts can be helpful.” Also, the magazine “encourages submissions from LGBTQI2S writers, BIPOC writers, differently-abled writers, and all who are otherwise affected by structural inequality.”
Deadline: 26 May 2023
Length: Up to 5,000 words for prose, up to 3 poems
Pay: CAD0.10/word for prose up to CAD250, CAD40/poem for print, varies for others
Details here and here.

Hawk and Cleaver: The Other Stories Podcast – Three themes
Hawk and Cleaver publishes horror, sci-fi, and thriller fiction on their podcast, The Other Stories. They want tales that terrify, scar and haunt. They have listed the themes for 2023 on their website; these include:  Mazes (deadline 27 May 2023); Artificial Intelligence (deadline 24 June 2023); Rituals (deadline 22 July 2023). Themes with deadlines later in the year are: Masks, Fame, Crime, Infestation, and The End.
Deadlines: See above
Length: Up to 2,000 words
Pay: £15
Details here (click on submission form for length and payment details).

Apparition Lit: Creature
This is a quarterly speculative fiction and poetry magazine. Their website says, “Speculative fiction is weird, almost unclassifiable. It’s fantasy, sci-fi, horror, and literary. We want it all. Send us your strange, misshapen stories.” They will read submissions on the Creature theme for two weeks in May 2023; also see the note about their equity initiative in the guidelines here (scroll down).
Reading period: 15-31 May 2023 for general submissions on the theme; an additional week for writers who self-identify as BIPOC in their cover letter, see here
Length: 1,000-5,000 words for fiction, up to 5 poems
Pay: $0.05/word for stories, and $50/poem
Details here and here.
(They also publish flash fiction online on monthly prompts.)

Cast of Wonders: Banned Books Week
Cast of Wonders publishes young adult fantasy, science fiction, and horror in podcast and online format; it is published by the Escape Artists’ suite of magazines. They welcome work by young writers (writers under 18) during all their submission periods. They also accept translations and reprints. They have extensive guidelines, please read these carefully. Their submission portal will open for fiction submissions during the reading period, and will also have details on the Banned Books Week theme for 2023.
Reading period: 15-31 May 2023
Length: Up to 6,000 words
Pay: $0.08/word
Details here (guidelines) and here (schedule)

Exile Editions: Through the Portal – Stories from a Hopeful Dystopia
They welcome international submission, but 90% of the work for this anthology will be from people who live in/have ties to Canada. They have extensive guidelines, including, “Send us your eco-fiction stories or prose poems––literary, magical, speculative, solarpunk, supernatural, slipstream, reimagined folk/fairy tales. We want eco-fiction that envisions imaginaries and relationships in a new or changing world. How do we walk through the portal to the other side? How will we address or overcome the legacy of the past: the negative actors and social constructs, environmental devastation, racism, exploitation, pathologies? … We want submissions from everyone, emerging through established, and from all communities––including but not limited to LGBTQ2S+, Black, Indigenous, marginalized, culturally diverse, the deaf and disabled. Stories can be literary or speculative, with the environment playing an essential role in the narrative. We welcome visual content in the form of illustrations accompanying a story or prose poem, or as graphic stories.”
Deadline: 31 May 2023
Length: Up to 3,500 words
Pay: CAD0.05/word
Details here.
(Also see their fiction calls for ONWAACHIGEWIN – Prophecy and AKI – Mother Earth anthologies; they want submissions from Indigenous writers only: First Nation, Inuit, Métis, Status or Non-Status. “We’d also love to consider Indigenous writers who do not live in Canada, but a restriction is that at least 90% of the authors in the anthology must live in Canada, or continue to maintain ties to Canada”. They have detailed guidelines for each anthology, please read those before submitting. Pay is CAD0.05/word for stories up to 5,000 words for both anthologies, and the deadline is 31 May 2023. Details here.

