Thursday, April 27, 2023

Writing Fiction Like Nonfiction

I abhor writing rules. If you follow them, you will produce cookie-cutter prose that sounds as if it has been written by a machine. (Although, this may be what publishers are actually looking for.) 

One of the most egregious of these rules is: "Write nonfiction like fiction." I have read the work of writers who took this advice entirely too literally. They invariably produce personal essays and memoirs laden with self-conscious turns of phrase, excessively lyrical prose, and literary devices that transform what should have been an honest account into a parody. 

Verisimilitude is the bedrock of fiction. The appearance of reality in fiction is absolutely necessary, because without it readers won't be able to identify with the characters in the story. Even for genres in which readers are required to suspend disbelief, such as fantasy and science fiction, the thoughts and emotions of the characters need to conform to what readers already know about how people operate in the real world.   

"But ... but ... but..." (I can hear the objections now) "Write nonfiction like fiction" simply means that there should be an engrossing story line, well-developed characters, and that it should fully engage the reader! That is, in fact, a description of fiction. No, let me amend that. It's a description of good fiction. There is plenty of bad fiction out there that does none of those things. Conversely, there is plenty of nonfiction that does all of those things. The main difference is that unlike fiction, readers don't have to suspend disbelief. From the moment they open the book, they are ready and willing to believe that they are reading something that is actually true not merely like ("simil") the truth.

Good narrative nonfiction, because it is firmly grounded in real life, sticks with you. It expands your knowledge and brings people you have heard of (or perhaps not) to life, with all their quirks. (I will never forget that Winston Churchill wore pale pink silk underwear - a tantalizing detail I learned from Erik Larson's book, The Splendid and the Vile.) A well-written piece of narrative fiction not only expands your knowledge, it is immersive. You will feel as if you have personally experienced the London Blitz, or that you have visited the Black Sea. That quality of immersiveness is what makes good nonfiction unforgettable.

Of course, it also helps if the writer is skilled at storytelling, which is perhaps why so many narrative nonfiction writers have had early training as journalists. In journalism, writers must answer the basic questions: Who? What? When? Where? How? and (sometimes) Why? If those questions are answered in the right order, they combine to make a story. It's no accident that so many of our great novelists - Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Hemingway, and Mark Twain, to name a few - started as journalists. 

But at the root of good storytelling is mystery. Wanting to know what happens next is what makes you turn the page. Whether it's fiction or nonfiction, any book you can't put down contains that vital element of mystery.

By reading good narrative nonfiction, fiction writers can learn a great deal about their craft. So, which nonfiction books contain all of the features essential to fiction: immersiveness, great story-telling, mystery, "characters" who come to life, believability, and, of course, beautiful writing? 

Here are four books that fulfill those criteria. 

1) The Poet and the Murderer: A True Story of Literary Crime and the Art of Forgery by Simon Worrall. If you don't think the forgery of an Emily Dickinson poem makes for a thrilling read, think again. (I have devoured this book twice, and the second time was just as luscious as the first.) Worrall (a British journalist) takes a deep dive into a forgery that turned the literary world upside down. Step by step, he follows the path of a forged poem until it ends with psychosis and murder. (Two things you would never think of associating with Emily Dickinson.) I learned a great deal about forgery from this book. But most important, I learned how to bring a dry topic to life. 

This is how Worrall starts his book: "He thought he had gone under deep enough, but as he followed the curve of the letter m, he felt a momentary tremor like the distant rumbling of an earthquake." Now that is how to begin a book about a forger. (By the way, always read prologues. Don't skip them.)

Interestingly, in the fourth chapter of the book (aptly titled, Auction Artifice), Worrall quotes the forger as saying that deceiving people gave him "a sense of power." But the power of deception can only be achieved when people are willing to suspend disbelief. The reason forgeries find willing buyers is because the forgeries themselves are imbued with the stories people want to hear - an old woman who finds a letter written by Lincoln tucked in a picture frame in her attic, a man who comes across a signed first edition of Pride and Prejudice in a rummage sale. The possession of the object therefore comes fully endowed with a desirable story, which the owner now possesses as well. Perhaps, deceiving people through giving them a story they want to hear, and allowing them to "own" it, is the ultimate power wielded by fiction writers.

2) Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia by Peter Pomerantsev. I've read everything written by Pomerantsev and all I can say is that I wish he would write more. Pomerantsev is a consummate storyteller. This book explores the world of Russian reality TV in a way you will never forget. Pomerantsev, whose parents emigrated to England to avoid being sent to the gulag (ironically, for distributing Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago), returned to Moscow to spend ten years working in Russian television, specifically reality TV. And what a ride it was! Professional hit men, Kremlin propagandists, the suspicious death of a supermodel, remote Siberian towns run by  crime bosses...damn! This book took my breath away. 

His second book, This Is Not Propaganda: Adventures in the War Against Reality, is also breathtaking. He begins each chapter with a gripping biographical section on his parents, told in third person. This is a literary device which was all the more effective because it was a true story.

What I learned from these books is not just how Russian TV propaganda works, but their applicability to our own television, which suffers no less from the war against reality.

3) The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson. Any book by Erik Larson (who is, predictably, a journalist) is well worth reading. Each of Larson's books contains the magical alchemy of great storytelling, people you come to know intimately, and immersiveness. And I can guarantee you won't forget what you have learned from reading any of his books. 

Among Larson's works, The Devil in the White City stands out as exemplary. The story is captivating. In addition, the writing is superb. Larson is no stranger to lyrical prose, which he uses only where it is essential. (I will never forget his description of the first skyscrapers: "the inaudible cry of overstressed steel.") And most important of all, this book has mystery. Weaving in and out of building the monumental Chicago world's fair in the face of natural disasters and catastrophe, there is the nail-biting story of hunting down a gruesome serial killer. And all of it is true

4) I can also recommend The Black Sea by Neal Ascherson, another British journalist. This book is more than a history. Ascherson also includes his own experiences, including the time he just happened to be in Crimea during the coup against Gorbachev, who had been placed under house arrest in Crimea. (That was exciting!) I found the entire book to be captivating, not least because Ascherson is a superb writer. The history of this region is fascinating, and in the hands of a wonderful writer, it is unforgettable.  

But let's not stop with nonfiction writers who are worthy of emulation. Here are two works of fiction that embody what is best about narrative nonfiction.

The Giant, O'brien by Hilary Mantel. Mantel, who sadly passed away recently, wrote several noteworthy works of historical fiction. But this book is unique. It is a marvelous combination of science (I learned a lot about surgery), fairy tales, Irish history, and the harsh realities of 18th century squalor. While fiction, this book incorporates the true story of John Hunter, England's most famous surgeon, anatomist, and advocate of the scientific method in medicine. Mantel did a careful job of researching this novel, and it shows. It's not only engrossing, it's perfectly credible.

Anthony Doerr is another writer whose prose is so transparent, so (seemingly) effortless, you are hardly aware that you are reading. Like good narrative nonfiction, his prose is natural, yet precise, and it never draws attention to itself. I've read, and loved, all of Doerr's work. But The Shell Collector is fiction that embodies what is best about good narrative nonfiction. It is instantly believable and as lovingly detailed as the shells which provide the story's anchor. Like Ascherson, Doerr has the ability to take you to another place so convincingly, you will think you've been there.

