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Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Steamfunk, Sword & Soul, Horror, Commentary, Reviews, and more . . .

The Diverse Writers & Artists of Speculative Fiction

Strap in and enter worlds of wonder in Chosen Realities: Summer 2020. The Journal contains a dazzling array of short stories, scripts, interviews, and more! Stroll through fantastical universes, rocket through science fiction landscapes, and muse on poetry in this jam-packed introductory volume of the Journal of Diverse Writers and Artists of Speculative Fiction. Entertainment and enlightenment await!

Read the Reviews!

This is an essential #ownvoices journal -- the first issue from the Diverse Writers and Artists of Speculative Fiction (DWASF) -- which contains commentaries, essays, fiction, poetry, and more. This should be as widely available as possible, particularly in public, school, and academic libraries. The poetry in particular was heart-wrenching and heart-breaking.

The poems had a huge impact on me from K Ceres Wright, John Edward Lawson (some of whose breathtaking photography is also featured within), Scott Key, in particular, but all of them were thought-provoking, challenging, and cut deep. LH Moore's commentary on what it is like to be a Black writer of speculative fiction was an illuminating and eye-opening read that deserves as wide of an audience as possible. L. Marie Wood's pieces, "Horror and Romance" and "All Stories are Horror Stories" were fascinating. For readers wanting to diversify their palettes, particularly with more AfroFuturism, this journal issue is an excellent place to start. The authors featured within have such evocative work -- everyone should buy a copy of this issue. ~ Eva, reader on

Chosen Realities, the Summer 2020 Journal of the Diverse Writers and Artists of Speculative Fiction, has something for every lover of speculative fiction. With immersive and imaginative short stories, impactful poetry, commentary on the genre, and peppered with interviews, this collection is a must read. ~ Kenesha Williams, Founder/Editor-in-Chief of Black Girl Magic Literary Magazine

How Do You Build a World?

Worldbuilding is the process of constructing an imaginary world, sometimes associated with a whole fictional universe. Developing an imaginary setting with coherent qualities such as a history, geography, and ecology is a key task for many science fiction or fantasy writers. Worldbuilding often involves the creation of maps, a backstory, and races, including social customs and, in some cases, an invented language for a world. (Wikipedia)

K. Ceres Wright discusses Worldbuilding with AFROFuturists LH Moore and William Jones who share their insights about realistic and entertaining stories for readers and writers.

Sectornauts by Mshindo9

You may be looking for some Afrofuturistic art for your project. Click the links to the artist and contact them on Deviant Art to collaborate!


Grist is a nonprofit online magazine that publishes news and commentary on the environment. Their solutions lab, Fix, posts stories about innovative ideas and solutions and facilitates networking among fixers. To that end, Grist is looking to change the narrative on climate change by working “toward a new framework rooted in environmental justice and equitable climate solutions, while amplifying voices that have and continue to be affected by systems of oppression, including structural racism and white supremacy, heteronormativity, xenophobia, misogyny, and ableism."

They are sponsoring a short story contest, which will launch January 2021.

Story length: 3,000 to 5,000 words

Submission period: January–April 2021

Judges: An interdisciplinary board of four literary experts and four Fix employees

Award date: July2021

Awards: First-, second-, and third-prize winners will be awarded $3,000; $2000; and $1,000, respectively. Nine finalists will receive a $300 honorarium. Winners and finalists will be published in a stunning, immersive digital collection on the new Fix website and will be celebrated in a public-facing virtual event.

Stay tuned for more information closer to the launch date!

The Realm by L. Marie Wood

You thought you were dead.

Waking up and looking all around you, you realize all you learned about The Afterlife was a fantasy. You don't know where you are, but you do know it's not a pleasant or suitable place. You need to run. Hard and fast.

Eventually, you meet others doomed to live in this terrifying Realm with you. Here are gathered the newly dead from all over the universe. A formidable race of giant beasts hunts them. The likes of which have never been seen by those in the living world. This place is like nothing you ever learned about in life - neither Heaven nor Hell, neither Purgatory nor Sheol.

You encounter clusters of people huddled together for safety. You're a lone wolf – they don't trust you, nor you them. Perhaps with good reason.

Patrick is key to the future of The Realm. He must right old wrongs and fight against all the terrors it has in store. He must fight to save his family and, most importantly, all of his descendants. His revelations will impact the living world, as well as what comes next.

