37 Themed Calls for Submissions for February 2023

These are themed calls and contests for fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Some themed calls are: itch; ghoulish tales; automation; phantoms; miracles; belonging; the first five minutes of the apocalypse; symmetry; Halloween; the vampire; help from a stranger; epic fail; and beach shorts.

The Suburban Review: Itch
They want fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and art on the Itch theme. “As summer rolls over us—with its charge, its sweetness, its sting—we’re seeking work that gets under our skin for TSR #29: ITCH.
Sure, our bodies itch—but so can the fabric of a genre, the scenes and strictures of our social lives, and conversations which dry and flake. Send us fiction that pierces the world’s surface, and poetry that spreads across the dermis of the page. Send us literary essays on the matters that keep you up at night (like that singular, sly mozzie in your bedroom), and visual art and comics which tingle, tickle, or prick at our perception.”
Deadline: 8 February 2023
Length: 500-2,500 words for prose, up to 3 poems
Pay: AUD150-275 for prose, AUD125-275 for poetry

sweet meet: Flip
They accept submissions from all over the world, but can only pay Australian writers. They are looking for prose, poetry, and art on the Flip theme. “As always, interpret this prompt as you will, but if you need a little extra inspiration, here are some ideas that come to mind: flip-turn, turning point, flipping out, flipping the switch, flipping expectations.”
Deadline: 10 February 2023
Length: Up to 1,500 words for prose, up to 3 poems
Pay: AUD30-50

Ghoulish Books: Ghoulish Tales
Ghoulish Tales in a new magazine. They want “short stories that fit our personal definition of the word GHOULISH, which is “fun horror that aims to celebrate all things spooky.”
Note that we said fun, not funny. Comedic stories are definitely allowed, but it’s not all we’re looking to receive. We want stories that remind us why we love the horror genre.” They also want non-fiction on horror themes. The team earlier ran Dark Moon Digest, which has now been discontinued.
Deadline: 15 February 2023
Length: Up to 5,000 words for fiction, up to 3,000 words for non-fiction
Pay: $0.10/word
here and here.

Funemployment Quarterly: Automation
They want speculative fiction for their winter volume, and the theme is Automation.
Deadline: 16 February 2023
Length: Up to 1,500 words
Pay: CAD20

fron//tera: Phantoms
This is a bilingual print magazine, in Spanish and English. They publish fiction, nonfiction, poetry, comics, art, and submissions can be in Spanish or English; they’ll also publish a couple of short dual-language English and Spanish pieces side by side (see guidelines). They’re reading work on the Phantoms theme.
Deadline: 19 February 2023 (extended)
Length: Up to 5,000 words for prose; up to 3 poems
Pay:  $25-50

Worlds of Possibility
The editor wants speculative flash fiction and poetry for their newsletter, website, and podcast; “Ideally the stories should leave the reader feeling hopeful, peaceful, or happy.”
Deadline: 20 February 2023
Length: Up to 1,000 words for fiction, no length restriction for poetry
Pay: $0.10/word for fiction, $50 for poetry

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Three themes
They publish uplifting, true stories and poems. They regularly post themes they are accepting submissions on, including some topics that have a February submission deadline. They have detailed guidelines, including:
— Angels: “Angels and miracles are all around us if we keep our eyes open. Have you experienced a divine intervention, answered prayer, or other miraculous occurrence courtesy of someone you think just might have been an angel. Do you have a guardian angel who seems to swoop in and help you when you need it? … We are looking for stories, and poems that tell a story, from writers of all faiths. This includes writers who do not follow a particular religion.”
— Miracles: “All of us have experienced events in our lives that are completely unexplainable: the strange premonition that made you take a different route home causing you to miss an accident; the eerie feeling that you should call home… now, saving someone’s life; the mysterious communication from a loved one who has passed on. Divine timing, miraculous coincidences, answered prayers, premonitions that come true. Good things do happen to good people. Please share your unbelievable and amazing stories about the unexplainable events that have occurred to you.”
— The power of positive thinking: “How did you “think positive” and how did it change your life? Tell us your success story about using the power of positive thinking!”
They also have other themes listed, with later deadlines: Make me laugh!;  Celebrating cats; Celebrating dogs; and Celebrating the holiday season. They sometimes add topics and also change deadlines, so make sure to double-check these before sending your submissions. Apart from cash payment, writers also get 10 contributor copies.
Deadlines: 28 February 2023 for Angels, Miracles, and The Power of Positive Thinking
Length: Up to 1,200 words
Pay: $250
here (also see tabs on the page – Possible book topics, Submissions FAQ, and Submit your story).