(Image: Inside/Outside: Illusion Meets Reality: Uwe Schroder, Flickr)

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

128 Calls for Submissions in May 2023 - Paying markets

This May there are more than ten dozen calls for submissions. All of these are paying markets, and none charge submission fees. As always, every genre, style, and form is wanted, from short stories to poetry to essays.

I post upcoming calls for submissions shortly before the first day of every month. But as I am collecting them, I post them on my page, Calls for Submissions. You can get a jump on next month's calls for submissions by checking that page periodically throughout the month. (I only post paying markets.)

Also see Paying Markets for hundreds of paying markets arranged by form and genre.

Happy submitting!

(Image: Pixabay)


Cemetery GatesGenre: Horror novels and novellas. Payment: Novel: $500-2,000 advance, 60% royalties to author. Novella: $500-1,000 advance, 60% royalties to author. Deadline: Opens May 1, 2023. 

JackLeg PressGenre: Poetry and short story collections, and literary novels and creative nonfiction. Payment: Royalties. Deadline: Opens May 1, 2023. 

Coffee House Press is an independent book publisher and arts nonprofit based in Minneapolis, MN. Genre: Full-length poetry manuscripts. Payment: Royalties. Deadline: Opens May 1, 2023. Closes when cap is reached.

december magazineGenre: Poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction (essays, memoirs, biography, literary journalism, social or cultural commentary or analysis) and visual art that can be reproduced in our print format. Payment: $10.00 per page with a minimum of $40.00 and a maximum of $200.00. Deadline: May 1, 2023.

Cincinnati ReviewGenre: Prose, poetry, art. Payment: $25/page for prose in journal. $30/page for poetry in journal. Deadline: Opens on May 1, closes when cap is reached.

CrybabyGenrePitch reviews, cultural criticism, fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, reported features, profiles, interviews. Theme: Warmth. Payment: Up to $50 per piece. Deadline: May 1, 2023.

This MagazineRestrictions: Open to BIPOC writers only at this time, with a special interest in queer and/or trans perspectives. Genre: Short stories, poems, Payment: Up to $125 CAD per piece. Deadline: May 1, 2023.

Road Kill: Texas Horror by Texas Writers, Vol. 8Genre: Horror by Texas writers. Payment: 10,000 words - $200; 7,500 words - $150; 5,000 words - $100; 2,500 words - $50; 1,500 words - $30.00. Deadline: May 1, 2023.

Rock and a Hard Place: The One Percent – Tales of the Super Wealthy and DepravedGenre: Short stories, may have speculative elements. "We are looking for fictional short stories ranging from 2,000 to 5,000 words examining the ways in which the most affluent among us commit wrongs. These transgressions can range from broken laws to the perfectly legal, though otherwise reprehensible." Payment: $25 or $35. Deadline: May 1, 2023.

Horror Story MagazineGenre: Horror poetry and short stories that feature monsters. "Good old-fashioned monster stories: vampires, werewolves, ghosts, ghouls, Frankenstein-style creatures, or newer creatures, including those of your creation. Give us a monster, and tell us a great story." Length: 2,000-10,000 words.  A little more or a tad less is OK. Payment: 2 cents/word. Deadline: May 1, 2023 or until filled.

Eggplant Emoji is an annual comedy publication. Genre: Eggplant Emoji Volume 3 will be a print and eBook collection of hilarious short stories that are character-driven and culturally striking. Stories selected for this anthology will define pop culture with unforgettable characters, outrageous situations, and riotous humor. Length: 1,000 – 7,000 words. Payment: $25. Deadline: May 1, 2023.

Struggle MagazineGenre: Poetry, short stories (1000-7500 words), personal essays (1000-4500 words), art criticism (1000-4500), short plays, and play excerpts. "We are not genre specific, just looking for good and honest writing. We highlight writers who have some kind of a connection to the DC, Maryland, Virginia area." Payment: $75 per contributor. Deadline: May 1, 2023.

The First LineGenres: Fiction, poetry, nonfiction using the first line provided. (See site.) Payment: $25.00 - $50.00 for fiction, $5.00 - $10.00 for poetry, and $25.00 for nonfiction. Deadline: May 1, 2023.

Nonbinary Review: Epic FailGenre: Poetry, fiction, essays, and art around the theme of Epic Fail. Payment: 1 cent per word for prose, and a flat fee of $10 for poetry. Deadline: May 1, 2023. Closes when cap is reached, so submit early.

Last Girls ClubGenre: Feminist horror: short stories and poems - see themes. Payment: Short Story-2,500 words or less. $0.01 USD per word/$25 USD and copy of magazine; Flash Fiction-less than a 1,000 words $0.01 USD per word/$10 USD; Poems-less than 200 words $10 upon acceptance and a PDF of the magazine. Deadline: May 1, 2023. May close early if they reach their cap.

FoglifterGenre: Foglifter is a biannual compendium of  queer and trans writing. It’s a space where LGBTQ+ writers celebrate, mourn, rage, and embrace. "Foglifter welcomes daring and thoughtful work by queer and trans writers in all forms, and we are especially interested in cross-genre, intersectional, marginal, and transgressive work. We want the pieces that challenged you as a writer, what you poured yourself into and risked the most to make. But we also want your tenderest, gentlest work, what you hold closest to your heart. Whatever you're working on now that's keeping you alive and writing, Foglifter wants to read it." Payment: $25. Deadline: May 1, 2023.

Tales of the ApocalypseGenre: Post-Apocalyptic. Length: 5,000 to 10,000 words. Payment: Royalties. Deadline: May 1, 2023.

Grumpy Old Gods AnthologyGenre: Speculative fiction stories about retired gods. Theme: "Grumpy Gods, particularly those who might be using their abilities in a post-internet environment.  Maybe Mercury is heavily invested in Google.  Janus might be the reason for crypto.  Heck, I bet that Aphrodite owns 90% of every single florist in the country.  Do your gods still have the juice, or have their powers gotten a little wonky as they have gotten older?  Make it Grumpy.  Make it funny." Length: 3,000-4,000 words. Payment: A percentage of the profits. Deadline: May 1, 2023.

Cosmic Roots and Eldritch ShoresGenre: Speculative stories. Payment: 8 cents/word for original work. 2 cents/word for reprints. Deadline: May 2, 2023. Opens May 1.

The Suburban ReviewGenre: Prose, art, poetry on theme: Spice. Payment: AUD150-275 for prose; AUD125-275 for poetry. Deadline: May 3, 2023.

Carrion Bloom BooksGenre: Chapbooks: Fiction, poetry, hybrid works, and writing with visual elements, and  translated writing of any genre. "We admire work of all genres which might be described as: feminist, grotesque, ecologically resonant, too much, formally experimental, visually acoustic, radically embodied, transnational, or surreal." Payment: Royalties. Deadline: May 4, 2023.

Tin HouseRestrictions: Eligible writers must not currently have an agent, and must not have previously published a book (chapbooks okay). Genre: Poetry collections + Short Story collections that focus on Food and/or Place. Payment: Royalties. Deadline: May 7, 2023. Opens May 6, 2023.

CutleafGenre: Fiction. Length: Less than 6,000 words. Payment: $100 to $400. Deadline: May 7, 2023.

LightspeedGenre: Fantasy short fiction. Payment: 8 cents per word. Deadline: May 7, 2023.

Uncanny MagazineGenre: Short speculative fiction. Length: 17,500 to 40,000 words. Payment: $.10 per word. Deadline: May 7, 2023. Opens May 1. Also accepts poetry and nonfiction.

