30 Themed Submission Calls for June 2020

Written by S. Kalekar


There are 30 themed submission calls for the 19 markets listed here, for writers of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Some themes are: living in a house on fire, grandparents, basketball, peer pressure, wildlife, winter holidays – the longest night, treasure, road, women of the woods, Western horror, deadly women and retribution, fear, the craft of writing, and the tiny red suitcase. There are also some themed contests for writers at the end of this list. Also see this themed submission calls list – some deadlines are coming up in June, and beyond. – S. Kalekar

Prairie Fire: Living in a House on Fire
This Canadian literary magazine accepts fiction, creative non-fiction, essays and poetry from writers in Canada and elsewhere and currently they are reading work on the ‘Living in a House of Fire’ themed issue. Their guidelines say,

“Many of us have experienced grief, anxiety and despair around the various outcomes of climate change–fire season, melting glaciers, declining bee populations, droughts, species collapse. Most recently our ways of being in the world have been radically challenged by the COVID-19 global pandemic, the cause of which could be linked to how industrialized farming has contributed to changing our disease ecology. So, how do we, as citizens of this planet, live in a house on fire?

Prairie Fire invites submissions of fiction, creative non-fiction essays and poetry that explore the topic of living in our current time of tremendous uncertainty. We believe that taking on the task of articulating the affective consequences of climate change will help countless others as they find their own language for inevitable loss.”

 Work for the themed issue can be emailed or mailed. They are also reading unthemed work – this can be emailed until 30 June, after which they will reevaluate.
Deadline: 5 June for themed; 30 June 2020 for unthemed
Length: Up to 5,000 words for prose or up to 3 poems for themed issue; up to 10,000 words or up to 6 poems for general
Pay: CAD0.10/word, capped at CAD250 for fiction, CAD50-250 for other prose, CAD40/poem
Details here (themed call), here (general submission guidelines) and here  (contributor rates).


Cadet Quest: Seven themes
This is a Christian-oriented magazine for boys aged 9-14. They publish themed fiction, nonfiction, project/hobby articles, cartoons and puzzles, and illustrations. For fiction their guidelines say, “Fast-moving, entertaining stories that appeal to a boy’s sense of adventure or to his sense of humor are welcomed. Stories must present Christian life realistically and help boys relate Christian values to their own lives. Stories must have action without long dialogues. Favorite topics for boys include sports and athletes, humor, adventure, mystery, friends, etc. They should fit the theme of that issue of Cadet Quest. Stories with preachiness and/or cliches are not of interest to us.” They have several upcoming themes listed. They began to select manuscripts starting May 2020; fiction and non-fiction selections will be made at least three months prior to publication date. Below are the guidelines for each issue.
— Issue dated September/October 2020 • Dive Into The Word: This issue introduces the season’s annual theme for the Cadet Corps. It is based on Psalm 119:162, “I rejoice in your word like one who discovers a great treasure.” (NLT) God has given us a great treasure in the form of the Scriptures. Immersing ourselves in His Word gives us life and strength. Through the year we will show the boys the benefits of spending time in the Bible.
— November 2020 • Basketball: Shooting at the hoop in the driveway, playing at the local park, being part of a school team, or even making the game your job, we can learn much from the game of basketball. We’d love to hear of some Christian athletes who have used their talents at the highest level.
–December 2020 • Grandparents: Our ancestors play a large role in making us who we are. Our grandparents may no longer be around, or they may live too far away to see regularly, but a grandparent/grandson relationship can be special. We will look at our family tree as a gift from God.
—  January 2021 • Peer Pressure: The world can seem overwhelming to an eleven-year-old. There is a tremendous desire to fit in with others, even if the others are not behaving well. Peer pressure is normally associated with influencing us towards poor behavior, but what if we could act in a way that pressures others to live a life pleasing to God?
— February 2021 • Chemistry Science: it sounds like a boring school subject for many boys, but it doesn’t need to be. There are plenty of examples in our world of reactions that are necessary for life, pleasing to the eye, or just plain fun. How can we use chemistry to develop our minds? Together we will explore this aspect of the creation God has given us to grow up in.
–March 2021 • Kenya: What would it be like to live in another part of the world? We may not be able to physically travel to Kenya, but we can still learn about this awesome country. The Cadet program is growing rapidly in Kenya; this month we will spend some time getting acquainted with their surroundings.
— April/May 2021 • Easter: The Easter bunny, chocolate, and decorated eggs, is this really what Easter is about? What can Easter really mean to a 10-year-old boy? Does this day really make a difference? Is there a way for a young person today to make a personal connection to this world-changing event? Quest’s purpose is to show how God is at work in the lives of Cadets and in the world around them.
Deadlines: Selections started in May 2020; they’ll be made no later than three months prior to publication date. The above dates/months given with the themes are issue dates, not deadlines.
Length: 1,000-1,300 words for fiction, up to 1,500 words for nonfiction
Pay: $0.05/word for fiction and nonfiction (see guidelines)
Details here and here.