Sonder: Belonging

This Ireland-based magazine wants flash and short fiction, nonfiction, and art on the Belonging theme. They particularly encourage submissions from previously unpublished writers. Submission is via a form.
Deadline: 28 February 2023
Length: Up to 2,500 words for fiction, 1,000-2,000 words for nonfiction
Pay: €300

Parsec Ink: Triangulation – Seven-Day Weekend Anthology
This is a fiction and poetry anthology, part of an annual anthology series. They have detailed guidelines on the theme, including, “Automationsimplifies our lives, to the point where a production facility is so automated it makes no sense wasting energy to run lights. These “dark factories” are currently present in the auto industry, the electronics industry, and even the robotics industry itself. What does the world look like when jobs are automated to the point that the labor force is non-existent? We’re looking for outstanding fantasy, science fiction, weird fiction, and speculative horror”.
Deadline: 28 February 2023
Length: Up to 5,000 words (prefer up to 3,000); up to 100 lines for poetry (see guidelines)
Pay: $0.03/word for fiction; $0.25/line for poetry
here and here.
(They’re also open for fiction submission from new writers with a later deadline, details 

Hungry Shadow Press: The First Five Minutes of the Apocalypse Anthology
They want horror, weird, dark fiction that deals with a fictional apocalypse. “The story must take place within a short period of time (less than a day) at the beginning of a fictional apocalypse. The story shouldn’t be the inception point or the origin of the apocalyptic event. It shouldn’t even be about the event itself. Rather, it should be about when it all started for the POV character(s). Make it personal. Make it weird. Make it disturbing. Make it beautiful. We’re gonna get a lot of zombies, so points for originality.”
Deadline: 28 February 2023
Length: 1,500-4,000 words
Pay: $0.03/word


Apparition Lit: Symmetry

This is a quarterly speculative fiction and poetry magazine. They will be reading submissions on the Symmetry theme during the second half of February. As part of their equity initiative, they have a one-week extra reading period for writers who self-identify as BIPOC in their cover letters.
Reading period: 15-28 February 2023 for general submissions; will extend by a week for BIPOC writers (see guidelines)
Length: 1,000-5,000 words for fiction, up to 5 poems
Pay: $0.05/word for stories, $50/poem
(And Solarpunk Magazine will open for Colorful Roots issue, a call for BIPOC authors only, for solarpunk-related work, during 1-14 March 2023. Nonfiction is always open. They pay $0.08/word for fiction, $40/poem, and $75/essay; details 
here and here.)

Kangaz Kahn Publishing: Halloween
This is a fiction anthology. “This is an open-themed anthology, but Halloween must be central to the story. … Make them seep with the Halloween spirit, no matter what month we’re reading it.”
Deadline: 1 March 2023
Length: 2,000-5,000 words
Pay: $0.08/word
(Submissions are also open for Cast of Wonders’ young adult genre-fiction website and podcast, on the Seasonal Holidays theme; stories should have a clear link to a holiday or event, eg Halloween, Valentine’s, Christmas, or other events; pay is $0.08/word for stories up to 6,000 words. Cast of Wonders is particularly interested in stories from younger writers. Details 
here and here.)

Cunning Folk: The Vampire
This magazine covers magic, mythology, folklore and the occult. They are open to pitches and submissions on The Vampire theme for their next print magazine. They have extensive guidelines on the theme; they want articles, interviews, rituals, poetry and short fiction “pertaining to the vampiric, that intersect with our other themes and that shine light on what lies behind the vampire’s shiny façade – and what that tells us about the current age, the unconscious shadow and humanity.  This question can be explored via journalism, art, literature, science, pop culture and the personal.” Also, “Pitch personal essays, articles, recipes and how-tos, interviews with interesting people. We are particularly keen to hear from practitioners, authors and scholars.”
Submission deadline: 1 March 2023
Length: 1,000-6,000 words for fiction
Pay: £100 per article, interview or short story and £50 for poetry and rituals
(They also have an online platform, 
Spiritus Mundi.)