HavokGenre: Flash fiction on theme of Legendary Creatures. Payment: $50 via PayPal for each story selected for an Anthology. No payment for online publication. Deadline: May 7, 2023.

RiddlebirdGenre: Literary fiction, personal essays, genre fiction. "For our summer issue, we will specifically be looking for humorous work, lighthearted pieces, or works that explore the humor woven through struggles." Payment: $100. Deadline: May 7, 2023.

Stone’s ThrowGenre: Noir stories about the Summer Solstice. "To honor the solstice, we want stories about somebody’s longest, unending day. Send us tales of what someone is going through that is making every minute, every second, tick by in the most agonizing way." Length: Between 1,000 and 2,000 words. Payment: $25. Deadline: May 7, 2023. This is a monthly call.

Northern GravyRestrictions: Northern Gravy welcomes submissions from UK & Ireland writers of any background, including first-time writers. Genre: Fiction, Poetry and Kid Lit (writing for Middle Grade and Young Adult audiences) Payment: £100 per contributor. Deadline: May 7, 2023.

IslandRestrictions: Open to Australian and New Zealand citizens and residents only. Genre: Fiction. Payment: 20 cents per word, with a minimum of $350 and a maximum of $750. Deadline: May 8, 2023.

Orion's BeauGenre: LGBTQ fantasy: fiction, poetry, art. Payment: $3. Deadline: May 10, 2023. See theme.

Tiger LilyRestrictions: Open to writers 18-21 living in the UK. Genre: Fantasy. Length: Roughly 5000 words. Payment: £50 per piece. Deadline: May 10, 2023.

Horns & Rattles Press: Underwater CreepiesGenre: Horror science fiction and fantasy stories, with an emphasis on below the water. Payment: $20. Deadline: May 11, 2023.

Shoreline of InfinityGenre: Science fiction, fantasy, 6000 words max. Theme: Climate Change. Payment: £20/1000 words. Deadline: May 11, 2023. (Extended) Accepts translations of stories originally published in another language.

Space Cat PressGenre: Poetry, flash fiction, short stories and creative non-fiction inspired by the theme ‘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 – we want to read it." Payment: flat rate fee for each piece - £5 for poetry/flash fiction and £10 for short stories. Deadline: May 12, 2023.

Fusion FragmentGenre: Science fiction or SF-tinged literary fiction stories and novelettes ranging anywhere from 2,000 to 15,000 words. Payment: Both previously unpublished work and reprints pay 3.5 cents (CAD) per word, up to a maximum of $300 (CAD) per story. Deadline: May 13, 2023.(Open for one day only.)

Solarpunk MagazineGenre: Solarpunk. Payment: $0.08/word for fiction, $40/poem, and $75/essay.  Deadline: May 14, 2023.

SpellbinderGenre: Poetry, fiction, nonfiction, drama, art. Payment: £3. Deadline: May 14, 2023.

Georgia ReviewGenre: Fiction, poetry, non-fiction. Payment: $50 per printed page for prose and $4 per line for poetry. Essay-reviews and standard reviews earn honoraria of $50/printed page. Deadline: May 14, 2023. Fee to submit online; no fee for postal submissions.

Arc Poetry MagazineGenre: Poetry. "Crip Lives: Restoring Subjectivity." "Arc Poetry Magazine invites artists who live with disability/chronic illness/mental illness and other forms of existence that are impacted by ableism to send us poems, prose, essays, and reviews exploring what it means to be in the world, or your topic of choice." Payment: $50 per page. Deadline: May 15, 2023.

Unnerving BooksGenre: Crime stories. Payment: $0.01/word USD + a paperback copy. Length: 1,500-8,000 words, preference being 2,500-4,000 words in length. Deadline: May 15, 2023. Reprints accepted.

BarrelhouseGenre: All genres. Payment: $50. Deadline: Opens May 15, 2023. Closes when cap is reached.

IslandRestrictions: Open to Australian and New Zealand citizens and residents only. Genre: Poetry. Payment: $125. Deadline: May 15, 2023.

evOkeGenre: All things Pagan, polytheist, and witchy. See themes. Payment: $5. Deadline: May 15, 2023. Open from the 1 - 15 of every month.

Uncanny MagazineGenre: SF/F novellas. Length: 17,500 to 40,000 words. Payment: $.10 per word. Deadline: May 15, 2023. Opens May 1. 

Diet Milk MinisGenre: Prose, poetry. Payment: $10 for poetry, $20 for prose. Deadline: May 15, 2023. See theme.

berlin litGenre: Poetry. Payment: 20 euros per poem. Deadline: May 15, 2023.

Propertius PressRestrictions: Open to Black, Minority, Indigenous, and other Persons of Color. Genre: Full-length literary fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry. Payment: Royalties. Deadline: May 15, 2023.

Propertius Press.  Genre: Literary fiction, children's fiction, YA. Payment: Royalties. Deadline: May 15, 2023. May close early if cap is reached.

just femme & dandyGenre: Fashion for the LGBTQIA+ community. Theme: Resurrect. "For this issue, in honor of the twentieth anniversary of the death of one of our most beloved icons, Nina Simone, we ask you to submit creative expressions in any genre, including but not limited to writing, visual art, fashion design, video, audio, and anything you can think of that could be housed on a website that engages with the idea of resurrection and LGBTQIA+ fashion." Payment: 50 USD per text-based submission and 150 USD per multimedia submission (video, photography, image + text, fashion spread + interview, etc.). Deadline: May 15, 2023.

UntetheredGenre: Fiction, nonfiction, poetry, hybrid writing, visual art and those strange things in between. Payment: $20. Deadline: May 15, 2023.

The Lorelei SignalGenre: Fantasy short stories, flash fiction, and poetry with strong female characters. Payment: $15 for short stories, $5 for poems and flash (<1000 wds) fiction pieces, $5 for reprints. Deadline: May 15, 2023. Accepts reprints.

A Velvet GiantGenre"We are open to work that takes the shape of basically any format: words, recordings, visual art, hybrid forms, etc. We are open to translated original work." Payment: $20. Deadline: May 15, 2023. 

Delicate FriendGenre: Poetry, prose, visual art, music, videos, game descriptions, fake movie reviews, real movie reviews, and more. "We want the unruly things you type at 1 A.M. The quiet daydreams you’ve scrawled down about your crush. Breathless reflections on your favorite fanfiction or how your body comes alive in nature. In short, we want your art and writing about things that are… delicate." Payment: $10. Deadline: May 15, 2023.

Farmer-ishGenre: Nonfiction, CNF, poetry related to farming (including recipes). Payment: $25. Deadline: May 15, 2023. See themes.

The Horror Zine: Book of Monster StoriesGenre: Monster stories. "We are looking for monsters, creatures, beasts, mutants, monstrosities, frightening oddities, malformations, altered insects or animals, mythical creatures, monsters from space or from bodies of water, or something we can't even imagine but you can." Payment: $20. Deadline: May 15, 2023.

NewfoundGenre: Reviews, Poetry, and Visual Arts. Payment: $25. Deadline: May 15, 2023.

Songs of Eretz Poetry Review. Genre: Poetry and art. Payment: $7 per poem, $12 for cover art and $7 for inside art. Deadline: May 15, 2023. See themes.

Luna Station QuarterlyRestrictions: Open to women writers only. Genre: Speculative fiction. Payment: $5. Deadline: May 15, 2023. Some reprints accepted.