Augur Magazine: Fancy & Fantasy
This Canadian speculative fiction and poetry magazine is open for submissions on the Fancy & Fantasy theme. They have detailed guidelines, please read them carefully. They want Secondary world and/or high fantasy, including Non-Western court/imperial/political fantasy; Fairy tales, fables, myth, and folklore-inspired stories; Historical fantasy, steampunk, silkpunk, and Gaslamp; Wuxia; Eco fantasy, earth fantasy, and swampcore; Silkpunk; Portal fantasy; Dark fantasy. They will accept work from all writers through May, and from underrepresented Canadian writers for the first two weeks of June (see guidelines).
Deadline: 31 May for all writers, 15 June 2023 for underrepresented Canadian writers (see guidelines)
Length: Up to 5,000 words for fiction, up to 5 poems
Pay: CAD0.11/word for short fiction, CAD110 for flash fiction, CAD60/poem
Details here.

Brigids Gate Press: Scissor Sisters – Sapphic Villains Anthology
They want erotic horror, gothic horror, quiet horror, and body horror for this anthology. “We’re reclaiming the predatory lesbian trope, think Mrs Danvers in Rebecca or Roxy in Basic Instinct, so we’re looking for stories of sapphic villains. Because we’re looking to reclaim this trope and not reinforce it, we don’t just want sapphic villains. Sapphic characters can also be heroes and anti-heroes. We’d like to see a diversity of queer identities in a multitude of roles. We’d especially love to see stories of feminine rage, erotic horror, genderbent retellings and reclamations of power by queer femmes.” Stories must have diverse LGBTQ+ representation, can be set anytime in the past or present; the location can be anywhere on Earth.
Deadline: 31 May 2023
Length: 1,500-4,000 words
Pay: $0.08/word
Details here and here.

Weird Little Worlds: Playlist of the Damned
This is a fiction (including flash) and poetry anthology. “A hiker finds a grungy cassette tape in an abandoned mine that reads, DO NOT PLAY. When he does, he unleashes 25 tales of horror from the place where music and the macabre meet. … Bring us your Faustian deals with the Devil, your debauched rock stars, and demonic incantations. Music that soothes the beast or strangles with an invisible hand. These stories should be so integrally connected with music that the narrative can’t function without it.” Also, “Specific songs can be used, but (unless you have rights to the lyrics or it is in public domain) only references and titles can be included. There is no restriction on genre, style, or time period. We are interested in short fiction, horror poetry, and flash fiction alike in science fiction, fantasy, and horror.”
Deadline: 31 May 2023
Length: 500-5,000 words
Pay: $0.05/word for prose, $1/line for poetry (will increase if Kickstarter hits stretch goals)
Details here.

The Other Side of Hope: Journeys in Refugee and Immigrant Literature
They publish fiction, poetry, and art from refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants only; these are unthemed. They also consider poems from refugee/asylum seeker writing groups. Nonfiction and book reviews are open to all, and the theme for those is migration. Also, “A.M. Heath Literary Agency will offer 1-2-1s to 6 of our vol.3 contributors​​.”
Deadline: 31 May 2023
Length: 1,000-8,000 words for fiction; up to 4 poems; 2,000-5,000 words for nonfiction
Pay: £100 for print, £50 for online contributions, and £300 for art; asylum seekers get gift cards
Details here.

Third Flatiron Anthologies: Rhapsody of the Spheres
For this speculative fiction and poetry anthology; they want SF, fantasy, space opera, hopepunk on ‘Rhapsody of the Spheres’ theme. “The dictionary defines a rhapsody as “an effusively enthusiastic or ecstatic expression of feeling.” In ancient Greece, a rhapsody was  also part of an epic poem of a suitable length for reciting.
Edie Brickell waxed rhapsodic about a smile on a dog, and Queen and Liszt gave us their musical Bohemian and Hungarian rhapsodies, respectively. Please give us a speculative fiction story or poem about what would make us happy right now.” Please send your work only during the reading period.
Reading period: 19 May – 1 June 2023
Length: 1,500-3,000 words
Pay: $0.08/word
Details here (scroll down for the theme) and here.

