Written by S. Kalekar

52 Themed Submissions Calls for April 2022

These are calls for themed submissions and contests of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Some of the calls are: science fiction fairy tales; days of displacement; courageous acts; octopuses; person first in an identity first world; in motion; First Peoples shared stories; out West; escape; hopepunk; the dark waves of winter (surf noir); and Kingdoms of Wrath and Ice (stone-cold villains). Also see this list for more themed calls – some deadlines are approaching.

THEMED SUBMISSION CALLS

Ninth Letter: Ebb/Flow
They want fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for their web edition. “The theme for this issue is Ebb/Flow, arrived at after Distances and Returns, booms and recessions, oscillations in data and the tides going in and out. In the light of recursive and reflexive storytellers, amid debated origins and uncertain endpoints, and in response to foggy predictions and timeworn adages—what’s past is prologue—Ebb/Flow questions narrative structure and its contours in shaping our lives. You may submit up to three poems, or one piece of short prose (fiction or nonfiction; all subgenres of prose are welcome) or up to three pieces of flash prose.” They also have fee-based literary awards.
Deadline: 7 April 2022 (extended – scroll down)
Length: Up to 3500 words
Pay: $75/essay or story, $25 for poetry
Details here.
(They’re also periodically open for submissions for their print edition, for which mailed submissions are free.)

Griffith Review: Real Cool World
This premier Australia-based journal publishes work online and in print. They want submissions for their Real Cool World issue, which will “explore Antarctica as a place and as a canvas for imagination. This vast, dry continent drives much of the Earth’s weather, part litmus test for change at the world’s extremities and part canary in the coalmine. If stories about Antarctica illuminate much of the rest of the planet’s past and future, they also create a space to play out human ideas of exploration, investigation and fantasy. … From glaciology and marine biology to geopolitics, international law, fiction, big ships and more, this collection will showcase subjects and stories from the planet’s deepest south. We’re looking for new work that responds to the theme in the form of essays, reportage, creative non-fiction, fiction, memoir and visual essays. A separate poetry call-out for this edition will open in April.”
Deadline: 8 April 2022 for all genres except poetry; poetry submissions will open on 18 April for this theme.
Length: Unspecified
Pay: “Fees are negotiated by word length, except for contributors employed by universities who, are paid a flat fee”
Details here (general guidelines) and here (theme details).

Fusion Fragment: Science fiction or SF-tinged literary fiction
Fusion Fragment will open briefly for science fiction or SF-tinged literary fiction, from 8th to 10th April 2022. “Although any science fiction subgenre is fair game, our tastes lean towards slipstream, cyberpunk, post-apocalypse, and anything with a little taste of the bizarre.”
Reading period: 8-10 April 2022
Pay: CAD3.5 cents/word up to CAD300
Details here.

Flame Tree Publishing: First Peoples Shared Stories
This  speculative fiction anthology from Flame Tree Publishing was earlier titled ‘First Peoples Myths and Tales’. This collection is “inspired by stories of the first peoples in Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas, the first migration, the first exploration, the discovery of land and landscape without the footprint of humankind. Stories of injustice will sit with memories of hope and wonder, dreamtime tales of creation and joy will highlight the enduring spirit of humanity.
We are looking for submissions from writers with appropriate heritage, whose stories will be cast alongside ancient myths and legends from around the world and will bring new perspectives to the legacy of First Nations, of First Peoples. The stories themselves can be speculative, fantastic, mythic or folkloric, they can delve into themes such as colonisation, other worlds, natural ecology and utopianism, they can be challenging and adventurous.” They also accept reprints.
Deadline: 11 April 2022
Length: 2,000-4,000 words
Pay: $0.08/word
Details here.