Intrepidus InkGenre: Genre fiction, including flash (no horror, erotica, or children’s fiction). Themes: Intrepid and Overcoming. Payment: 2 cents/word for stories of 300-1,000 words, and $30 for stories of 1,500-2,500 words. Deadline: May 15, 2023.

GreenPrintsGenre: Personal essays about gardening. “Calling all experienced gardening writers—we seek gardening stories that are true and personal, expressive and thoughtful, and humorous and witty. We focus on the human, not the how-to, side of gardening, so your story should be entertaining, moving, unexpected, touching, and funny—a heartfelt story you would tell a friend or family member.” Payment: $100 - $150. Deadline: May 18, 2023.

Pride MagazineRestrictions: Open to queer writers in “Canada.” Genre: Nonfiction articles and poetry. Payment: $75 per poem, 60 cents per word for articles. Deadline: May 19, 2023.

'The Dead' Fiction Podcast. Genre: Zombies! "We're looking for new and original character driven stories focusing on the survivors of a zombie outbreak. Stories should focus on the human experience, and conflicts following a cataclysmic event, with the ever present threat of an overwhelming zombie population. Pitches should not be tied to any previously established characters, locations, or intellectual property." Payment: $2,000. If selected, writers will be commissioned to write a 90-180 page screenplay, and will be invited to participate in an educational experience, including a writing mentorship and a guided walk through the production process. Deadline: May 19, 2023. Pitches only.

Old PalGenre: Poetry, fiction, criticism, excerpts, audio, mixed media, and various mediums of art. Payment: $50. Deadline: May 20, 2023.

Solarpunk Micro MiniGenre: Solarpunk micro fiction, 250 words max. Payment: $25. Deadline: May 21, 2023.

Flash Fiction OnlineGenre: Speculative (science fiction, fantasy, slipstream, and horror) and literary flash fiction. Length: 500- to 1000-words. Payment: $80. Deadline: May 21, 2023.

Full House LiteraryGenre: Prose, poetry, hybrid, photography and artwork. Payment: Royalties (?) Deadline: May 22, 2023.

Off Topic Publishing: Poetry BoxGenre: Poetry. Payment $40 CAD. Deadline: May 25, 2023.

Weird WestGenre: Short stories. Westerns without a speculative element (scifi/fantasy/horror/weird) will not be considered. Payment: $.06/word for original fiction and $.03/word for reprints. Deadline: May 26, 2023. Accepts reprints.

Prairie FireGenre: Fiction, poetry, CNF on theme: What keeps you up at night? Payment: Prose: $0.10 per word; Poetry: $40 per poem. Deadline: May 26, 2023.

Profiles. Genre: Character-driven fiction and non-fiction — both original works and works in translation — under 5,000 words. Art. Payment: €200+ per piece. Deadline: May 26, 2023.

The Other Stories (Audio). Genre: Horror on themes. Payment: 15 GBT. Deadline: May 27, 2023. See themes.

Cry Baby Bridge: A Collection of Utter SpeculationGenre: Speculative fiction. "Across the United States there are Bridges that belong to another time. Some aren’t even attached to roads anymore, but they are well known. People who cross them, especially at night, have stories to share of phantom cries, sometimes like a baby, sometimes like a woman. There are legends attached to explain these cries, tragedies of women seeking to flee from horrible situations. Or maybe it’s something else entirely. Something dark and more mysterious that we cannot completely understand." Payment: $20 and a contributor’s copy. Deadline: May 29, 2023.

Space and TimeGenre: Science fiction, fantasy, horror, steampunk, magical realism. See theme. Payment: 1 cent/word. Deadline: May 29, 2023.

B Cubed Press: Scott's PlanetGenre: Speculative fiction. "Be part of the first B Cubed Press shared-world anthology. The story begins just after the Scott’s Planet colony is abandoned by the founding corporation. Nearly half of the colonists chose to immigrate to other viable colonies. But the rest of the settlers decided to stay. These remaining colonists continue the struggle to carve out a niche within the planet’s native ecology. While the Earth flora and fauna they’ve brought with them are more sophisticated and complex than those of Scott’s Planet, this hasn’t always served as an advantage. Simple algae and fungus exploit the more complex invaders and prove to be incredibly resistant to removal. What happens to the colonists now?" Payment: Royalties and 3 cents/word. Deadline: May 30, 2023.

HeartlinesRestrictions: 50% of content is from writers identifying as being from Canada/Turtle Island. Genre: Speculative fiction and about relationships. "We're looking for short fiction and poetry focused on long-term relationships: platonic, romantic, or familial. We don't want the blaze of new love or the obsession of a new friend. We want pieces that show that comfort that develops when people know each other for years." Stories - 1,000 - 3,500 words. Payment: $0.08 CAD per word for short fiction (1,000-3,500 words) and $60 CAD flat per poem. Deadline: May 30, 2023. 

The Wire’s Dream MagazineGenre: Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, Poetry, Art, Photography, Combined Work from underprivileged individuals. Payment: $5. Deadline: May 30, 2023.

Kweli Journal. "Kweli is the first online journal of its kind to celebrate community and cultural kinships. In this shared space, you will hear the lived experience of people of color. Our many stories. Our shared histories. Our creative play with language. Here our memories are wrapped inside the music of the Muscogee, the blues songs of the South, the clipped patois of the Caribbean." Genre: Self-contained novel excerpt, short story, or creative non-fiction piece, poetry. Length: No more than 7,000 words. Payment: "Upon publication." Deadline: May 30, 2023.

Touchpoint Press: Christmas AnthologyGenre: Wholesome stories that inspire, instill kindness and hope, and contain a sense of togetherness and community. Deep conflict (and multiple conflicts) is good, but your story must be HEA or HFN. Payment: $100 on publication ($50 for reprints). Deadline: May 31, 2023. Reprints accepted. 

AKI—Mother EarthRestrictions: Open to Indigenous creators. Genre: Original unpublished fiction up to 5,000 words and art. Payment: 5 cents CDN per word. Deadline: May 31, 2023.

Right To LifeGenre: Fiction, Poetry, Nonfiction. "In our latest anthology, Right to Life, we want to provide a platform for people to use their voice for both justice and education. We want to hear your stories about what it’s like to live in your body; what it’s like to be yourself in a society that often labels you as “other”; what it’s like to have to fight for your right to live in the same safety and comfort that should be granted to all, but is held by few." Focus on the US. Payment: $50 per piece. Deadline: May 31, 2023.

Game Over Books is a small Boston-based press run by nerdy artists. Genre: Poetry, chapbooks and full-length mss. Payment: 30% royalties and 25 author copies. Deadline: May 31, 2023.

American Poets Continuum Series. Restrictions: Open to poets who have previously published a full-length book of poetry with a traditional publisher. Genre: Book-length poetry collection. Payment: Royalties. Deadline: May 31, 2023.

Bombay MagazineGenre: Fiction, poetry and graphic fiction. Payment: Indian rupees 5,000 (approx. $61). Deadline: May 31, 2023.

Short Fiction: The Visual Literary Journal. Restrictions: Open to submissions from the UK, Europe, the Commonwealth and every other country except for the USA. Genre: Fiction between 500 and 5,000 words. Payment: 2p (£0.02) per word, to the nearest 100 words, with a minimum of £30 and maximum £100. Deadline: May 31, 2023. 