Crystal Lake Publishing: Dead Letters – Episodes of Epistolary Horror
Their website says, “we’re looking for short horror stories … written in epistolary format—meaning, stories written as letters, journal entries, transcripts of radio broadcasts, newspaper clippings, text messages, etc.
Furthermore, each story should include some mention of how its manuscript was “discovered.” A letter found in a historian’s archive, for example. Or emails saved as part of a missing persons investigation. Or an audio file recovered from a dead podcaster’s PC. Push boundaries and play with the format—and above all, be scary!”
Deadline: 1 June 2023
Length: 2,500-7,000 words
Pay: $0.01/word
Details here (download guidelines).

sin cesar: Climate
They want fiction (including flash fiction), nonfiction (memoir essays, critical essays, book reviews, & interviews), and poetry on the Climate theme. “We look for subversive and bold voices; thought-provoking pieces that seek to illuminate a truth for the reader.” They prioritize work by Black and Brown artists. And, “We do not accept work that sustains the traditional white literary Western canon that has continuously ignored and poised itself as an authority over the voices of the oppressed. We do not give a voice to stories from the perspectives of cisgender, heterosexual, white, upper-class males that continue this tradition. We also do not give a voice to feminist works that only consider white female perspectives.” This annual magazine was formerly called Dryland. Contributors in the Los Angeles area get a print copy, all other contributors receive a digital copy of the issue.
Deadline: 1 June 2023
Length: Up to 3,000 words for prose, 3-5 poems
Pay: $25-75 for poetry, $100 for prose
Details here.

The Fairy Tale Magazine: Love
They publish fairy tales – new fairy tales or mashups of fairy tales, as well as poetry. They have detailed guidelines, including, “The theme for 2023 is “LOVE,” with romance preferred, but love between friends, family members, pets and their humans, etc., will be considered as well.
We are also very open to the stories and poems focusing on seasonal holidays, like solstice celebrations, Halloween, Hanukkah,  etc. However, while holiday based stories and poems are very welcome, you still need to include the theme. …. Do bear in mind that all fairy tale related fiction and poetry needs an element of the supernatural—as well as transformation. Transformation is a huge deal for the 2023 publishing year.” General submissions to the magazine are free, and submissions to the contest have a fee attached.
Deadline: 2 June 2023
Length: 1,000-5,000 words (up to 3,500 preferred) for fiction, up to 500 words for poetry
Pay: $50
Details here.

Space Cat Press: Into the Forest
They want fiction (including flash fiction), nonfiction, and poetry for their anthology, and the theme is ‘Into the Forest’. “We welcome submissions from a variety of genres. Whatever the theme inspires YOU to write – be it traditional science fiction, memoirs, poetry, (mild) otherworldly horror, fairy tales, or something else entirely”.
Deadline: 2 June 2023
Length: Up to 40 lines for poetry, up to 3,000 words for prose
Pay: £5 for poetry/flash fiction and £10 for short stories
Details here.

Atomic Carnival: Two anthologies
They are reading submissions for two anthologies: Greater Than His Nature, and Open All Night.
“For Greater Than His Nature, I’m looking for short stories based around the theme of “mad science.” Cackling Victorian scientists, giant atomic monsters, and Cronenbergian body horror are all fair game. I’m even open to the right piece of nonfiction for this one.

I’m especially interested to include stories from disabled and chronically ill writers.”
“For Open All Night, I want horror and fantasy (and all and any assorted sub- and cross-genres) based around the theme of “open all night.” While not strictly necessary, I’ll definitely be looking for retail and service industry-based stories. Give me graveyard shifts, overnight inventories gone bad, and haunted diners, shit so sordid and spooky that even the most seasoned of waitresses can’t handle what’s happening.
No nonfiction here, but if you want to deviate from the above genres, a little or a lot, that’s cool with me.”
The Kickstarter for both anthologies has been funded.
Deadline: 30 June 2023 for both anthologies
Length: Up to 10,000 words (2,000-6,000 words preferred)
Pay: $0.03/word (more if Kickstarter hits stretch goals)
Details here.