Mslexia: Wildlife
This magazine accepts poetry, short stories, and plays by female-identifying authors and they are reading for the Wildlife theme. Their guidelines say, “For Issue 87 we’re inviting submissions on all creatures great and small. Whether it’s a mosquito or marmoset, a flea or a ferret, we’re itching to read your zoological creations.” They accept up to 4 poems, 2 short stories, and 2 scripts per entrant.
Deadline: 8 June 2020
Length: 2,200 words for stories, up to 40 lines for poetry, scripts of up to 1,000 words
Pay: £25
Details here.


Cast of Wonders: Two themes 
This is a young adult science fiction, fantasy, and horror fiction podcast, and they accept work from adult writers as well as from writers under 18. They will accept stories on two themes in June; ‘Winter Holidays – The Longest Night’ – the submissions on this theme are open now.
The submission window for Banned Books Week 2020 is 15-30 June 2020, and the theme this time around is ‘Lifelines – books that help us get through periods of isolation’. “Books” can be any one-way form of communication: a box of letters, a podcast, skywriting — anything the recipient can’t easily reply to. “Isolation” can be either physical or social: an astronaut alone in a spaceship; a person in a place where no one speaks their language; someone in prison. The stories don’t necessarily need to have a happy ending, but they do need to end on a hopeful note; and all stories must follow Cast of Wonders general guidelines.
See their extensive guidelines for the kind of stories they prefer for their website, and what they define as young adult. They accept reprints and translations, as well.
Also see guidelines for PodCastle (fantasy, closes 30 June) and PseudoPod (horror reprints only, closes 2 August 2020).
Deadline: 10 June 2020 for Winter Holidays – The Longest Night; reading period 15-30 June for Banned Books Week
Length: Up to 6,000 words
Pay: $0.08/word
Details here (general guidelines), here (submission schedule) and here (submission portal).


Kanstellation: Humans Find Meaning Through Tech
This magazine is accepting fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry on ‘Humans Find Meaning Through Tech’. They want “ ‘slightly perverse shift[s] of perspective’ on how humanity and tech thinkwork, and co-exist with each other to produce meaning. 
How is our human instinct to make sense of the world around us sharpened through technology? How do “technologically-mediated societies” produce meaning –– love, kindness, connection? And in what ways do these technologies ease or exacerbate our societal challenges? As rhetorician Kenneth Burke wrote, humans are “symbol-making animals” and we want to know what you make of this techno-symbolic world.” They’re also reading open submissions on the theme of technology.
Deadline: 14 June 2020
Length: 350-1,000 words for flash fiction and CNF, 1,200-1,800 words for short fiction and CNF, up to 4 poems
Pay: $30 for flash prose and poetry, $45 for short prose
Details here.