Patrick is the future of humanity. Can he succeed?

Get your copy of The Realm here!

Top 20 Places to Submit Speculative Fiction

Looking for places to submit your science fiction, fantasy, or horror stories? We've got you covered. Check out this article:

Roswell Award: Short Fiction

The 6th Annual Roswell Award short science fiction writing competition is open for submissions. Deadline is December 15, 2020. Get the low down:

Featured Writer: Andrea Hairston

Andrea Hairston is a playwright, novelist, and scholar. She has published three novels: Will Do Magic For Small Change, a finalist for the Mythopoeic, Lambda, and Tiptree Awards, a Massachusetts Must Read, and a New York Times Editor’s pick; Redwood and Wildfire, winner of the Tiptree and Carl Brandon Awards; Mindscape, winner of the Carl Brandon Award. Lonely Stardust, a collection of essays and plays, was published by Aqueduct press. Her play, Thunderbird at the Next World Theatre, appears in Geek Theater15 Plays by Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers. “Griots of the Galaxy,” a short story, appears in So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Visions of the Future. A novelette, “Saltwater Railroad,” was published by Lightspeed Magazine. “Dumb House,” a short story appears in New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color. Andrea has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Her next novel, Master of Poisons, will be published by Tor/Macmillan in 2020. In her spare time, Andrea is the Louise Wolff Kahn 1931 Professor of Theatre and Africana Studies at Smith College and the Artistic Director of Chrysalis Theatre. She bikes at night year round, meeting bears, multi-legged creatures of light and breath, and the occasional shooting star.

Read her new book, Master of Poisons:

7 Paying SFF Markets

by Avery Springwood

There are loads of paying science fiction and fantasy markets out there. You’ve probably heard of long-established giants like Asimov’s Science Fiction, Fantasy & Science Fiction (F&SF), Apex, Analog Science Fiction & Fact, and Clarkesworld, but here are seven more markets that pay SFWA professional rates of 8c/word, or more.

Happy speculative fiction writing everyone!

Cossmass Infinities is a SF and fantasy magazine, paying 8c/word for 2000-10000 word stories. They publish some stories online and some only in their ebook and print editions, and welcome stories from new writers and stories from Black, Asian, Latin, LGBTQ+ and other under-represented authors. The magazine has a regular submissions window which runs from the 1st to the 7th of every month (which opens/ closes at midnight UTC). Average response time: rejections = 25 days, acceptances = 66 days, but allow 3 months before querying.

Examples of accepted stories online are worth studying.

Full guidelines:

Daily Science Fiction pays 8c/word for speculative fiction stories of 100-1,500 words. They accept all sub-genres/styles of fantasy and SF. Every accepted story is available to read for free online, and you can also subscribe to receive a new story every weekday by email if you wish, also for free. Their accepted stories can be browsed, by topic, HERE.

Average response time: rejections = 21 days, acceptances = 63 days, but allow up to 3 months before querying.

Full guidelines:

Dark Matter Magazine is a SF market that aims to ‘bring you stories that explore the shadow side of reality.’ They welcome dark science fiction and darkly humorous science fiction stories (in a wide range of sub-genres) of 1000-5000 words, and pay 8c/ word on acceptance. Average response is 14 days, but allow 30 days before querying.

Full guidelines:

Escape Pod is an audio magazine that pays 8c/word for science fiction stories of 1,500-6,000 words. They are ‘fairly flexible on what counts as science’ and ‘want stories that center on science, technology, future projections, and/or alternate history, and how any or all of these things intersect with people’.

They are open to submissions annually for 9 months of the year, from Sep 1st – May 31st. Average response time: rejections = 12 days, acceptances = 86 days, but allow up to 3 months before querying.

Full guidelines:

Fantasy Magazine is a market that pays 8c/word for 1500-7500 word fantasy and dark fantasy stories. ‘No subject should be considered off-limits, and we encourage writers to take chances with their fiction and push the envelope. If you’re not sure whether your story is fantasy (vs. horror or science fiction) go ahead and submit and let the editors decide.’

The magazine has a regular submissions window which runs from the 1st to the 7th of every month. Average response time: rejections = 36 days, acceptances = 63 days, but allow up to 3 months before querying.