West Avenue Publishing: A Coven of Witches
This is a fiction and poetry anthology. “All submissions must include witches, or a witch, as the main theme of the piece.”
Deadline: 30 June 2023
Length: Up to 5,000 words
Pay: £10
Details here.

Poetry Magazine: Two themes
This magazine publishes poetry, translations, video poems, visual poetry, prose (essays about poetry), and book reviews on poetry.
Besides these, they have submission calls for two features:
— Not Too Hard to Master: This a new prose column; ““Not Too Hard to Master” is a new series of poets writing on form. We’ve published two pieces in this series so far …(on shape/concrete poems and on the sestina) – and are looking for new prose pieces on forms (either received or invented) that have not already been written about for the series. (Please note that we have a forthcoming piece on the burning haibun. We will update this list as we accept more pieces.) We’re looking for poets who are working in form to write reflective, lyric essays about why a particular form is worth exploring. We are not interested in scholarly or academic writing for this feature.” Each submission for this feature should contain these three components: A narrative or personal essay about the form itself; examples of the form; and a prompt or generative exercise for readers to create their own poem in the form.
— Special Call for Archival Portfolios: “As part of the 110th anniversary of Poetry, we are beginning a multi-year project that will interrogate the magazine’s archive for absences and erasures. We invite you to submit folios focused on individual poets, movements, dynamic years, forms, or styles. … These folios will be 25-35 pages in length, and may include photos, letters, interviews, and other ephemera in addition to poems. These folios should include previously unpublished poems, poems published only in limited edition runs, or out-of-print work. … We are particularly interested in poets, movements, and styles from 1912–1980.”
Deadline: Unspecified
Length: Varies
Pay: $10/line of text poetry up to $300; and $300 for audio, video and visual poems; $150/page for prose
Details here and here.

(Apart from these, there are some other great contests/awards: various PEN grants – for literary oral history, for translation including of Italian works, for children’s and YA novelists, and US writers’ aid initiative, details here; RBC PEN Canada 2023 New Voices Award for new Canadian writers, details here; Academy of American Poets’ James Laughlin Award for a manuscript of a second book of poems by a US-based writer, details here; the Bard Fiction Prize, a prize and residency for US-based published writers ages 39 and under, details here; the RTÉ Short Story Competition for those who live in Ireland, or have an Irish passport, details here; the Jenny Brown Associates Over 50 Award, for unpublished and unrepresented UK writers aged 50 and above, details here.)

On the Premises Mini Contest: Unicorn
They want writers to “tell, show, or evoke a complete story between 25 and 50 words long in which the word “unicorn” (singular, not plural) is used” exactly once.
Value: $35, $25, $15
Deadline: 5 May 2023
Open for: All writers
Details here.

Preservation Foundation Contest: Non-fictional Animal Stories
This is an international contest for unpublished writers (see guidelines). Their upcoming deadline is for the non-fiction animal stories category: “Stories should be factual and true accounts of an encounter or encounters by the author with a wild animal or animals. These include, but are not limited to, birds, fish, butterflies, snails, lions, bears, turtles, wombats, etc., as long as it is not a pet.” Entries should be 1,000-5,000 words. They want all entries, regardless of whether or not they win, to be on their website as long as the Foundation exists (see guidelines). Also see contests in other genres, which will have deadlines later in the year.
Value: $200, $100
Deadline: 7 May 2023
Open for: Unpublished writers
Details here.