Augur MagazineGenre: Fantasy. "Give us your most gorgeous fairy tale retellings, your most earnest and subversive fables. Introduce us to your beloved mythical creatures; your trans mages and gay knights; your deeply immersive worlds and dreamworlds and underworlds." Payment: $0.11 cents (CAD) per word for short fiction (1000+ words), and a flat fee of $110.00 per flash fiction piece (1000 words and under). Deadline: May 31, 2023.

Bi+ LinesRestrictions: Open to Bi+ poets. Genre: Poetry. The theme for the anthology is ‘in- between’. Payment: £75. Deadline: May 31, 2023.

Contemporary Verse 2Genre: Poetry and critical writing about poetry, including interviews, articles, essays, and reviews. Payment: $30 - $150. Deadline: May 31, 2023.

ShenandoahRestrictions: Open to writers who identify as BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, disabled, and/or from other marginalized identities. Genre: Creative Nonfiction Flash/micros. Payment: $100. Deadline: May 31, 2023.  

TypehouseRestrictions: No-fee submissions are open for all API creators and all Mental Health identified creators, not limited to those in the US. Genre: Prose, poetry, art. Payment: $25. Deadline: May 31, 2023.

Long Con MagazineGenre: Art (poetry, prose poetry, fiction, translations, visual, video, audio, and other – digital, hybrid, etc.), in response to artwork. (No nonfiction) Payment: CAD25 - 50. Deadline: May 31, 2023.

Poet LoreGenre: Poetry. Payment: $50. Deadline: May 31, 2023.

The Gettysburg Review. Genre: Poetry, fiction, essays. Payment: $2.50 per line for poetry, with a maximum of $300.00 for an individual poem, and $25.00 per printed page for prose. Deadline: May 31, 2022. Fee to submit online; no fee for postal submissions.

AGNIGenre: Poetry and prose. Payment: $10 per printed (or printed-out) page for accepted prose, and $20 per page for accepted poetry, up to a maximum of $150. Deadline: May 31, 2023. Fee to submit online. No fee to submit by USPS.

Touchpoint Press: Nightmares of Strangers Anthology Genre: Horror. "We’re looking for stories that send a chill down your spine and send your imagination into overdrive, that keep you up at night and leave you shaking." Payment: $100 on publication ($50 for reprints). Deadline: May 31, 2023. Reprints accepted. 

Baltimore ReviewGenre: Poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, videos (including poetry), and cross-genre work. Payment: $40. Deadline: May 31, 2023.

New Orleans ReviewGenre: Fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Payment: $300 for prose, $100 for poetry. Deadline: May 31, 2023. In celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month, there are no submission fees for all API writers for the month of May, not limited to those living in/born in the US.

Quarter Press: Quarter(ly)Genre: Fiction, nonfiction, poetry, art. See themesPayment: $5. Deadline: May 31, 2023.

Red Cape Publishing: A - Z of Horror: S is for SlasherGenre: Horror on theme. Payment: £10. Deadline: May 31, 2023.

Reader BewareGenre: Horror. Payment: $0.01/word for fiction, $0.05/line for poetry, $5/page for comics. Deadline: May 31, 2023.

Variant LitGenre: Poetry, art. Payment: $10. Deadline: May 31, 2023.

Haven SpeculativeRestrictions: Open to authors of color, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and other underrepresented groups. Genre: Speculative fiction and poetry. Payment: 1 cent/word for fiction and $5 - $10 for poetry. Deadline: May 31, 2023.

Escape PodGenre: Science fiction (Audio and written format). Payment: USD $0.08 per word for original fiction. USD $100 per story for reprint fiction. Deadline: May 31, 2023. Reprints accepted.

Split Lip MagazineGenre: Fiction (flash and short stories), memoirs, and poetry. with a pop-culture twist. Payment: $50 - $75 per author (via PayPal) for our web issues. Payment for print is $5 per page, minimum of $20, plus 2 contributor copies and a 1-year subscription. Deadline: May 31, 2023. Note: Submit early to avoid submission fees.

JMS BooksGenre: LGBTQ romance stories, 12,000 words minimum. See themePayment: Royalties. Deadline: May 31, 2023.

FanaticalGenre: Sci-fi, fantasy and horror stories between 2,000 and 6,000 words. Payment: £20. Deadline: May 31, 2023.

Dragon Soul Press: A Death in the Night. Genre: "All stories featuring assassins are welcome." Payment: Royalties. Deadline: May 31, 2023.

Apparition LitGenre: Speculative fiction and poetry on theme of Creature. Payment: $30. Deadline: May 31, 2023. Opens May 15. Submission periods are extended by a week for BIPOC creators only.

CrannógGenres: Poetry, short stories. Payment: €120 per poem and €200 per story, €200 per author interview and €200 per cover image. Deadline: May 31, 2023. Requires purchase for new writers.

One StoryGenre: Short story. Length: 3,000 - 8,000 words. Payment: $500. Deadline: May 31, 2023.

Bury Your GaysRestrictions: This anthology is only open to queer writers. Genre: Horror. "We’re looking for tales that explore queer tragic horror, and any other interpretation of the title theme. Show us what tragic queer love means to you. Horror is a genre with serrated edges—so make your characters bleed." Payment: 7 cents/word. Deadline: May 31, 2023.

the other side of hopeGenre: Fiction and poetry by refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants only. They accept non-fiction, reviews, and interview submissions by anyone as long as the subject matter sheds light on the refugee and immigrant life. Payment: £100 per published author in the print issue, and £50 per published author in the online issue. DeadlineMay 31, 2023.

Black Lawrence Immigrant Writing SeriesRestrictions: Open to any individual living in the U.S. who identifies as an immigrant and who either (i) was born in another country, (ii) has at least one parent who was born in another country (iii) is a refugee, or (iv) lives in the United States under Asylum or a Protection Program, such as TPS or DACA. Genre: Books of poetry, prose (fiction or nonfiction), and hybrid texts of poetry and prose. Payment: In addition to publication, marketing, and a standard royalties contract from Black Lawrence Press, authors chosen for the Black Lawrence Immigrant Writing Series will receive a travel stipend of $500, which can be used for book tours or in any manner chosen by the authors. Deadline: May 31, 2023.

Exile Editions: Through the Portal – Stories from a Hopeful DystopiaGenre: 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.” Length: Up to 3,500 words. Payment: CAD0.05/word. Deadline: May 31, 2023.

Exile Editions: OnwaachigewinGenre: Fictional stories by Indigenous writers in many different genres, including art-based works, about what it means to glimpse the future, how foreknowledge and foretelling can serve as warning, protection, or be a matter of survival. From omens, spirit guides, premonitions, migration stories, and the Seven Fires Prophecy, to predictions encoded in wampum, cowrie shells, beads, birch-bark scrolls, petroforms and petroglyphs. Payment: CAD0.05/word. DeadlineMay 31, 2023.

Farmer-ishGenre: Nonfiction, CNF, poetry related to farming (including recipes). Print annual edition. Length: 800 - 200 words. Payment: $25. Deadline: May 31, 2023. See topics.

Exile Editions: AkiGenre: Short fiction and image-based works by Indigenous creators. Payment: CAD0.05/word. DeadlineMay 31, 2023.

Playlist of the DamnedGenre: Horror. "When a hiker finds a cassette tape in an abandoned mine reading DO NOT PLAY, a playlist of unfathomable evil, decadence, and horror is unleashed featuring the 25 songs no human was ever supposed to hear." 500 – 5000 words. Payment: Prose - .5 per word. Poetry - $1 per line, DeadlineMay 31, 2023.