Full guidelines:

Podcastle is an audio magazine, that pays 8c/word for fantasy stories of up to 6,000 words, published by the same publishers as Escape Pod. They’re open to ‘open to all sub-genres of fantasy, from magical realism to urban fantasy to slipstream to high fantasy, and everything in between’, They are open to submissions four months of the year, in March, June, September, and December. Average response time: rejections = 28 days, acceptances = 84 days, but allow up to 3 months before querying.

Full guidelines:

Strange Horizons is a speculative fiction magazine that pays 10c/ word for stories up to 10,000 words (they prefer stories under 5000 words). They favor literary science fiction and fantasy stories, and are open to submissions once a week, between Monday 1600 UTC and Tuesday 1600 UTC.

Average response time: rejections = 51 days, acceptances = 66 days, but allow up to 3 months before querying.

Full guidelines:

Original article:

6 Common Publishing Myths

by Emily Harstone

As a writer who receives multiple emails each week about publishing, there are a number of myths about publishing that I encounter repeatedly. Different writers tell them to me as if they are fact. Some myths are ones I believed when I was starting out. Some contain truth. Many are entirely false.

Believing in one or more of these myths could seriously hurt your chances of having a book published by the right publisher.

You need a literary agent. Literary agents are great. Many authors rely on them. However, they are hard to find and they can’t always find a publisher for your book. I know several authors who got their book published with a good publisher after their agent failed to get that same book published.

In fact a lot of smaller publishers, including most established and respected ones, accept unsolicited manuscripts directly from authors. Not only that but most larger traditional publishers have at least one imprint or digital first branch that is open to unsolicited submissions.

When I wrote fiction I used to think it was about finding the right agent, now I know that I would submit my work to a few of my favorite publishers directly before trying to find an agent, even though my work would end up in the slush pile.

The second myth, big six or bust, is actually related to the first myth. Many believe that one of the big six publishers (which is now actually only five) need to accept their book in order for the book to sell well, so that the book can find its rightful place in brick and mortar bookstores and libraries.

This is not true. This is why knowing who your publisher’s distributor is, is so important. In fact many smaller publishers have the same distributors as the big five publishers.

Most publishing companies that have a good distributor are very upfront about it. If you go into a book store or a library regularly you will probably have a good idea of which publishers have good distribution, because you see them on the shelves.

An incomplete manuscript can be accepted is only a myth when it comes to fiction. Many nonfiction research based books are accepted before completion. When it comes to fiction, all successful legitimate publishers that I know of require that the manuscript is complete on submission. So even if they request just the first three chapters, the rest of your book should already be finished.

Having a legitimate publisher means that you don’t have to self- promote. This might have been true at one point, but it has not been true for a long time. Ten years ago I took a class with a New York Times bestselling author. He told me the best thing he did for his first book was independently hire a publicist, even though his book was published by a major (big five) publisher.

Most publishers that you can submit to directly want to know your marketing plan (or your author platform) before accepting your book for publication. They want to know that you are committed to promoting your work. That you know who your potential audience is and you are willing to connect with them. This does not mean the publisher is less legitimate or that they won’t help with marketing. They just need to know that you are serious about supporting your own book.

You have to pay a traditional publisher. If you have a traditional publisher, you do not pay them anything. They pay you. However, over the past few years many traditional and established publishing houses such Harlequin, Thomas Nelson, and Hay House have partnered with companies such as Authors Solutions Inc. to create self-publishing branches associated with these presses. Sometimes if the traditional branches of these presses have contests, the contests are even redirected to the self-publishing branch. This can confuse a lot of people.

For example in India, Penguin/Random House, one of the big five and one of the best known publishers in the world, runs a company called Partridge. However, Partridge is purely a vanity publisher. They charge all their writers.

It is no wonder that myth is becoming more substantial, not less.

Self-publishing is easy. There is truth to this myth. With a little time and minimal effort, any person can publish their book with Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). However, that does not mean that anyone will buy or read that book. The majority of self-published books sell under 10 copies. Like traditional publishing, self-publishing requires a lot of work if you want to be successful, it is just a different kind of work.

Original article:

Themed Submission Calls

Written by S. Kalekar

Speculative City: Sound

This speculative fiction magazine wants fiction, poetry, and essays on the Sound theme. They seek provocative works that are centered within a cityscape.

Deadline: 24 February 2021

Length: Up to 5,500 words

Pay: $20-55

Details here.