The Future Bookshelf: Mo Siewcharran Prize
This is an award for BAME writers in the UK and for this cycle, they are looking for a picture book manuscript for 3-5-year-olds. Their website says, “Hachette UK’s The Future Bookshelf is running the Mo Siewcharran Prize for its fourth year to help discover unpublished fiction writers from Black, Asian, mixed heritage and minority ethnic backgrounds.” The manuscript must be 500-700 words. Apart from the cash prizes, there are various non-cash prizes, including a meeting with literary agents. And, “The winner’s entry will also be taken forward to an Hachette Children’s Group acquisitions meeting and considered for full publication with a competitive advance against royalties. Hachette Children’s Group does not guarantee that the winner will be offered a publishing contract.”
Value: £2,500, £1,500
Deadline: 8 May 2023
Open for: BAME writers in the UK
Details here.

Limp Wrist Glitter Bomb Award
Limp Wrist’s Glitter Bomb Award  (GBA) is an annual poetry contest, open for submissions by LGBTQIA+/non-binary poets and their allies.  The award is for one poem by a poet of any stage of her/his/their career. Apart from a cash prize and publication, the winner also gets a feature spot in the Wild & Precious Life Series. Please see follow their guidelines re length.
Value: $600; $50 for honorable mentions
Deadline: 11 May 2023
Open for: LGBTQIA+/non-binary poets and their allies
Details here.

Creative Future Writers’ Award: X
This is an award for underrepresented writers in the UK, for fiction, creative non-fiction (prose up to 2,000 words) and poetry (up to 50 lines). Writers can submit one piece of writing. Apart from cash prizes, winners also get various non-cash prizes, like mentorship. The theme for their 10th award is ‘X’ and you can read more about it here.
Value: £75, £50, £25 (more about the prizes here.)
Deadline: 14 May 2023 (postal submissions must be received by 15th May.)
Open for: Underrepresented writers in the UK
Details here.

Singapore Unbound: Singapore Poetry Contest – Snail
This is an international poetry contest. “We are looking for poems that use the word “snail” in imaginative ways. The poems may be on any theme (they do not have to be about snails, although they can be), but they will be judged for the creative use of the word “snail” as much as they will be for overall excellence.”
Value: $300, $200, $100
Deadline: 15 May 2023
Open for: All poets
Details here and here.
(They also want creative writing for their magazine from Asian writers, and pay $100. They’re open for a fee-based poetry manuscript prize, as well, from Asian writers. 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.
Value: $5,000
Deadline: 15 May 2023
Open for: US writers
Details here.

Humane Education Network: A Voice for Animals
This is an international essay contest for students in two categories: for 14-15-year-olds, and for 16-18-year-olds. The essay themes include mistreatment of one animal species, the preservation of one endangered species, and more (see guidelines); there is an optional theme for 2023, about local issues. Participants must currently be attending middle or high school, or be home-schooled, and less than 19 years of age (see guidelines). Entries can be essays, essays with photos, or videos. They have extensive guidelines. Also, “We reserve the right to adjust the number of prizes and the amounts of the prizes based on the entries received.”
Value: Total prize purse up to $5,900; individual prizes of up to $500
Deadline: 21 May 2023
Open for: All 14 to 18 year old students
Details here.

Livingston Press Changing Light Prize for a Novel-in-Verse
This is a new annual prize run by Livingston Press, affiliated with the University of Alabama. It is for a novel-in-verse, and the recommended length is 90-160 pages.
Value: $500, standard contract, 20 copies
Deadline: 25 May 2023
Open for: Unspecified
Details here.

The Irene Adler Prize
The competition is now open to women worldwide, commencing or continuing to pursue a bachelor’s, master’s, or Ph.D degree in journalism, creative writing, or literature at a recognized post-secondary institution in 2023-24. (Earlier, it was for US- and Canada-based women writers.) Applications include a 500-word essay on one of these five topics on the website:
— Write your journalistic take on a real-life story that has not gotten the attention it deserves – as either an opinion column or a news report.
— Maya Angelou said: “We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated.” Tell a story about a time when you put that philosophy into action in your life.

— Write about the funniest thing that has ever happened to you.