Shoreline of Infinity: Science fiction fairy tales
Their guidelines say, “We are looking for an engaging science fiction or fantasy story, something that gives reality a tweak on the nose – an idea that makes us stop and think.
But more than that, we want your story to be populated with characters we want to meet and have a drink with or from whom we want to run screaming away; we want characters to hug to ease the pain; we want to read the stories of heroes; we want to be your character.” They will be reading submissions on science fiction fairy tales for a brief period in April.
Deadline: 14 April 2022 for science fiction fairy tales
Length: Up to 6,000 words
Pay: £40 per 1,000 words
Details here.
(And Enchanted Conversation: A Fairy Tale Magazine will be open for submissions on the Weather theme during 1st to 3rd May 2022. Pay is $50 for fairy-tale related fiction, poetry, and nonfiction.)

 

Translunar Travelers Lounge: Fun speculative fiction
The editors of this speculative fiction magazine want fun stories. Their guidelines say, “A fun story, at its core, is one that works on the premise that things aren’t all bad; that ultimately, good wins out. This doesn’t necessarily mean that your story has to be silly or lighthearted (though it certainly can be). Joy can be made all the more powerful when juxtaposed against tragedy. In the end, though, there should be hope, and we want stories that are truly fun for as many different kinds of people as possible.” Also, “Swashbuckling adventure, deadly intrigue, and gleeful romance are some of the most obvious examples of what we’re looking for, but we won’t say no to more subtle or complicated topics, as long as they fit under the wider “fun” umbrella.”
Deadline: 15 April 2022
Length: Up to 5,000 words
Pay: $0.03/word ($20 minimum)
Details here.
(Submissions are also open for Troubadours and Space Princesses, is a science fiction and fantasy adventure charity anthology. They want “stories of troubadours, minstrels, and bards teaming up with princesses feisty and bold. We want them to save the kingdom or the spaceship, or maybe only the tavern or spaceport bar, or even just the cat. We want tales of adventure and mischief. But most of all, we want fantasy and science fiction tales with heart, stories of kindness and courage”. The deadline is 30 April for stories up to 17,500 words, originals or reprints. There is no cash payment.)

Transformations: Days of Displacement; Courageous Acts
Transformations is a project of the Narrative Storytelling initiative at Arizona State University and a publishing channel of the Los Angeles Review of Books. They are looking for short essays on two themes – ‘Days of Displacement’, and ‘Courageous Acts’. Writers can send work on either or both themes (see the Twitter thread for details on length for this call, pay, and deadline). They will not be accepting pitches for this call, only complete essays.
Deadline: 15 April 2022
Length: 600-750 words
Pay: $100
Details here (Twitter thread) and here (general submission guidelines)

Hawk and Cleaver: The Other Stories – three 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 some themed call deadlines coming up; and writers can send up to two stories per theme.
Octopuses (deadline 15 April 2022);
— Aging (deadline 1 May 2022);
— Faeries (deadline 15 May 2022).
Deadline: See above
Length: Up to 2,000 words
Pay: £15
Details here (click on submission form for length and other details).

Sasee: Celebrate!; Clean Community; Laugh Until You Cry
They want first-person, nonfiction material that is for or about women. Essays, humor, satire, personal experience, and features on topics relating to women are their focus areas. They do not publish fiction or poetry. They have three upcoming themes: Celebrate! (deadline 15 April 2022); Clean Community (deadline 15 May 2022); and Laugh Until You Cry (deadline 15 June 2022).
Deadline: See above
Length: 500-1,000 words
Pay: Varies
Details here.

Cricket Media: Faces – Snakes; Chile
Cricket Media’s Faces is a magazine of world cultures and geography for 9-14-year-old readers. They are accepting queries for two issues, and the themes are Snakes (queries by 18 April), and Chile (queries by 23 May 2022). They publish featured articles (700–800 words, includes in-depth nonfiction highlighting an aspect of the featured culture, interviews, and personal accounts), supplemental nonfiction (300–600 words, includes subjects directly and indirectly related to the theme), fiction (up to 800 words, includes retold legends, folktales, stories, and original plays from around the world, etc., relating to the theme), activities (includes crafts, games, recipes, projects, etc.), and puzzles and games.
Deadline: See above
Length: See above
Pay: Unspecified
Details here.
(And Science Write Now wants fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and book reviews on Science, Humor, and the Absurd. They can only pay Australian or Australia-based writers, AUD20-390 .)