The Dread Machine: 1986

They are reading fiction for their first annual anthology. The theme is 1986; they want horror stories, and all submissions must inspire dread. Their guidelines say, “Do you remember a time before the internet? Before we each carried a lifeline in our pockets? Before security cameras documented everything? Back when parents didn’t worry about their kids until after the street lights popped on? Do you remember how it felt to step into the neon-lit arcade on a Friday night, your pockets heavy with quarters?

For our very first anthology, we’re seeking dread-inspiring stories that take place in 1986—either the 1986 of our reality or an alternate version. Bring us back to a simpler, scarier time.”

Deadline: 25 February 2021

Length: 3,000-10,000 words

Pay: $0.08/word

Details here.

It Gets Even Better: Stories of Queer Possibility

They want speculative fiction for this anthology, stories about positive queer possibility. Their guidelines say, “Stories may feature near-future social and political change, far-future imaginings of new societies, alternate universes with completely different systems of gender and relationships, alternate histories proposing better outcomes for true events of the past, creative explorations of queer identity—any kind of speculative fiction that posits queer affirmation and joy … please submit to us only if you are comfortable with “queer” being used to describe your story.” All kinds of representations of queer identities are welcome. Writers can submit up to three stories at once (see guidelines). They also accept reprints (audio rights must be available).

Deadline: 27 February 2021

Length: Most acceptances likely to be under 7,000 words; can accept up to 15,000 words

Pay: $0.08/word, and royalties

Details here.

Triangulation: Habitats

They want fantasy, science fiction, weird fiction, and speculative horror for this anthology on the Habitats theme. They want stories about “Sustainable habitats, in tune with their surroundings.

Show us places we want to live that never existed or that we don’t know ever existed. Past, present, and future domiciles for humans, aliens, and fantasy creatures.

Ideally, the story plot will hinge on the habitat design. Let us hear about a new way to live, thriving, not merely surviving. What does it mean to live sustainably in outer space, underground, in the sea, floating in the atmosphere?

What does sustainability look like in a fantasy setting?”

Deadline: 28 February 2021

Length: Up to 5,000 words (sweet spot is 3,000 words)

Pay: $0.03/word

Details here.

Trenchcoats, Towers, and Trolls: Cyberpunk Fairy Tales

This is a call for a fiction anthology, of cyberpunk with fairy tales. Their guidelines say, “Give me a story of Rapunzel trapped in a tower of circuits rather than stones, of trolls who live under bridges as well as those who do their work behind a keyboard — or whatever passes for a keyboard in the future. What if Snow White was a computer and the apple a virus? What if Hansel and Gretel were hackers following digital breadcrumbs? Or Cinderella was a program who must stop running by midnight or else?” Original fairy tales as well as retellings are welcome.

Deadline: 28 February 2021

Length: Up to 7,500 words

Pay: $0.01/word

Details here.

Air and Nothingness Press: Once Upon a Twice Time

This is a fiction anthology. They want two fairy tales, mashed up in a genre of the author’s choice – they’re open to Grimdark, New Weird, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Dying Earth and genre bending/ breaking. Deadline: 28 February 2021

Length: 1,000-3,000 words

Pay: $0.08/word

Details here and here.

Curious Blue Press: Good Southern Witches

This is a new independent publisher of fantasy and horror fiction and occult nonfiction. They are reading now for a themed fiction anthology. Their guidelines say, “Your story should be a complete and satisfying tale of magic. Light, dark, humorous, serious, all okay, just nothing too experimental, sexy, or violent. The story should take place in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, or West Virginia, OR at least prominently feature a character or characters from one of these settings.” The characters can be of any race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender expression.

Deadline: 28 February 2021

Length: 2,000-5,000 words

Pay: $25

Details here.

Ghost Orchid Press: Dark Hearts

This is a UK-based indie press and their tagline is ‘Eye-catching horror, Gothic, & dark fiction’. They are reading fiction submissions about the darker side of love. Their guidelines say, “Heartbreak. Obsession. Grief. Jealousy. Love can turn tainted, even cruel. Picture the ghost who won’t stop haunting the man who jilted her. The husband who will go to gruesome lengths to keep his wife alive. The stalker who’d rather kill her victims than face their rejection.

Dark Hearts will be an anthology of stories exploring the twisted side of love. We’re looking for stories that jump off the page. Stories that chill, shock or disturb us. Stories that move us or make us laugh… grimly.”

Deadline: 28 February 2021

Length: 1,000-6,000 words

Pay: $0.01/word

Details here.