Gypsum Sound Tales: Clop – Treasure
Clop publishes Gypsum Sound Tales’ genre-free anthologies and they’re now reading on the Treasure theme. Their guidelines say, “Treasure. As soon as you hear the word, you know that there is some sort of story hidden away there waiting to be dug up. For me, it is gold and silver in a rusty chest, buried somewhere beneath a cross on a desert island.
For this collection, we would like your stories that feature a treasure, whether they be buried treasure, cultural treasures or any other interpretation of the word.” Stories can be in any genre, be they horror, adventure, romance, sci-fi or historical fiction piece. They also encourage new and unpublished writers to try.
Deadline: 15 June 2020
Length: 1,000-5,500 words
Pay: AUD5-10
Details here.

Hippocampus Magazine: Two themes
These themes are for their nonfiction anthology series, The Way Things Were, which reflects on the things we miss. Previously published essays and book excerpts are also accepted, and hybrid and experimental creative nonfiction welcome.— Road: Their guidelines say, “We’re looking for (true) road trip stories of up to 5,000 words for this essay collection. While Route 66 and other now desolate U.S. highways immediately come to mind when thinking of road trips, we are interested in stories from around the globe. Maybe you were the Clark of your family. Or maybe one of your parents was. Maybe your road trip was for fun and adventure, but perhaps it was a more somber destination. Maybe you were in a car, or maybe you were in an RV. Maybe you camped along the way, or checked into roadside motels. We’d all entertain solo travel stories, with or without a car (maybe you hitchhiked to the other coast).
What we are most looking for are stories with strong characters and an arc that take place in a mobile setting.”
— Corner: Their guidelines say, “For this essay collection, we’re looking for stories of all kinds that are set in or revolve around a corner bar/dive bar (or small pub or tavern). Like for the ROAD collection, we’re seeking stories up to 5,000 words with strong characters and and arc. We’re open to stories that explore aspects of these establishments: we know it was not always fun and games.”
Deadline: 15 June 2020 for both anthologies
Length: Up to 5,000 words
Pay: $50
Details here.


Eye to the Telescope: The Sex Issue
This speculative poetry magazine is accepting submissions for The Sex Issue. The editor says, “Sexual themes can be erotic, funny, silly, serious, heart-pounding, and heart-breaking, and perhaps doubly so when viewed through a science-fiction, fantasy, and horror lens. Do you have a sensual science sonnet?  Tale of fantasy ribaldry? Is BDSM in your mutant DNA? Did you write some hybrid multigendered witch/robot/time travel erotica villanelle? Good on you, send it my way!” They also accept translations.
Deadline: 15 June 2020
Length: 1-3 poems
Pay: $0.03/word, up to $25
Details here.


Midnight & Indigo: Speculative Fiction Issue
This is a new platform for Black women writers, and they publish fiction and essays. They want submissions of character-driven speculative fiction/horror from Black women writers for a special issue; this includes, but is not limited to, science fiction, fantasy, superhero fiction, horror, utopian and dystopian fiction, fairytale fantasy, and supernatural fiction.  
For general submissions (short stories, narratives and personal essays), the deadline is 2 August 2020. They also accept book reviews year round, though these are unpaid. Fiction in this category will also be considered for an upcoming anthology.
Deadline: 28 June 2020 for speculative fiction/horror special issue; 2 August 2020 for general submissions
Length: 1,500-6,000 words for fiction; at least 1,200 words for essays
Pay: $75 for stories in print, $50 for stories on website, $50 for nonfiction; general fiction submissions will also be considered for publication in an upcoming anthology, at $125/story.
Details here.

The Muskeg Press Coronavirus Story Collection
This fiction anthology is inspired by Giovanni Boccacio, who would become famous for writing The Decameron. A collection of 100 short stories, which he wrote during the plague, The Decameron‘s main narrative tells the tale of seven young women and three young men who escape the plague by travelling to a countryside villa. There, they each tell one story each night for ten nights. The Muskeg Press guidelines say, “We’re now living through a similar moment in time, as we each do our part in fighting the global COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. At Muskeg Press, we look back and admire the attitude of Boccacio, who, in the midst of a terrible pestilence, wrote a great work of art that survives to the present day.” They will select 10 stories for an anthology. Also, “our preference is to receive stories that have nothing to do with this strain of the coronavirus. Instead of a personal history of how you dealt with being isolated from your community, we would prefer stories of a more distracting nature, similar to those 10 storytellers in The Decameron. “
Deadline: 30 June 2020
Length: Up to 5,000 words
Pay: $350
Details here.