Rough Cut Press: Dust
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 ‘Dust’ theme. According to their website, “We seek personal, lyrical, critical, and experimental work in under 650 words.”
Deadline: 27 April 2022
Length: Up to 650 words
Pay: $25
Details here.

Kingdoms of Wrath and Ice anthology
This is a fiction anthology from Tourmaline & Quartz Publishing. They want stories of stone cold villains. “Show us the frosty ice queens, the conniving fae lords we love to hate and hate to love. Give us your dragons with hearts as cold as their gold, or the witch who summons a snowstorm to save herself from the hunters. Tell us about your morally gray outcasts that crave vengeance while the heroes are seeking warmth.
The winter months are dark, the snows are deep, and the ice is treacherous. But what if the bitter cold wasn’t the only villain?” Also, “we are looking for short stories in unique fantasy settings, with wintery elements, and an enthralling conflict for your antagonist.
Tell us stories that make us wonder, make us want to join the dark side—or are fantastically gray.
Give us your high and low fantasy, fairytale retellings, historical fantasy, gaslamp fantasy, portal fantasy, sword and sorcery, or any other non-contemporary fantasy subgenre, so long as your story is compelling and unique, incorporating a wintery villain.”
Deadline: 30 April 2022
Length: 5,000-7,000 words
Pay: $25; please note, US-based authors will receive a paperback copy of the anthology, and other authors will receive a digital copy.
Details here.

Jellyfish Review: Memorable Character
“We welcome fiction, nonfiction, hybrid, essay and prose poetry (but no line break poetry) and it must have a memorable character. We recommend including the memorable character in the title too, but it’s up to you.” Only one story per author in April, except for this – “If you have two distinct stories featuring the same memorable character, then feel free to send them in together – it would be fun to see how the same character behaves in different situations. When sending two stories, the maximum length for each one should be 1000 words and the combined total length maximum 1600 words. If we accept both pieces, we will pay $40 total. Please make sure both pieces clearly feature the same memorable character, of course!” And “and our very favourite Memorable Character piece will get $100!”
Deadline: 30 April 2022
Length: Up to 1,000 words
Pay: $25; $40 for two stories having the same character; $100 for the editors’ favorite memorable character
Details here.

Strange Horizons: Southeast Asian special submissions call
This speculative fiction magazine wants nonfiction, fiction and poetry from Southeast Asian writers living in Southeast Asia as well as the Diaspora only, for this special issue. “Southeast Asia is an immense region with many cultures, traditions and mythologies. It has a rich history of trade and wars, migration and occupation. There are records of merchants from as far as Ancient Greece who have come to the region to ply their wares, and emperors from China have demanded tribute from subordinate kingdoms. From these encounters with distant empires come ideas, iconography, religions, and philosophies that have combined with local lores and sensibilities, giving rise to the glorious architecture of Angkor Wat, the outpouring of religious stories and texts like the Ramayana, the syncretic practices of Islam and Buddhism across the region. More recently, the horrors of the Japanese Occupation, the Khmer Rouge, and the Vietnam War have left an indelible imprint in the collective psyche and memory of Southeast Asian people, both within and beyond. The current political climate, exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, has created outcries in several countries.” Also, “We especially welcome writers who have never submitted to an international speculative fiction venue before.”
Deadline: 30 April 2022
Length: 2,000-7,000 words for fiction; poetry of any length; 2,000-3,000 words for fiction
Pay: $0.10/word for fiction; $20-150 for nonfiction; $50 for poetry
Details here (theme details) and here (general guidelines).