Thunderbird Studios: Decades of San Cicaro

This is a fictional anthology, set in the imaginary town of San Cicaro, and taking place between 1930-1989. Their guidelines say, “This winter season, Thunderbird Studios is opening its doors to another round of stories for their “Decades of San Cicaro” project. This new anthology will continue the tradition of unusual fantasy and macabre tales in the “Jewel of California.”

As before, we’re looking for tales of urban fantasy, magical realism, the weird, the dark and the hopeful. But unlike the prior anthologies, we’re unlocking the past. You’ll have to add a bit of historical fiction to the mix, with stories taking place between 1930 all the way to the 1980’s.” See their thematic rules for details.

Deadline: 28 February 2021

Length: 5,000-8,000 words

Pay: $200

Details here.

Cuppatea Publications: We Cryptids

This is an urban fantasy anthology about cryptids (which exist in the luminal spaces between fact and fiction – like Bigfoot, Nessie, vampires, werewolves, kraken, and more). They invite writers to consider what would happen if cryptids lived among us. They want urban fantasy only – no science fiction or horror, although horror elements may be present in the story. Other forms of fantasy (epic fantasy, Historical Fantasy, or Steampunk, for example) will not be accepted. If the cryptid you choose to write about was sighted in a timeframe earlier than 2020, you are welcome to write within that time frame, but the more modern the story, the better. The editor wants noblebright, and not grimdark stories (see guidelines for more). Translated stories are welcome.

Deadline: 1 March 2021

Length: 3,000-6,000 words

Pay: $200 + royalties

Details here.

Parabola: Two themes

This is a quarterly journal that explores the quest for meaning as it is expressed in the world’s myths, symbols, and religious traditions, with particular emphasis on the relationship between this store of wisdom and our modern life. They are open for work on two themes; ‘Young & Old’, and ‘Fire’. Apart from poetry, and retellings of traditional stories (they do not publish original fiction, only retellings), they publish articles, book reviews, and forum contributions. Their guidelines say, “We look for lively, penetrating material unencumbered by jargon or academic argument. We prefer well-researched, objective, and unsentimental pieces that are grounded in one or more religious or cultural tradition; articles that focus on dreams, visions, or other very personal experiences are unlikely to be accepted.”

Deadline: 1 March for Young & Old; 1 June 2021 for Fire

Length: 500-1,500 words for retellings of traditional stories, up to 5 poems, 1,000-3,000 words for articles, up to 500 words for book reviews and forum contributions

Pay: Unspecified

Details here.

Thema: Three themes

They are accepting short stories, poems, essays, photographs, and art on three themes currently: A Postcard from the Past;Watch the Birdie!; and Get It Over With! 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.

Deadlines: 1 March 2021 for A Postcard from the Past; and 1 July 2021 for Watch the Birdie!; and 1 November 2021 for Get It Over With!

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 Evil Cookie Publishing: Gorefest

They are looking for fiction for an open-themed horror anthology. Also, “We … prefer our horror with a heavy hitting dosage of gore and carnage.”

Deadline: 1 March 2021

Length: Up to 3,000 words

Pay: $0.03/word

Details here.

Mslexia: Two themes

This magazine accepts poetry, short stories, and plays by female-identifying authors and they are reading for two themes.

— Portrait: “For Issue 90 we’re looking for pieces about artists and their subjects, about seeing and being seen, about paint, pencil and film.”

— Roots: “Our Issue 91 theme is about hidden depths and ancestry, about what nourishes and anchors plants and humans alike.”

They accept up to 4 poems, 2 short stories, and 2 scripts per entrant.

Deadlines: 8 March 2021 for Portrait; 7 June 2021 for Roots

Length: 2,200 words for stories, up to 40 lines for poetry, scripts of up to 1,000 words

Pay: £25

Details here.

Macabre Ladies Publishing: Dark Carnival

They want fiction on the ‘dark carnival’ theme – fiction about “Circus terrors and frights … Freaks and clowns … and always, a healthy side of the macabre.”

Deadline: 10 March 2021

Length: 3,000-8,000 words

Pay: $10

Details here.

Eye to the Telescope: Weird West

This is a speculative poetry magazine and they’re reading submissions on the ‘Weird West’ theme. Their guidelines say, “speculative poems set in western North America could feature a wide range of peoples, histories, mythologies, and landscapes. Weird Western poems could contain quite a list of characters: conquistadors, cowboys, horses, Native Americans, gunslingers, stagecoach bandits, school marms, soiled doves, vaqueros, and even mammoths and mammoth hunters. We are all extremely familiar with Western movie tropes and that is why it is so fun to throw in a werewolf, space ship, or time travel. My only qualification is that it contain either a character or setting which identifies it as a Western.”