— Name the book that has had the greatest impact on your life and describe how it affected you.
— Write a fictional story about a meaningful episode in someone’s life.
The prize is intended to be applied to educational expenses such as tuition fees – please see the rules.
Value: $1,000; two prizes of $250 each
Deadline: 30 May 2023
Open for: Women writers worldwide – see above
Details here (download 2023 submission guidelines and rules).

Speculative Literature Foundation Grants: Older Writers Grant
They have some upcoming reading periods for grants. The one open now is their Older Writers Grant, for a writer who is 50 years of age or older at the time of grant application, and is intended to assist such writers who are just starting to work at a professional level. The writing application sample could be of poetry, fiction, drama, or creative non-fiction, of speculative literature. A writing sample (up to 10 pages of poetry, 10 pages of drama, or 5,000 words of fiction or creative nonfiction — if sending a segment of a novel, novella, or novelette, include a one-page synopsis as well) is part of the application.
Value: $1,000
Deadline: 31 May 2023
Open for: All speculative fiction writers above 50
Details here.

(They also have other grants application periods coming up later – Diverse Writers and Diverse Worlds Grants during July; Working Class Writers Grant during September; Gulliver Travel Research Grant during November; A.C. Bose Grant for South Asian and Diaspora writers in January 2024. Links to all Speculative Literature Foundation grants can be found here.)

failed haiku – a journal of English Senryu: H. Gene Murtha Memorial Senryu Contest

This is a senryu contest, and writers can also send previously published work, with some exceptions. Work sent outside of the submission period will be deleted unread.
$50; two prizes of $25 each
Submission period:
21-31 May 2023
Open for:
All writers
here (download the submission guidelines / rules).

The Black Orchid Novella Award
They want 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. Their guidelines also say, “We need to stress that a novella is not a padded short story. A novella needs to be as tight and fast-paced as a short story or a novel. Authors need to ensure that the story they want to tell is properly sized for whatever format they choose.” They are not looking for derivatives of the Nero Wolfe series, or the milieu. They accept online and mailed submissions.
Value: $1,000 and publication in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine
Deadline: 31 May 2023 (digitally dated or postmarked)
Open for: All writers
Details here, here, and here.

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

Jerry Jazz Musician Short Fiction Contest
This is an international fiction contest. While the story should appeal to the audience of this magazine, all themes will be considered. Their readers have interests in music, social history, literature, politics, art, film and theater, particularly that of the counter-culture of mid-twentieth century America. Ideally, stories should not exceed 3,000 words, but those up to 4,000 words will be considered.
Value: $150
Deadline: 31 May 2023
Open for: All writers
Details here.

CNO Naval History Essay Contest – Professional Historian
This is an international contest. Their website says, “The CNO invites entrants to submit essays that apply lessons from throughout naval history to solving today’s Navy challenges.” See guidelines for details on the theme. Essays have to be up to 3,500 words. This contest is open to: US and international professional historians (including history museum curators, archivists, history teachers/professors, persons with history-related doctoral degrees; authors of books on naval history (not including self-published works); civilians who have published articles in an established historical or naval journal or magazine.
Value: $5,000, $2,500
Deadline: 31 May 2023
Open for: See above
Details here and here.
(They invite essays for various other prizes as well: Rising Historian, Coast Guard, and CVO Naval History – Midshipmen and Cadets – see this page for an overview, and this page links to all their contests.)

The Africa Institute: Global Africa Translation Fellowship
The fellowship welcomes applications from across the Global South for a grant to complete translations of works from the African continent and its diaspora, into English or Arabic. This is a non-residential fellowship. Projects may be retranslations of old, classic texts, previously untranslated works, poetry, prose, or critical theory collections. The project may be a work-in-progress, or a new project feasible for completion within the timeframe of the grant. Application includes a translation sample.
Deadline: 1 June 2023
Value: $1,000-5,000
Open for: Translators in the Global South
Details here.