LightspeedRestrictions: Open to BIPOC writers only. Genre: Science fiction flash fiction Payment: 8 cents per word. Deadline: May 31, 2023.

Brigid's Gate: Scissor Sisters: Sapphic Villains AnthologyGenre: Horror short stories and flash fiction featuring lesbian villains. "We’d especially love to see stories of feminine rage, erotic horror, genderbent retellings and reclamations of power by queer femmes." Length: 1,500 to 4,000 words. Payment: $0.08 a word for flash fiction and short stories. Deadline: May 31, 2023.

Broken Sleep Books. (UK) Genre: Poetry pamphlets (up to 40 pages). Payment: Royalties. Deadline:  May 31, 2023.

University Press of KentuckyGenre: Books of poetry or fiction (novels, short story collections, etc.). Payment: Royalties. Deadline: May 31, 2023.

Nashville ReviewGenre: Fiction, poetry, art, and nonfiction. Payment: $25 per poem & song selection; $100 per selection for all other categories, including featured artwork. Translators receive $25 per poem & $100 for prose selections. Deadline: May 31, 2023.

StanchionGenre: Writing (prose, poetry, etc) & visual art on theme: Away from home. Payment: "Nominal." Deadline: May 31, 2023.

Thyme Travelers, an Anthology of Speculative Fiction by Palestinian Writers. Restrictions: Open to Palestinian writers. Genre: Speculative fiction. Payment: 8 cents per word. Deadline: May 31, 2023.

The Stinging FlyGenre: Fiction, nonfiction, poetry. Payment: Fiction and nonfiction: €30 per magazine page; Poetry: €50 per poem; Featured Poet: €250. Deadline: May 31, 2023.

And a few more...

Eternal Haunted SummerGenre: Poetry, short fiction. Theme: Genesis. Payment: $5. Deadline: June 1, 2023.

Massachusetts ReviewGenre: Personal essays, stories, interviews, and poems about womanhood as it relates to modern times. Payment: $200. Deadline: June 1, 2023.

ParabolaGenre: Original essays and translations, poetry, reviews. See themesPayment: Not specified. Deadline: June 1, 2023. 

Third FlatironGenre: SF, fantasy, space opera, hopepunk. Theme: Rhapsody of the Spheres. Payment: 8 cents per word. Deadline: June 1, 2023.

Dead LettersGenre: Short horror stories in the 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. Length: 2,500 – 7,000 words. Payment: $0.01 per word. Deadline: June 1, 2023.

Gemma FilesGenre: Horror short stories based on the themes set out in Gemma Files’ classic work, Experimental Film. Payment: $50 per piece. Deadline: June 1, 2023.

The New Lesbian PulpGenre: Short stories, scripts. Length: 3,000 - 10,000 words. "The landscape of relationships, queer embodiment, and womanhood has shifted past our cultural focus. We the editors want stories that pull the lens back to where we are now: what is the reality of the contemporary dyke?" Payment: $300 to $1,000 per contributor. Deadline: June 1, 2023.

OlitRestrictions: Strong preference for Orlando based writers/submissions about Orlando and surrounding areas. Genre: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Hybrid, Artwork, Photography. "Send us all kinds of stuff. We love the artfully weird." Payment: $10. Deadline: June 1, 2023.

Old MoonGenre: Weird fiction and sword-and-sorcery. Payment: 8 cents per word. Deadline: June 1, 2023.

sin cesar: ClimateRestrictions: They prioritize work by Black and Brown artists. “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.” Genre: 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.” Payment: $25-75 for poetry, $100 for prose. Deadline: June 1, 2023.

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

70 Writing Contests in May 2023 - No entry fees

This May there are more than five dozen free writing contests for short fiction, novels, poetry, CNF, nonfiction, and plays. Prizes range from $60,000 to publication. None charge entry fees.

Some of these contests have age and geographical restrictions, so read the instructions carefully.

If you want to get a jump on next month's contests go to Free Contests. Most of these contests are offered annually, so even if the deadline has passed, you can prepare for next year.

Good luck! 

(Image: Pixabay)


Parsec Short Story ContestRestrictions: Open to non-professional writers. Genre: Speculative fiction. The theme for the contest is: Preserve or Purge. This can be conveyed in the setting, plot, characters, dialogue…the only limit is your imagination. The theme must be integral to the story in some way and not just mentioned in passing. Prize: $200 and publication. Best youth story (age 19 and under) receives $50. Deadline: May 1, 2023. 

Malahat Review: Far Horizons Award for Short FictionRestrictions: Open to writers who have yet to publish a book. Genre: Short Fiction. Prize:  CAD $1,250.  Deadline: May 1, 2023. 

The Questions Writing PrizeRestrictions: Open to young Australian writers (18 to 30 years). Genre: Fiction and nonfiction on any topic as long as the piece remains between 1,500 and 2,000 words. Prize: $3,000 AUD top prize. Deadline: May 1, 2023. 

Queer Scifi Flash Fiction ContestGenre: Fantasy, paranormal or horror LGBTIQA stories of no more than 300 words on the theme of Rise. Prize: The top three winners will receive cash prizes of $75, $50, and $25 respectively. Deadline: May 1, 2023.

Jane Austen Literacy Foundation Writing CompetitionGenre: Original, fictional short story.  "The theme of the competition is ‘The Wonder of Words’ and you are invited to write an original, fictional short story.  Your short story can be inspired by our theme in any way." Prize: "The winning stories (the winner and two runners up) will be recorded as an audiobook by multi-award winning and best-selling Austen narrator, Alison Larkin, published WORLDWIDE and promoted for all to hear!" Deadline: May 1, 2023.  

Sunlight PressGenre: Flash fiction. Prize: $750. Deadline: May 1, 2023.

CINTAS Creative Writing FellowshipRestrictions: Open to any Cuban author (including those of direct Cuban lineage; need not reside in Cuba). Genre: Novel excerpts, short stories, plays, or poems of up to 25 pages. Prize: $20,000 fellowship. Deadline: May 1, 2023.

Rabbi Sacks Book PrizeGenre: Published nonfiction book that contributes significantly to the arena of modern Jewish thought. Prize: $50,000. Deadline: May 1, 2023. 

The Waterston Desert Writing PrizeGenre: Literary nonfiction, desert theme. Prize: $3,000. Deadline: May 1, 2023.

Questions Writing PrizeRestrictions: Open to authors aged 18-30. Genre: Short stories of any genre or nonfiction between 1500 and 2000 words. Prize: First place winners (or prize pool for a tie) is $2000. The work will also be published in a book. Deadline: May 1, 2023. 

West Virginia Fiction CompetitionRestrictions: Open to West Virginia residents or students. Genre: Short fiction, 5,000 words max. Prize: $500. Deadline: May 1, 2023.

LIGHT ContestGenre: Letters, short stories, art, poetry. "How might we reflect and reimagine wellness in public health through art, letters, stories, and poetry?" Prize: $500 top prize. Deadline: May 1, 2023.

Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Non-FictionGenre: Literary non-fiction. Restrictions: Titles must be published in Canada and written by Canadians. Prize: $60,000 will be awarded to a literary nonfiction book published between March 1, 2023 and May 2, 2023. Deadline: May 3, 2023.