Deadline: 15 March 2021

Length: 1-3 poems

Pay: $0.03/word, up to $25

Details here.

Hungry Zine: Home Cooking

This is a new magazine and they are looking for fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for their pilot issue, on the ‘Home Cooking’ theme; they also accept visual art and photography. They’re particularly looking for work from writers underrepresented in food media. Their guidelines say, “What stories, emotions, questions, relationships does “home cooking” bring up for you? In this year when many of us have been spending much time at home, what are you cooking and eating? What are your comfort foods? Who are the people you learned to cook from? What foods or meals are important to you? From who, or where, did you learn how to prepare them? How do you recreate, create and document home cooking knowledge?”

Deadline: 15 March 2021

Length: Up to three poems; up to 1,000 words for prose

Pay: $50

Details here and here.

Red Cape Publishing: A-Z of Horror – I is for Internet

They are reading work for horror fiction anthologies. Currently, they are reading on the ‘I is for Internet’ theme. “We need short horror stories exploring the dark side of the Internet – think online dating gone wrong, killers for hire, cyber bullying etc.” They have other themes listed too, for which they will start accepting submissions later.

Deadline: 15 March 2021

Length: 4,000-8,000 words

Pay: £10

Details here.


This is a story-a-day anthology of queer science fiction, fantasy, and horror by queer authors; they are accepting short fiction and comics, and they want work by queer authors only. The writing will be released to subscribers every day of Pride month. The deadline is unspecified.

Deadline: Open now

Length: Up to 7,500 words

Pay: $25-200 for fiction, $75 for comics

Details here.


Narrative ‘Tell Me a Story’ High School Contest

They want poetry on the ‘Escape’ theme by high school students (ages 15-18) all over the world – see guidelines for suggestions on what the theme can entail. Poems must be 10 to 50 lines long, and submitted by the student’s English teacher.

Value: $500, $200, $100; $50 for four finalists

Deadline: 4 February 2021

Open for: High school students

Details here.

University of Pittsburgh: The 2021 Center for African American Poetry and Poetics Book Prize

This is for a manuscript of 48-168 pages. The prize will be awarded to a first or second book by a writer of African descent and is open to the full range of writers embodying African and African diasporic experience. The book can be of any genre that is, or intersects with, poetry, including poetry, hybrid work, speculative prose, and/or translation.Value: $3,000

Deadline: 15 February 2021

Open for: Writers of African descent

Details here.

NYU Journalism: Matthew Power Literary Reporting Award

This is for promising early-career nonfiction writers to research and write an article that tells the truth about a human condition.

(They also usually have the Reporting Award, which has been suspended for 2021.)

Deadline: 15 February 2021 for proposals

Value: Up to $12,500

Open for: All journalists, early career nonfiction writers

Details here and here.

Imagine Little Tokyo Short Story Contest

This is a short fiction contest run by the Little Tokyo Historical Society in Los Angeles. Stories must take place in Little Tokyo, and can be set in the past, present, or future. Stories can be in Japanese (5,000 ji or fewer) or English (up to 2,500 words). There are three categories: Youth (under 18s), Japanese, and English.

Value: $500 in each category

Deadline: 28 February 2021

Open for: Unspecified

Details here.

The Fountain Essay Contest

They want an essay on the topic ‘My COVID-19 Story: Reflections on Life and Human Existence During the Pandemic’. See guidelines for details on the theme. Ideal length is 1,500-2,500 words. Read the FAQ carefully; any of the entries may be published, whether or not they win the prize.

Value: $1,000, $500, $300; two prizes of $150 each

Deadline: 1 March 2021

Open for: All writers

Details here.

Deep Wild: 2021 Student Poetry Contest

This is a contest for students currently enrolled in undergraduate studies. Send a poem of up to 70 lines that is backcountry infused and inspired.

Value: $100 each for three poets, publication

Deadline: 1 March 2021

Open for: Undergraduate students

Details here.