Fabled Collective: Women of the Woods
This collection is about the lore, myths, and legends of women who dwell in the forest. Historically, it’s the witches, artists, and outcasts who make the dark forest their home. Writers can retell a piece of folklore or create something altogether new. They want spooky, eerie, gothic tales, stories with rich, haunting settings that leave out the gore and focus more on a feeling of dread and foreboding. Think dark fantasy or quiet horror.
Deadline: 30 June 2020
Length: 2,000-8,000 words
Pay: $0.01/word
Details here.

SFT Publishing: Six Guns Straight From Hell
SFT Publishing was formerly called Science Fiction Trails. They want fiction submissions for a Western horror anthology. Stories should take place in the western United States between 1850 and 1900. This can include western Canada and northern Mexico. Their guidelines say, “We tend to see too many sheriff stories. There were plenty of other people out west, including merchants, photographers, reporters, ranchers, Indians, miners, soldiers, telegraph operators, saloon keepers and prostitutes. We encourage stories involving these folks.  If you do feel the need for a lawman, make that person interesting—not simply a walking badge.” See their page for further details.
Deadline: 30 June 2020
Length: Prefer 1,000-5,000 words; can accept up to 8,000 words
Pay: $25 advance against royalties
Details here.

Sinister Smile Press: If I Die Before I Wake – Tales of Deadly Women and Retribution
This is a horror fiction anthology. Submissions must have a strong female main character who will do whatever it takes to protect/avenge those she loves and must be written in the horror genre. Writers can submit as many stories as they like, though only one will be chosen per writer.

Deadline: 30 June 2020
Length: 5,000-10,000 words
Pay: $25
Details here.

Tales from OmniPark
This is a call for weird fiction, set in and around OmniPark. See guidelines page for details about OmniPark (which was a real theme park).
Deadline: 30 June 2020
Length: 2,000-5,000 words
Pay: $100
Details here.

Jolly Horror Press: Coffin Blossoms
The editors want stories that have both horror and comedy elements, stories to scare them and make them laugh.
Deadline: 30 June 2020
Length: 2,000-6,000 words
Pay: Half cent per word
Details here.

Red Cape Publishing: F is for Fear
They want horror fiction for this Fear-themed anthology, which is part of their A-Z of Horror series. Their guidelines say, “What frightens you the most? Dare to write about it? We’re looking for short horror stories set around common fears, be that clowns, spiders, heights, claustrophobia, etc.”
Also watch out for other horror themes that open later in the year on themes starting with the alphabets that come after F: Genies, Halloween, Internet, Jungle, Kidnap, Lycanthropes, and Medical.
Deadline: 1 July 2020
Length: 4,000-8,000 words
Pay: £10
Details here.

Thema: Three themes
They are accepting short stories, poems, essays, photographs, and art on three themes currently: The Tiny Red Suitcase; The Other Virginia;and A Postcard from the Past. The premise (target theme) must be an integral part of the plot, not necessarily the central theme but not incidental, either. They do not accept electronic submissions, except from writers living outside the US.  
Deadline: 1 July 2020 for The Tiny Red Suitcase; 1 November 2020 for The Other Virginia; and 1 March 2021 for A Postcard from the Past
Length: Fewer than 20 pages of prose; up to 3 poems
Pay: $10-25 for short fiction and artwork, $10 for poetry
Details here.

The Binge-watching Cure: Science Fiction Edition
For this anthology, they want science fiction stories of various lengths, from 100 words to 25,000 words, and they recommend checking their Facebook and Twitter to see which length slots have been filled. They want to see all genres of science fiction – alien races, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic futures, colonization, cyberpunk, etc. However, “Remember, first and foremost, this is a science fiction anthology. It’s okay if your story has some genre crossover, but we are less likely to accept an alien invasion that reads like zombie novella.”
Deadline: 1 July 2020
Length: Various (see guidelines)
Pay: $100
Details here (FAQ) and here (guidelines).