Grouse Grind Lit Prize for V: Short FormsRestrictions: No fee for black and Indigenous writers. Genre: Flash fiction and nonfiction, hybrid forms and experimental work welcome. Prize: $500 top prize. Deadline: May 2, 2023.

Writers' Trust Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ2S+ Emerging WritersRestrictions: Open to Canadian LGBTQ+ writers. Genre: Debut book for books published between March 1, 2023 and May 2, 2023. Prize: $10,000. Deadline: May 3, 2023.

Atwood Gibson Writers' Trust Fiction PrizeGenre: Fiction. Restrictions: Titles must be published in Canada and written by Canadians. No self-published works. Prize: $60,000 will be awarded to a novel or short-story collection published between March 1, 2023 and May 2, 2023. Prizes of $5,000 will be awarded to each of the finalists. Deadline: May 3, 2023.

RBC PEN Canada New Voices Award. "The RBC PEN Canada New Voices Award is an annual award that aims to encourage new writing and to provide a space where unpublished Canadian writers can submit short stories, creative nonfiction, journalism, and poetry. The shortlisted submissions are judged by a distinguished jury of Canadian writers." Prize: The winning entry will receive a $3,000 CAD cash prize and mentorship from a distinguished Canadian author. Deadline: May 5, 2023.

On The Premises Mini-Contest. "For this mini-contest, 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." Prize: First place pays $35, second pays $25, and third pays $15, all in US dollars. Honorable mentions get published, but make no money. Deadline: May 5, 2023.

Love the Words 2023: Dream. ‘Love the Words’ is an annual celebration of the magic and power of words, and is part of International Dylan Thomas Day. Genre: Poems on theme: Dream. Prize: Publication. Deadline: May 6, 2023.

Furious FictionGenre: Flash fiction. "On the first Friday of every month, a new set of story prompts will be revealed. You will have 55 hours to submit your best 500-word (or fewer) story." Prize: $500AUD. Deadline: May 7, 2023. Opens on May 5.

Lab42 Essay CompetitionGenre: Essay. "The objective of this Essay Challenge is to come up with ideas on how to solve the Abstraction and Reasoning Coprus (ARC) Challenge. The ARC Challenge is like an IQ test for machines. The goal of the challenge is to develop a program that can solve 100 secret ARC tasks, which are not accessible to the public." Prize: $2,000 top prize. Deadline: May 7, 2023.

Preservation Foundation Essay Contest for Unpublished WritersRestrictions: The contest is open to writers whose creative writing has never produced revenues of over $500 in any single year. Genre: Animal Nonfiction. “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.” Prize: First prize is $200. Runners-up will receive $100. Finalists will receive $50. Deadline: May 7, 2023.

The Future Bookshelf: Mo Siewcharran PrizeRestrictions: The contest is open to BAME writers in the UK. Genre: Picture book. Prize: £2,500, £1,500 and possible publication. Deadline: May 8, 2023.

Create 4 FreedomRestrictions: The contest is open to writers in the contiguous United States (48 states plus Washington, DC). Genre: Essays and poetry. This year’s contest focuses on Reflections on Freedom. Prize: $750. Deadline: May 8, 2023.

Queer Writers of America ContestRestrictions: Open to writers between the ages of 13 and 18. Genre: Short story, poetry, essay. Writing must contain queer themes and characters/content. Length: 5000 words max. Prize: $100 top prize. Deadline: May 10, 2023.

Cave Canem Poetry PrizeRestrictions: Open to Black writers of African descent who have not had a full-length book of poetry published by a professional press. Authors of chapbooks and self-published books with a maximum print run of 500 may apply. Genre: Unpublished, original collections of poems written in English. Prize: $1,000, publication by University of Pittsburgh Press in fall 2023, 15 copies of the book, and a feature reading. Deadline: May 10, 2023.

Limp Wrist: Glitter Bomb AwardRestrictions: Open to LGBTQ/non-binary poets and their allies. Genre: Poem by a poet of any stage of her/his/their career. Prize: $600 and publication in Limp Wrist. Deadline: May 11, 2023.

Creative Future Writers’ AwardRestrictions: Open to underrepresented writers in the UK only, who are over 18 years old. Genre: Poetry, fiction. This year’s theme is ‘How It Started.’  Prize: Publication, unspecified monetary award (?)  DeadlineMay 14, 2023.

Apparition LitGenre: Speculative flash fiction inspired by the monthly photograph prompt. (See site for photo.) Length: 1000 words max. Prize: $30. Deadline: May 14, 2023.

Bacopa Literary ReviewGenres: Fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry. "This is a call for writing on the topic of censorship in all six of our current submissions categories." Prizes: First ($200) and Runner-Up ($160) prizes in each genre. All published will receive $20 and a copy of the print journal. After publication, Bacopa will be promoted online. Deadline: May 14, 2023.

Governor General's Literary Awards. Restrictions: Books must have been written by Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada. They do not need to be residing in Canada. Genre: The Governor General’s Literary Awards are given annually to the best English-language and French-Language book in each of the seven categories of Fiction, Literary Non-fiction, Poetry, Drama, Young People’s Literature (Text), Young People’s Literature (Illustrated Books). Prize: $25,000. Deadline: May 15, 2023.

53-Word Story ContestGenre: Flash fiction of exactly 53 words about sweat. Prize: Publication and a free book. Deadline: May 15, 2023.

Pulitzer Center's "Fighting Words—Poetry in Response to Current Events" ContestRestrictions: Current K-12 students anywhere in the world may enter. Students may write in any language, and are welcome to submit multilingual poems. Judges will have reading fluency in English and Spanish. Genre: Poetry. Theme: How can poetry be an effective response to current events and underreported stories? How can journalism and poetry help us make connections between global issues and our local and personal contexts? Prize: $300 top prize. Deadline: May 15, 2023.

ABA Journal/Ross Writing Contest for Legal Short Fiction. Sponsored by the American Bar Association. Restrictions: Entrants must be U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents. Genre: Original works of short fiction that illuminate the role of the law and/or lawyers in modern society. 5000 words max. Prize: $3,000 and publication in ABA Journal. Deadline: May 15, 2023.

The James Laughlin Award is sponsored by the Academy of American Poets. Genre: A second book of poetry forthcoming in the next calendar year. Must be under contract with US publisher. Restrictions: Open to US citizens and residents only. Prize: $5,000, an all-expenses-paid week long residency in Florida, and the Academy will purchase approximately 1,000 copies of the book for distribution to its members. Deadline: May 15, 2023.

Leeway Foundation: Transformation AwardRestrictions: Women and transgender poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers in the Philadelphia area who have been creating art for social change for five or more years. Writers who have lived for at least two years in Bucks, Camden, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, or Philadelphia counties, who are at least 18 years of age, and who are not full-time students in a degree-granting arts program are eligible. Award: $15,000. Deadline: May 15, 2023.

Singapore Poetry ContestGenre: Poetry. "We are looking for poems that use the word “snail” in imaginative ways." Prize: USD300, 200, and 100 will go to the top three winners. Deadline: May 15, 2023.

Northern Territory Literary AwardsRestrictions: Open to all writers from across the Northern Territory, Australia. Several awards for adults. Youth Award is for ages 12 - 18. Genre: Theatre, Creative Non-Fiction, Essay, Short Story, Flash Fiction, Poetry. Prizes: $500 - $1000, depending on category. Deadline: May 15, 2023.