Journals Seeking Very Short Prose and Poetry

By Zebulon Huset

“For Sale: Baby Shoes, never worn.” This is one of the most widely known microfiction pieces, often attributed to Ernest Hemingway, though that attribution is tenuous. William Carlos Williams’ poem “The Red Wheelbarrow” would be an example of one of the best known very short poems clocking in at a debatable 17 words. And while these masterpieces are quite settled in the zeitgeist, minimalist writing in general doesn’t have an easy time finding a place amongst more expansive and fleshed out works that inhabit most literary magazines. Sure you’ll find one or two short prose poems or maybe some linked haiku in your average journal, but a six word story or five-lined poem won’t as often be found just anywhere.

Following are a number of journals that are either dedicated to minimalist works, or who dedicate a fair amount of the space in their journal to the pursuit of the iceberg, the gem—writing that is small in word count but large in impact.

Air/Light, Not exclusively minimalistic, Air/Light has featured numerous short poems in their limited history, especially their first issue. A Los Angeles-based journal that “approaches the literary arts from a Southern California perspective” and is looking for “new and innovative works of literary arts across all mediums and genres.” They read all year.

Blue River Review, An eclectic electronic journal from Creighton University. They certainly don’t only publish short work but their prose tops out at 2000 words maximum, and they frequently publish poems that are shorter than ten lines. They read all year.

Bluepepper, Bluepepper publishes a couple pieces a week at their online blog-style magazine. Not exclusively for short work, their prose limit is 1500 words and they frequently feature poetry that is under ten lines.

Brazenhead Review, Featuring a unique design, Brazenhead Review is an online journal of new writing that emphasizes that seeks “open dialogues on a myriad of topics” and “especially those texts that are uncategorizable, boundary-breaking, and multiplicitous.” They read all year.

Dead Fern Press, Dead Fern Press is a relatively new online journal, they publish a wide variety of work with their prose limited to 3000 words and under, and their newest issue features a number of very short poems and a 400 word story. They read most of the year, closing for April, August and December.

elsewhere, A self-styled ‘journal of prose poetry’, elsewhere is looking for short prose pieces that “that cross, blur, and/or mutilate genre”. Published roughly biannually in both print and online versions, and while their limit is 1000 words, in the newest issue six of the nine pieces were under 300 words. They read all year. (no submission guidelines page, clicking submit takes you to their Submittable page)

Eunoia Review, Eunoia Review publishes new writing every day from one or sometimes two writers at their blog-style magazine. Eclectic, they publish very short and very long work (15,000 word maximum for prose). They DO NOT read simultaneous submissions. They read all year.

Glintmoon, Focused on poetry under ten lines, however Glintmoon is “not partial to traditional forms, such as the haiku or the tanka, nor do we particularly enjoy rhymed or metred work”. They read all year.

Hoot, A ‘postcard review of {mini} poetry’, they publish poems under 10 lines and prose under 150 words monthly, one piece in print and 1-4 online. They read on a rolling basis.

Impossible Task, The online journal of short works from Chicago press Another New Calligraphy, they want “connected in its exploration of conflict, a term open to interpretation though ever present in these increasingly challenging times.” They read all year.

Lucky Jefferson, They say Lucky Jefferson “isn’t your typical literary journal—we generate constructive and interactive conversations around poetry, art, and publishing and redefine the way journals are produced and shared with readers and writers.” They frequently publish very short poetry and in their prose guidelines say “Microfiction is what’s up”. They read for issue deadlines, the current deadline for no-fee ‘early bird’ submissions is February 28, 2021.

Microfiction Monday, Publishing only stories under 100 words on the first Monday of every month, Microfiction Monday believes in the possibilities of tiny texts saying “If done right, microfiction can pack a big punch in a small space, allowing the busy reader the ability to absorb a fantastic story in under a minute.” They read submissions all year.

Minnow Literary Magazine, Publishing minnow-sized works, Minnow Literary Magazine is looking for micro-poetry (under 150 words), flash fiction (under 500 words) and personal essays (under 1500 words). They read for issue deadlines, the current deadline being April 16, 2021.

Monkeybicycle While the journal reads stories up to 2000 words for their website, they also have a ‘One-sentence stories’ category where they publish, well, stories that are only one sentence. They read all year. (clicking submit takes you to their Submittable page)

Nailpolish Stories, A ‘Tiny and Colorful Literary Journal’, publishing only stories that are exactly 25 words, Nailpolish Stories expects “emotional impact, wants to be knocked off kilter momentarily by your work, and to enjoy the language along the way.”