A Compendium of Enigmatic Species anthology
This is a Kickstarter-based project from Practical Fantasists. They want “a collection of observations on the plants, animals, and other things that dwell in our imagination. We want to turn a scientist’s eye on the world of the fantastic. Your work could include a formal scientific description, notes on habitat and distribution, even helpful diagrams. It could refer to secret archives buried in the depths of history, or the field notes of a modern grad student. You can weave these elements into a narrative, a poem, or a puzzle — so long as it captures the wonder that comes from encountering a species for the first time.
We have a preference for narrative structures that draw inspiration from non-fiction writing (field notes, scholarly journals, folklore studies) rather than more conventional storytelling; however, we are also open to different knowledge traditions, both historical and contemporary. For instance, a bestiary entry illustrates a different perspective and classification of knowledge than a naturalist’s field journal, and an origin story of a plant will differ from a narrative on the healing properties even of the same species. For now we are soliciting stories in English (though you may include terms from other languages).” And though they want speculative stories, they should be set on Earth.
Deadline: 30 April 2022
Length: Up to 1,500 words
Pay: Unspecified
Details here.

 

FIYAH: Food and Cuisine
This speculative fiction magazine only takes submissions by and about Black writers from Africa and the African Diaspora (see guidelines). They are reading for a Food and Cuisine themed issue. “Food. We spend large portions of our day buying, prepping, eating and cleaning up afterwards. It’s essential for life, yet more than fuel. …  It’s how we connect to our roots, passing on family recipes and tales from the kitchen table. Meals are how we innovate, whether it’s turning stale rice into pudding or veganizing traditional fare. Give us your tales of scents, sounds and flavors. Of contacting ancestors to answer the grits debate once and for all. Of cloning long extinct spices, cookbook grimoires, or assimilation plots through bland monotonous fare.” For nonfiction, they want queries only. (Fiyah also has various grants for Black writers and editors.)
Deadline: 30 April 2022
Length: 2,000-15,000 words for fiction; up to 1,000 words for poetry; 800-1,200 word for nonfiction
Pay: $0.08/word for fiction, $50 for poetry, $0.10/word for nonfiction
Details here.

(To see other opportunities for historically underrepresented writers, please see this list – some deadlines are coming up.)

Midnight in the Dying Garden anthology
The tagline for Midnight in the Dying Garden anthology is ‘Fairy tales for the end of the world.’ They want literary horror with a fantastical twist – please see the guidelines for their dying garden premise. “We’re looking for tales that are horrific, enchanting, and sometimes lovely. We want stories that showcase devastation and ecstasy, divinity and savagery, terror and bravery, beauty and hideousness, joy and despair, and everything in between. Think of a story that might be a swan song for a fading earth…or a simple lament for a dying garden.” They also accept reprints.
Deadline: 30 April 2022
Length: 1,000-7,000 words
Pay: CAD25-150
Details here.
(Rewired: An Anthology of Neurodiverse Horror is also open for horror fiction submissions, inspired by neurodiverse experiences. Pay is $0.03/word for stories of 1,000-6,000 words, and the deadline is 30 April 2022.
— Also, feminist horror magazine The Last Girls Club, which seeks work from the female gaze, wants fiction and poetry on the theme Sex Work is REAL work. The focus will not be erotica, but the historical disenfranchisement, persecution of sex workers, the lack of legal protections, and culture of exploitation. Pay is $0.01/word for fiction of up to 2,500 words, and $10 for poetry. Nonfiction columns have to be pitched. The deadline is 1 May 2022, or until filled.
And submissions are open for It Was All A Dream: An Anthology of Bad Horror Tropes Done Right, for short horror, weird, and dark fiction; pay is $0.03/word for stories of 1,500-4,000 words. The deadline is 30 April for general submissions, and they have an extended submission window for LGBTQ+, BIPOC, and marginalized writers from 1st to 7th May 2022.
Submissions are also open for Kolchak: The Night Stalker, a shared-world short story anthology, pays $120 for stories of 1,500-5,000 words, deadline 15 May 2022.)