The OFIC Press Prize
This prize will be awarded to up to 2 novels and up to 3-4 novellas. They will publish novels as standalone books in 2024, and novellas will be compiled into an anthology. “We’re looking for manuscripts that don’t really fit in a traditional publishing category, maybe because they’re too romance-y for general or literary fiction, and not romance-y enough for romance. Or maybe there’s just a truly tasteless amount of smut. What we value most is an earnest portrayal of character, interesting relationship dynamics, and well-crafted prose that prioritizes clarity and voice.” And, “Novellas can be 12,000 to 50,000 words; novels are over 50,000. While we have no upper limit, know that anything over 150k is going to be a really hard sell.” Please read the note about physical print distribution and contributor copies.
Value: $1,000 each for novels, $250 each for novellas
Deadline: 1 June 2023
Open for: All writers
Details here (scroll down) and here.

The Forum Essay Prize: Courageous Arts
This is an essay prize from Oxford Academic / Oxford University Press and is open to all researchers, whether early-career or established, on the Courageous Arts theme. “We are looking for bold, visionary and persuasive essays that use academic research to pursue innovative questions. … The topic may be addressed from the perspective of any of the literatures (including literary linguistics, translation and comparative literature approaches) normally covered by the journal: Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. Please note that material of a predominantly social science or sociological nature falls outside our scope.
We are seeking submissions that focus on literature, film, art, or other cultural outputs that manifest courage in their content or form and/or which provoke us to be courageous in how we read, write, research and teach in our discipline(s).” The winning essay will also get published in an issue of Forum for Modern Language Studies.
Value: £500
Deadline: 1 June 2023
Open for: All researchers
Details here.

A few contests with later deadlines are:

— Imagine 2200: Climate Fiction for Future Ancestors: This is a climate fiction contest from Fix, Grit’s solutions lab. “We’re looking for stories of 3,000 to 5,000 words that envision the next 180 years of climate progress — roughly seven generations – imagining intersectional worlds of abundance, adaptation, reform, and hope.” They have detailed guidelines, please read them carefully. The prizes are $3,000, $2,000, $1,000; and $300 each for nine winners. The deadline is 13 June 2023, and it is open for all writers. Details here and here.

— Sapiens Plurum Short Fiction Contest: Building Communities in the Face of Climate Change: Sapiens Plurum conducts an annual short fiction contest, opening on Earth Day of each year. The theme is ‘Building Communities in the Face of Climate Change’. They have detailed guidelines, including, “We invite stories that explore how we can use science and technology to build resilient communities in a rapidly changing world. We are most interested in the ways that science and technology can help us to ride out the coming storms, especially in communities already under stress.” Submissions should be 1,500-3,000 words. The prizes are $1,000, $500, and $300. The deadline is 15 June 2023, and it is open for all writers. Details here and here.

Faber Children’s: Faber and Andlyn BAME (FAB) Prize: This is for undiscovered BAME writers and illustrators; entrants must be of black, Asian or minority ethnic background, and UK- or Ireland-based. For writers, they want a maximum of 5,000 words of text (no minimum word count). Also, “it does not have to be a short story (though those are welcome too!)
We do strongly advise you to complete your work insofar as you can, even if you do not enter the whole manuscript: after the ceremony agents will request the full manuscript, so in order to get the most out of the prize, it is best to have the whole manuscript ready to go.” Entries must be text or artwork for children. The prizes are £1,500 and £500 each for a writer and an illustrator, and mentorship. The deadline is 30 June 2023. Details here and here.

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

Last Stanza Poetry Journal: They want poetry on ‘The Things We Carry’ theme. “As with every issue, poems submitted do not need to follow the prompt/theme. A single $100 award will be given for an outstanding poem.” Poems can be any style; they prefer non-rhyming. Send up to 5 poems. The deadline is 30 June 2023. Details here.

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


We Send You Publishers Seeking Submissions.

Sign up for our free e-magazine and we will send you reviews of publishers seeking short stories, poetry, essays, and books.

Subscribe now and we'll send you a free copy of our book Submit, Publish, Repeat