Nanoism, A weekly publishing journal of ‘twitter-length fiction’ which is under 140 characters including spaces, with no titles. They encourage short, funky bios, and they read submissions all year.

One Sentence Poems, They discourage semicolons but want your one- sentence poems to have at least one line break and be a grammatically correct sentence—but just one! They read all year.

Press Pause Press, Published online in issues, and averse to social media, Press Pause Press publishes all types of writing, but their newest issue features many short poems and flash/micro fiction pieces. They read all year.

Red Eft Review, This is a blog-style (individual pieces published as opposed to issues) an online publication dedicated to accessible poetry. They DO NOT read simultaneous submissions but they do read all year.

Sassafras Literary Magazine, Dubbing themselves “the littlest litmag in the world”, Sassafras Literary Magazine publishes monthly online issues of minimalist writing. Under 20 lines for poetry and 1000 words for prose, and they read all year.

Shot Glass Journal, In the Muse Pie Press family, Shot Glass Journal is an online journal that publishes issues of poetry under 16 lines. They read all year.

Spartan, An online quarterly journal of minimalist prose, Spartan is closed one month every quarter and while their word limit is 1500, much of what they publish is far lower.

Star 82 Review, While Star 82 Review allows pieces up to 750 words for fiction, the average word count of fiction in their newest issue was 227, and that’s with a 600+ word piece throwing the curve. They publish poems as well in their ‘hidden gems’ section. They read all year.

Tiny Molecules, An online quarterly of flash prose, their word limit is 1000, but many of the pieces they publish are under 300 words. They say “We love flash, we love experimental, we love saying something big in a small space” and read on a rolling basis.

Trouvaille Review, Publishing individual poems frequently in the blog-style journal, Trouvaille Review frequently features poems under ten lines. They also almost always respond in under 24 hours and read all year.

Unbroken, A quarterly online journal of prose poetry and poetic prose (“the block, the paragraph, the unlineated prose”), they aren’t looking for ‘ordinary’, indicating “We want dark and disquieting, we want fanciful and funny, we want surreal and surprising.” They read for six weeks and then take a six-week break, with their current deadline being March 20, 2021.

Versification, A journal of punk microworks, Versification publishes poetry under 5 lines and fiction under 100 words. They aren’t looking for pretty flowers, “we want the grit under your nails. We want to hear about your struggles, your dark, your haunting, or your disturbed.”

Visitant, A blog-style online literary journal with “the goal of nurturing experimental writing and art”, Visitant has a maximum word count of 1500 words but they do publish a fair share of very short work as well. They read submissions all year.

Currently Closed

Alba, A semi-annual journal dedicated to poetry (mostly) under 12 lines mostly free verse, but also forms like cinquain, tanka, haiku and others. They only read submissions during June or December.

Frost Meadow Review, This print journal out of the upper north east region publishes all sorts of writing, but that includes a good amount of short poetry. Their preferred themes include “natural world relationships, New England living, small farms, coastal communities, ecology and hope through darkness”. They read just in January.

Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Publishing “micro fiction, flash fiction, prose poetry, compressed poetry & visual arts, and whatever other forms compression might take.” Their reading periods are 3/15-6/15 and 9/15-12/15.

Molecule, Their word limit including title is 50 words. Molecule is an online journal publishing poetry, prose, plays, interviews, reviews, and visual art of tiny things twice annually. They read submissions from December 1st through January 15th.

The Gravity of the Thing (Six words), They publish short stories up to 3000 words, flash and poetry up to 500 words, but they also have a “Six Word Story” category that minimalists will definitely be excited about. They read on a rolling basis, next opening on March 1, 2021.

50 Word Stories, Publishing one 50-word story every day and then featuring one of those stories as a ‘Story of the month’, 50 Word Stories is for exactly what it says—no more and no less. 51 words, thou shalt not write, and 52 is right out. They read from the first through the fifteen of every month.

Sonic Boom, Publishing three times a year as digital issues, Sonic Boom is looking for “Japanese short-forms of poetry, avant-garde, conceptual, and postmodern works of culture and art.” Their next reading period will be in October, limiting general poetry submissions to under 25 lines and prose under 500 words.

Bonus plug

Coastal Shelf, While the journal itself isn’t dedicated to very short works, their Ceiling 200 Contest is for prose pieces under 200 words which has no fee for the first piece entered and a $250 first prize. Deadline is March 5, 2021.

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