Nonbinary Review: Two themes
They want fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and art on two themes.
— Person First in an Identity First World: “How are you labeled? “Disabled”? “On the spectrum”? “Nonbinary”? “POC”? “Marginalized”? How do you wish you were labeled? “Amazing cook”? “Proficient in 12 languages”? “Expert at Call of Cthulhu”? The need to label, classify, and pigeonhole human beings is as old as humans themselves, and always comes down to the same dichotomy: “us” and “them.” … We’re looking for poetry and stories of and by those who have been relegated to “them” status by virtue of a label that (validly) places them in a particular group. But we don’t want work related to how or why that group is special, invalid, irrelevant, etc. What we want is stories that explore the intersectionality of people in those groups. Nonbinary skydivers. Black equestrians. Wheelchair-using geocachers. Trans chefs. We want stories of and by people in othered communities, but we don’t want their label to be the story.” Deadline: 30 April 2022.
— In Motion: They want work that puts them “in the process of travel, whether it’s on a starship, a railway, a frigate, or even a meditative walk from one setting to another. We don’t want indulgent travelogues: no gawking at the Eiffel Tower or sipping sangria in Ibiza. Play with place and time to uncover what it means to be leaving, sojourning, migrating, or escaping. Show us the implications of approaching an end destination – what it is to be driven, by internal and external forces, toward somewhere else.” Deadline: 31 July 2022.
Deadlines: See above
Length: Up to 3,000 words for prose; up to 3 pages for poetry
Pay: $0.01/word for prose; $10 for poetry; $25-50 for art
Details here.

The First Line
They want fiction that starts with a pre-set first line. For the Summer issue, this is: “Thomas hadn’t expected to be alive when the town’s time capsule was opened.” They accept a limited number of poems and these have to start with the pre-set line, as well. For nonfiction, they want critical essays about your favourite first line from a literary work.
Deadline: 1 May 2022
Length: 300-5,000 words for fiction, 500-800 words for nonfiction
Pay: $25-50 for fiction, $5-10 for poetry, $25 for nonfiction
Details here.

Gone! Crime Fiction anthology
This is an anthology by Red Dog Press. They want crime fiction submissions.
Deadline: 1 May 2022
Length: 3,500-6,000 words
Pay: £30
Details here.

The Dark Waves of Winter anthology
This is a surf noir fiction project from Kelp Journal. Stories must take place in a beach locale. They want noir/neo-noir (crime, capers, detective, and literary) stories. They always appreciate a surfer or waterperson as a character.
Deadline: 2 May 2022
Length: 3,000-6,000 words preferred
Pay: $35 + royalties
Details here and here.

Shooter Literary Magazine: Out West
This literary magazine wants submissions on the ‘Out West’ theme. Their guidelines say, “We’re looking for stories, essays, memoir and poetry on anything to do with western places and westward migration – not just the American West but western regions in any country, or immigration from East to West globally. Pieces could be set in the historic Wild West or the present-day Western US; the far reaches of Cornwall or Wales in the UK; Scotland’s Hebrides; Australia’s Outback. Writing on wilderness, culture clashes, adventure, pioneering, and horses are especially welcome. In addition to thematic relevance, we seek compelling writing that adheres to a high literary standard.” They also commission artwork.
Deadline: 9 May 2022
Length: 2,000-6,000 words for prose, up to 3 poems
Pay: £25 per story and £5 per poem. Stories that fall below the requested minimum of 2,000 words will be paid at poetry rates; non-UK-based contributors can choose either cash payment or a copy of the magazine
Details here.

Escape anthology
This is a project from Alan Squire Publishing. “Ever wish, with every cell in your body, that you could run away? From home, from a person, from your job, from yourself? Physically or emotionally, on foot or purely in your own mind? … We’re looking for short prose—fiction or creative nonfiction—that explores the need to leave, to escape, to run. We love a speculative slant, whatever that means to you. It can mean the strange or surreal. It can mean horror or fantasy. It can simply mean it’s not what you’re supposed to wish for. We’re flexible.”
Deadline: 9 May 2022
Length: 500-3,000 words
Pay: $30
Details here.