Overland: Two themes
This Australian magazine accepts completed essays as well as pitches for its online magazine. They are currently reading for two themes. — Smart essays on TV shows, films or videogames
Their guidelines say, “As with books, what we look for is seldom a review that focuses on the merits or demerits of a single text, unless it is uniquely topical or culturally significant. Rather, we favour expansive review essays that make connections between different texts, in an out of their specific, individual art form.”
— Essays about the publishing industry and the craft of writing
Their guidelines say, “This is another area of interest to our readers that is relatively under-represented in the submissions we’re getting at the moment, outside of the recent lively debate on the value of literary prizes.”
They also welcome queries for cultural topics outside these themes. They pay more for work in their print magazine.
Deadline: Open now
Length: 800-1,200 words
Pay: AUD120 for online essays
Details here.

THEMED CONTESTS FOR WRITERS

Green Stories Writing Competitions: QuiBi (8-10 minute episodes for new platform)
Their guidelines say, “We are looking for 3 – 15 ten-minute episodes of 8-10 minutes each  (suitable for new platform Quibi – designed for mobile phones) that in some way touches upon ideas around building a sustainable society. … We will consider all genres – rom-com, literary fiction, science fiction, mystery, crime etc. – but stories must engage with the idea of environmentally sustainable practices and/or sustainable societies.” Writers should send a minimum of 3 episodes and an outline of the others and/or synopsis of the whole story. They can send more than 3, but should specify which ones they would like the judges to read – “we suggest the first episode and any that most show how the story meets the green stories criteria.” Apart from the cash prizes, BBC Writers room have agreed to read the top five scripts and follow up with any writers they think have promise. In addition, Red Production Company have agreed to read the winning script and  consider it for production. 
Value: £500, £100, £50; best student submission prize of £50
Deadline: 4 June 2020 (extended)
Open for: All writers
Details here.

Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award
This grant is for supporting the recipient in crime fiction writing and career development activities. She or he may choose activities that include workshops, seminars, conferences, and retreats, online courses, and research activities required for completion of the work. An unpublished writer is preferred, however publication of several pieces of short fiction and/or up to two self-published or traditionally published books will not disqualify an applicant. The application process includes a writing sample – an unpublished piece of crime fiction, written with an adult audience in mind. This may be a short story or first chapter(s) of a manuscript in-progress, 2,500 to 5,000 words. Previous writing or publishing experience is not required.
Value: $2,000; the winner can choose from a range of activities
Deadline: 8 June 2020
Open for: Writers of color
Details here.


Sapiens Plurum: Interspecies Interaction
Sapiens Plurum conducts an annual short fiction contest, opening on Earth Day of each year. The purpose of the contest is to entice authors to conceive of the future in terms of desirable outcomes, and imagine how we might get there. The topic of this year’s contest is, ‘Interspecies Interaction’. Their guidelines say, “How can technology increase empathy and connection? The news today is full of examples of technology creating dissension and amplifying differences. We ask authors to imagine ways that technology can improve how we relate to each other and bring us closer, even across species. We welcome stories that view life from another species’ point of view and/or explore empathy between different forms of life.” (See guidelines for details). Submissions should be 1,500-3,000 words.
Value: $1,000, $500, $300
Deadline: 9 June 2020 (extended)
Open for: All writers
Details here and here.

Defenestration.net Short Story Contest
They want a short story which should include an incident of defenestration – the art or –ism of throwing people out of windows. This need not be literal. Their team defines such an incident as follows – “a sudden, immediate, even violent shift, change, or seismical event between the beginning and the end.” There will voting by four judges for this contest, with fan voting counting as an additional judge vote.
Value: $75, two runner-up prizes of $30 each
Deadline: 9 June 2020
Open for: All writers
Details here.