FIYAH Literary Magazine Grant SeriesRestrictions: Open to Black writers and editors. Genre: Speculative fiction. Grant: $1000. Deadline: May 15, 2023. (?)

Write the World CompetitionRestrictions: Young writers ages 13-19.5. Genre: Nonfiction essay about food. Prize: Best Entry: $100; Runner up: $50. Deadline: May 16, 2023.  (Note: This is a monthly contest)

Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers GrantGenre: Articles, books, and short-form writing about contemporary art—the grants support projects addressing both general and specialized art audiences, from short reviews for magazines and newspapers to in-depth scholarly studies. The program also supports art writing that engages criticism through interdisciplinary methods and experiments with literary styles. Grant: $15,000 to $50,000. Deadline: May 17, 2023.

Roscommon New Writing AwardRestrictions: All entrants must have a connection with the county of Roscommon (born in, living in, currently working in, went to school in, etc). Genre: Short story. Prize: €600.00. Deadline: May 19, 2023.

Whole Life Soaps Haiku ContestGenre: Haiku. Prize: $100 and publication of your haiku on packages of Whole Life Soaps, a natural soap brand based in California. 2023 theme is Aging and the Cycle of Life. Deadline: May 20, 2023.

A Voice for Animals Teen Essay ContestRestrictions: Open to students between the ages of 14-18. Genre: Essays on an animal rights topic.  In the 16-18 year olds category, essays must be 800-1,000 words long and be accompanied by a photograph; in the 14-15 year olds category, essays should be between 1,400-1,500 words. One climate change prize (both age categories compete) will be awarded for an essay on how climate change affects a particular animal species. Prize: $500. Deadline: May 21, 2023.

Changing Light Prize for a Novel-in-VerseGenre: Novel-in-Verse. Prize: $500 and publication for a novel-in-verse, 90-160 pages. Deadline: May 25, 2023.

RTÉ Radio Short Story CompetitionRestrictions: Open to Irish writers and residents of Ireland. Genre: Short story. Prize: Up to 5,000 euros. Deadline: May 26, 2023.

Quay Words Young Writers’ Flash Fiction CompetitionRestrictions: Open writers aged 10 to 18-years. Genre: Flash fiction on theme ‘Trading Places.' Prize: £200 top prize. Deadline: May 28, 2023.

David Harold Tribe Poetry AwardRestrictions: Open to anyone normally resident in Australia for at least three years prior to entry. Genre: Poetry. Prize: $20,000. Deadline: May 29, 2023.

Buckmxn Journal Poetry AwardRestrictions: Open to Oregon and SW Washington residents only. Genre: Poetry. Prize: $300. Deadline: May 29, 2023.

Irene Adler Prize for Women WritersRestrictions: Open to Canadian women. Genre: Creative nonfiction. Prize: $1,000 scholarship to a woman pursuing a degree in journalism, creative writing, or literature at a recognized post-secondary institution in the U.S. or Canada. Deadline: May 30, 2023.

bpNichol Poetry Chapbook AwardRestrictions: Canadian publishers only. Genre: Published poetry chapbook. Prize: The author receives $4,000 and the publisher receives $500. Deadline: May 31, 2023.

Furphy Literary AwardGenre: Short stories up to 5000 words, Theme: Australian Life in all its diversity. Prize: First prize of $15,000 in the open category (2nd prize - $ 3,000,  3rd prize - $2,000.  A junior & youth category with a prize pool of $1800 will seek entries for short stories and poetry. Deadline: May 31, 2023.

Shallow WatersGenre: Flash fiction on theme: Red. Max 1,500 words. Prize: $0.03 per word and publication. Deadline: May 31, 2023.

James Bartleman Aboriginal Youth Creative Writing AwardsRestrictions: Open to aboriginal youth, 18 years or younger, residing in Ontario, Canada. Prize: $2,500. Deadline: May 31, 2023.

Vancouver Writers Fest's Youth Writing Contest.Restrictions: Open to students in British Columbia. Genre: Short stories and personal essays: 1,000 word limit (for elementary school student submissions) and 1,500 (for high-school student submissions). Prize: $100 top prize. Deadline: May 31, 2023.

Jerry Jazz Musician Fiction ContestGenre: Unpublished fiction approximately 1,000 - 5,000 words. Story should pertain to music, social history, literature, politics, art, film and theater, particularly that of the counter-culture of mid-twentieth century America. Prize: $100 and publication in Jerry Jazz MusicianDeadline: May 31, 2023.

Rattle's Ekphrastic ChallengeGenre: Poetry based on art. (See websitePrize: $100. Deadline: May 31, 2023.

The Center for Fiction / Susan Kamil Emerging Writer Fellowships offer grants, editorial mentorship, and other opportunities to early-career New York City-based practitioners who are at a critical moment in their development as fiction writers. Genre: Fiction. Grant: $5,000. Deadline: May 31, 2023.

The Wolfe Pack Black Orchid AwardGenre: Mystery novellas in the style of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe novellas. Manuscript length: 15K-20K words. Prize: $1,000, plus recognition and publication in a forthcoming issue of AAMM. Deadline: May 31, 2023.

Speculative Literature Foundation Older Writers GrantRestrictions: Open to writers who are fifty years of age or older at the time of grant application. Genre: Speculative fiction. Prize: $500. Deadline: May 31, 2023.

Fountain Magazine Essay ContestGenre: Essay on theme: How to focus in an era of distractions. 1,500 - 2,500 words. "We are constantly bombarded with breaking news, online notifications, unscheduled visits, calls, and so on. What are your distractions? How do you cope with them? How do you remain focused on what really matters?" Prize: 1st Place - $1,000, 2nd Place - $500, 3rd Place - $300, Two Honorable Mentions - $150 each. Deadline: May 31, 2023.

#GWstorieseverywhere. Genre: Micro fiction. Your story must be no longer than 25 words, with a max of 280 characters, including spaces and the hashtag. See themesPrize: Free Gotham class. Deadline: May 31, 2023.

CNO Naval History Essay ContestGenre: Scholarly essay on naval history.  Prize: First Prize: $5,000. Second Prize:$2,500. Third Prize: $1,500. DeadlineMay 31, 2023.

Genesis Jewish Book Week Emerging Writers' ProgrammeRestrictions: Open to emerging writers over 18 years of age, of any background living in the UK. Genre: Fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Prize: Up to £1,500 and mentorship. Deadline: May 31, 2023.

Jenny Brown Associates Over 50 AwardRestrictions: Open to unpublished and unrepresented UK writers aged 50 and above. Genre: Debut novel. Prize: £1,000, plus a week’s placement at Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre for the winner including reasonable travel expenses. Deadline: May 31, 2023.

The Eighth Annual H. Gene Murtha Senryu ContestGenre: Haiku. Prize: 1st Place: $50.00, 2nd Place: $25.00, 3rd Place: $25.00 Deadline: May 31, 2023.

Kit Sora Flash Fiction Photography ContestRestrictions: Open to residents in the Atlantic Provinces. Genre: Flash fiction inspired by a Kit Sora photo, 250 words max. Prize: 10 cents/word. Deadline: May 31, 2023.

Substack runs a monthly short story competition. Their mission is to "revive the art of the short story, support artists, and produce something wonderful." Genre: Short story. Length: 6000- 10,000 words. Prize: $100 plus 50% of subscription revenue to be sent by Paypal, Zelle, or check. Deadline: May 31, 2023. Reprints are ok so long as you still have the rights to distribute.

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