Mithila Review: Hopepunk
This speculative fiction magazine wants “science fiction (and fantasy) devoted to positive and powerful character-driven stories that imagine an open and inclusive tech-empowered democratic future for all people, species and countries on Earth.” Regarding genre, they want “Science fiction. Open to interpretation: fantasy, literary, slipstream, cli-fi, etc welcome”. They also accept translations, and poetry. (Also, this is part of a larger project funded by the US-based NGO, the National Democratic Institute, “to re-imagine positive visions for a high-tech democracy that can out-inspire and out-govern digital tyranny, censorship, surveillance, and authoritarianism”. Other partners in this project are Brazil-based Mafagafo and A Taverna, which have collaborated for the mash-up, Mafaverna, and Nigeria-based Omenama Speculative Fiction Magazine  – please see their websites for individual guidelines, including theme, pay, and deadline details.)
Deadline: 20 May 2022 for Hopepunk
Length: Prefers 3,000-7,500 words for fiction
Pay: $0.08/word for the first 5,000 words, up to $500 for fiction; $10 for poetry
Details here.
(Submissions are also open for Bioluminescent: A Lunarpunk Anthology, from Android Press; pay is at least $0.08/word for stories of 500-7,500 words, and $30/poem. The deadline is 30 April 2022.)

From the Ashes: An Anthology of Elemental Urban Fantasy
This is a fiction project from Aurelia Leo. They want flash to novella length submissions for this anthology. “Must contain fire-based elemental magic in an urban fantasy setting. Your main character can control it. Maybe the villain has it. It’s flexible. Bonus points if your MC is a burn survivor. A romantic subplot is okay but not required.” They also accept translations, and reprints. Some proceeds from the anthology will be given to an organization for burn survivors.
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.
(They’re also open for Sovereign: An Anthology of Black Fantasy Fiction; the same deadline, length, and pay as in the urban fantasy anthology above.)

THEMED CONTESTS


Whiting Foundation: Creative Nonfiction Grant
Up to 10 grants will be awarded to writers of creative non-fiction books – projects must be under contract with a publisher in the US, UK, or Canada to be eligible. Contracts with self-publishing companies are not eligible. The subjects are history, cultural or political reportage, biography, memoir, the sciences, philosophy, criticism, food or travel writing, graphic nonfiction, and personal essays, among other categories. It is intended for multiyear book projects requiring large amounts of deep and focused research, thinking, and writing, after significant work has been accomplished. The work should be intended for general, not academic, audiences. One of the application requirements is sample chapters, up to 25,000 words.
Value: $40,000 each
Deadline: 25 April 2022
Open for: Nonfiction books contracted with a publisher in the US, UK, or Canada
Details here and here.

Waterston Desert Writing Prize

This prize is for a proposed book of literary non-fiction that illustrates artistic excellence, sensitivity to place, and desert literacy – with the desert both as subject and setting. Writing samples about deserts and natural settings are more likely to be reviewed favorably. Apart from the cash award, there is also a residency at PLAYA at Summer Lake and a reading and reception at the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon.
Value: $3,000, residency
Deadline: 1 May 2022
Open for: All writers
Details here and here.

Brilliant Flash Fiction: 2022 Writing Contest
They want a piece of flash fiction of up to 500 words.
Value: $200, $100, $50, $20
Deadline: 15 April 2022
Open for: All writers
Details here.

 

Kingdoms in the Wild annual poetry prize
This is a poetry chapbook contest. They are looking for a manuscript of 15-30 poems from emerging poets.
Value: $250
Deadline: 17 April 2022
Open for: Those who have not yet published a poetry collection (excludes self-published chapbooks)
Details here.

Wilbur & Niso Smith Foundation: Author of Tomorrow Award
This international contest is designed to find the adventure writers of the future. Writers must enter a piece of short fiction. The work must fall within what can be defined as adventure writing (see guidelines).  There are three categories: for writers ages 16-21, 12-15, and under 11.
Value: £1,000 in the 16-21 group, £100 in the 12-15 group, £100 in the under-11 group
Deadline: 22 April 2022
Open for: All writers ages 21 and under
Details here.