Goi Peace Foundation: International Essay Contest for Young People
This is an international essay contest for people aged up to 25 years, in two categories – children and youth. The theme is ‘A Letter to Myself in 2030’. Their guidelines say, “Imagine what an ideal world ten years from now would be like. Write a letter from yourself in 2030 to your present (2020) self, in which you describe the state of the world, the way people are living, and what you, yourself, are doing in society. In addition, include any important message that you might wish to tell your present self.” Entries can be in English, French, Spanish or German (up to 700 words), or Japanese (up to 1,600 characters).
Value: For each category, the first prize is JPY100,000 (about $900) and a sponsored trip to the award ceremony in Tokyo and a Minister of Education award; JPY50,000 (about $450); five third prizes, and 25 honorable mentions
Deadline: 15 June 2020
Open for: People aged up to 25 years
Details here.


2020 Oz Club Contests
Submissions are invited for the 2020 International Wizard of Oz Club Annual Contests. Their goals are to encourage new writers and artists, and to explore a large range of Oz expression. Authors, researchers, and artists are invited to submit their work for consideration. The three categories that will be judged are Fiction, Non-Fiction (up to 10,000 words for either category), and Art. All work must be related to the world of Oz. This means entries must be about or pertaining to the Land of Oz as originally created by author L. Frank Baum in the book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and its sequels, Oz plays, Oz movies, Magic Land, or any other version or aspect of Oz. Please read the terms carefully – they can use entries for some purposes regardless of whether you win. The deadline for mailing submissions has passed, but if submitting electronically, it is in June.
Value: $100, $50 in each category
Deadline: 15 June 2020
Open for: All writers
Details here.

Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Contest
This is for junior and senior division (11-14 and 15-18) students worldwide. The theme for this ocean awareness contest is ‘Climate Hope: Transforming Crisis’- it invites students to learn about the climate crisis and its impact on oceans; discover or imagine solutions at local, national, or global scales; and create work that explores hope in action. Apart from prose (all forms) and poetry, the categories are art, film, music, and a new category, interactive & multimedia.
Value: Senior division – $1,500, $1,000, $500, $250 in each category; Junior division – $1,000, $750, $250, $100 for each category
Deadline: 15 June 2020
Open for: Students ages 11-18
Details here


Africa Book Club Short Story Competition
They welcome entries of fiction and creative non-fiction from writers across Africa and the Diaspora. They do accept stories from non-African nationals provided the stories are contextually set in Africa. 
Value: $250, $150, $100
Deadline: 30 June 2020
Open for: Writers across Africa and the Diaspora; also accepts other writers provided stories are set in Africa
Details here.

Richard J. Margolis Award
The award is for non-fiction writers of social justice journalism. It is for a promising new journalist or essayist whose work combines warmth, humour, wisdom and concern with social justice. Applications should include 2-3 non-fiction writing samples, up to 30 pages.
Value: $5,000, residency at Blue Mountain Centre artists’ colony
Deadline: 1 July 2020
Open for: Unspecified
Details here

Green Stories Writing Competitions: Full-length novel
This is a contest for a full-length novel (for adults – the deadline for children’s stories is in September). Their guidelines say, “We are looking for Full-Length Novels for adults that in some way touch upon ideas around building a sustainable society. … We will consider all genres – rom-com, literary fiction, science fiction, mystery, crime etc. – but stories must engage with the idea of environmentally sustainable practices and/or sustainable societies.” Submissions should be 5000 – 10,000 words (of a 50,000-100,000 word novel) that must include the following: the first chapter; another chapter that best showcases how your novel meets the green stories criteria; a third chapter (suggest the final chapter if possible); and a one-page synopsis. Apart from the cash prize, they have agreement from Peter Cox from the literary agency, Redhammer Management, to provide a one to one mentoring session with the winners (at their office in London or virtual meeting).
Value: £500, £100, £50; best student submission prize of £50
Deadline: 2 July 2020 (extended)
Open for: All writers
Details here.


Author 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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