Science Me a Story
This is an international contest which aims to promote the use of short stories as a tool to communicate science to children in a fun and engaging way. The contest has two categories: work in Spanish and in English. The story, real or fictional, must be conceived from the objective of scientific dissemination to primary school children (ages 6-12 years) through the use of the narrative technique, as prose or poem. The topic should be related to science, the scientific method, the research process and scientific discovery, everyday life of a scientist, and others alike. Prose must be 400 to 1, 700 words, and poems, 170 to 1,000 words.
Value:  £200, £150, £100 for each category
Deadline: 24 April 2022
Open for: All writers
Details here.

 

Keats-Shelley Prize Memorial Association: Two prizes
These are contests of poems and essays on Romantic themes.
Keats-Shelley Essay Prize: Essays (up to 3,000 words) may be on any aspect of the writing and/or lives of the Romantics and their circles. (They also have a poetry contest, which has an entry fee.)
Young Romantics Prize: For the poetry prize, poets aged 16-18 should submit poetry on the theme of ‘Elegy’, of up to 30 lines. For the Young Romantics essayist prize, writers have to choose between two themes/questions on their website, about the Romantics.
“Your response can take whatever form, mood or tone you choose: literary criticism, political commentary, personal essay, opinion piece, the script for a podcast. You can agree or disagree.” Entries must be 750-1,000 words, including quotations.
Value: Total prize purse of £5,000
Deadline: 24 April 2022
Open for: All writers for the Keats-Shelley essay prize; writers and poets ages 16-18 for the Young Romantics prize
Details here and here.

Ayn Rand Institute: Two contests
These are international essay contests for students centered around Ayn Rand’s works: Anthem, The Fountainhead, and Atlas Shrugged. All runner-up prizes have more than one winner in each contest and category. The guidelines also say, “All entries become the property of the Ayn Rand Institute and will not be returned. Essays may be reproduced on our website and/or shared with third parties for purposes of marketing the contest.” The deadlines for the contests around Anthem (for 8th to 12th grade) and The Fountainhead (11th and 12th grade) are in April; the deadline for the contest around Atlas Shrugged (for 12th grade, undergraduate, and graduate students) is in September. Writers are to submit an essay on one of three specific topics centered around Ayn Rand’s novels, Anthem and The Fountainhead (click on ‘Topics’ under each for topics, and on ‘Rules’ for length guidelines).
Value: $2,000, $500, $100, $50, $25 for 8th-12th grade/Anthem; $5,000, $1,250, $250, $100, $25 for 11th-12th grade/The Fountainhead
Deadline: 28 April 2022
Open for: All students
Details here.

 

Coastal Shelf: Two contests
They will be open for two contests with cash prizes starting 1st April; writers can send one fee-free submission for each contest. The FuPo Poetry Contest is for “funny and poignant” poems; and the Ceiling 250 Contest is for very short fiction or prose poetry under 250 words long. The prize is $500 for each contest, and non-winning entries will be considered for the journal, which pays $30. Also, regular submissions to this journal are usually charged, but they have some fee-free periods (they’re reading fee-free submissions for the journal till end-March).
Value: $500 for each contest
Fee-free submission period for contest: 1-30 April 2022
Open for: All writers
Details here.

The Baen Fantasy Award
They want short stories of up to 8,000 words. “It must be a work of fantasy, though all fantasy genres are open, e.g. epic fantasy, heroic fantasy, sword and sorcery, contemporary fantasy, etc.” They want to see “Adventure fantasy with heroes you want to root for. Warriors either modern or medieval, who solve problems with their wits or with their weapons—and we have nothing against dragons, elves, dwarves, castles under siege, urban fantasy, damsels in distress, or damsels who inflict distress.”
Value: $0.08/word, and other prizes
Deadline: 30 April 2022
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 1,000-10,000 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 open for submissions later in the year.
Value: $200, $100
Deadline: 30 April 2022
Open for: Unpublished writers
Details here

Intrepid Times Travel Writing Competition: Wrong Turns
This is a travel writing contest on the ‘wrong turns’ theme. “Write an original, factual, first-person travel story about a time you made a decision or took a risk while traveling that got you lost, landed you somewhere you didn’t intend, or led to a new discovery, realization, or connection.
Your story should be between 1000 and 1500 words. Editors will be looking for originality, voice, and a satisfying story that captures attention and makes use of imagery to pull the reader along at every step.”
Value: $150; $50
Deadline: 30 April 2022
Open for: All writers
Details here.

New England Crime Bake: Al Blanchard Award
This is a short story award. Their guidelines say it must be a crime story, of up to 5,000 words, by a New England author or have a New England setting if the author is not from New England. The story may include the following genres: mystery, thriller, suspense, caper, and horror. (No torture/killing of children or animals.) Apart from the cash award, the winner also gets publication in Level Best Books’ Crime Fiction anthology, and admission to the Crime Bake Conference (though conference attendance is not a requirement). Writers can send up to two stories.
Value: $100
Deadline: 30 April 2022
Open for: All writers
Details here.

Queer Sci Fi: Clarity
They want to see science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, or horror LGBTQIA stories of up to 300 words on the theme of Clarity. Their guidelines say, “The whole world is murky right now. Covid waves, climate change, and right-wing pollution of our airwaves have made even truth suspect and subject to dispute. What we need most is clarity. Clarity about the world around us and the path forward.
Tell us about clarity in all its forms and the difference it can make on your characters, the culture, and the world, for better or worse.
Value: $75, $50, $25
Deadline: 1 May 2022
Open for: All writers
Details here.

The Mike Resnick Memorial Award for Short Fiction
This award is for a science fiction short story, up to 7,499 words, by a new author – one who has not had any work published (including short stories, novelettes, novellas, and novels in paper, digital or audio form) that has been paid a per-word rate of 6 cents a word or more or received a payment for any single work of fiction totaling more than $50. The prize is sponsored by Galaxy’s Edge magazine and Dragon Con.
Value: $250, $100, $50
Deadline: 1 May 2022
Open for: New writers (see guidelines)
Details here.

2022 Parsec Ink Short Story Competition: Hearth, Song, and Table
They want short speculative fiction (up to 3,500 words) on the theme. “The theme for this year is ‘Hearth, Song, and Table.’ We ask that authors try and incorporate at least two of the three concepts into their speculative work. While this certainly seems to lend itself to fantasy, we can see many ways to twist the wholesome sounding prompt towards horror. Likewise, with a bit of creative interpretation, there are plenty of science fiction stories to be told with this theme!” There is also a Youth category, for those aged up to 19 years, or currently enrolled in high school.
Value: $200, $100, $50; and $50 for the Youth category winner
Deadline: 1 May 2022
Open for: Non-professional writers (see guidelines)
Details here and here.

Imagine 2200: Climate Fiction for Future Ancestors
This is a climate fiction contest from Fix, Grit’s solutions lab. This is their second annual contest, and they want hopeful cli-fi stories. “Stories must be set anytime between today and the year 2200, and show a path to a clean, green, and just future. We especially want to read — and share — narratives that center solutions from the communities most impacted by climate change and stories that envision what a truly equitable, decolonized society could look like. In 3,000 to 5,000 words, show us the world you dream of building.”
Value: $3,000, $2,000, $1,000; $300 each for nine winners
Deadline: 5 May 2022
Open for: All writers
Details here and here.

(A couple of contests with later deadlines are:
Fiyah Grants for Black writers and editors of speculative fiction; they have a number of grants, of up to $1,000. Applications for the Rest, Craft, and Study grants close on 15th May 2022;
Drue Heinz Literature Prize, for previously published writers of short fiction, submission period 1 May-30 June 2022. The prize is for a short story collection, or for two or more novellas, and the award is $15,000.)


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

 

 

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