THEMA: Help from a Stranger
They want fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and art. Please note, they take emailed submissions only from writers not based in the US; US-based writers must post their submissions. The next upcoming theme is, Help from a Stranger. (They have other themes listed too, with later deadlines:  The Magic of Light and Shadow, and The Missing Piece of the Puzze).
Deadline: 1 March 2023 for Help from a Stranger
Length: Up to 20 pages for prose, up to 3 poems
Pay: $10-25 for prose, $10 for poetry

Parabola: The Cosmos
Parabola 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. 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.” They publish articles (1,000-3,000 words), book reviews (500 words), retellings of traditional stories (500-1,500 words), forum contributions (up to 500 words), and poetry (up to 5 poems). The theme for their upcoming Summer 2023 issue is The Cosmos. They have other themes listed, as well.
Deadline: 1 March 2023
Length: See above
Pay: Unspecified

Speculation Publications: Beach Shorts
This is a fiction anthology. “Think seaside retreats, warm sand and cool breezes. Stories that are captivating, easy to read and let your reader take an escape from reality.
Bring us short stories filled with lovable characters who find the perfect love or a wild and crazy fling, jilted brides, old summer cottages filled with secrets, ghosts, lost diaries and treasure filled attics.
Send us stories filled with romance, mystery or adventure. Comedies with depth and emotion that go far beyond humor and romance. We’re looking for: happy endings, wonderful locations and a fun ride. We want stories with the perfect summer vibe.” They also want artwork. They’ll send a paperback contributor copy to US-based writers, and an eBook to other contributors.
Deadline: 14 March 2023
Length: 1,500-6,000 words
Pay: $10

Zoetic Press: Nonbinary Review – Epic Fail

They want poetry, fiction, essays, and art. Their upcoming deadline is for the Epic Fail theme. They also publish translations. Please note, they have a submission cap, and submissions will close when this cap is full. “We’re not talking about everyday failures, like you didn’t pay the electric bill, so your lights are turned off. We’re talking about the cascades of calamity that end in death, destruction, disaster. Series of unfortunate choices that lead to plague, famine, and war.


 A train wreck that, once it’s been set in motion, you can neither stop nor look away from. There but for the grace of some spectacularly poor planning, bad decisions, and gross incompetence, go all of us.”
Deadline: 1 April 2023, or until filled, for Epic Fail
Length: Up to 3,000 words for prose; up to 3 pages for poetry
Pay: $0.01/word for prose, $10 for poetry

Hawk and Cleaver: The Other Stories Podcast – three themes
Hawk and Cleaver publishes horror, sci-fi, and thriller fiction on their podcast, The Other Stories. They want tales that terrify, scar and haunt. They have listed the themes for 2023 on their website; these include: Dark Magic (deadline 1 April); Cryptids (deadline 29 April); and Mazes (deadline 27 May 2023). Themes with deadlines later in the year are: Artificial Intelligence, Rituals, Masks, Fame, Crime, Infestation, and The End.
Deadlines: See above
Length: Up to 2,000 words
Pay: £15

Consequence Magazine: Consequences of war and geopolitical violence
This magazine addresses work on the human consequences and realities of war and geopolitical violence. They accept fiction (including excerpts), nonfiction (interviews, essays, narrative nonfiction), poetry, translations, and art (including graphic narratives, and photo and video essays) on the issues that pertain to the magazine’s themes. They are not accepting unsolicited reviews at the moment. They will decide whether the submission will be published in print, or online.
Deadline: 15 April 2023
Length: Up to 5,000 words for prose, up to 5 poems
Pay: $40-80 for fiction, nonfiction, and poetry; $20-40 for reviews

The Devil Take You – Tales of Medieval Horror
This is a project by Sentinel Creatives, a publishing and production house based in Cape Town, South Africa. They want fiction submissions for their anthology, and have detailed guidelines, including, “We’re looking for original weird tales set in the medieval period that explore the human (and inhuman) experience through the lens of horror.”
Deadline: 15 April 2023
Length: 3,000-6,000 words
Pay: $125-200

Psychopomp.com: Themed novellas and nonfiction
This is a new press and they are reading novella submissions, as well as nonfiction. Their 
website says, “Psychopomp.com is a small press that seeks to publish otherworldly novellas (and eventually novels) about death, multiverses, time travel, and other strange lands.
We also publish a weekly newsletter that features nonfiction and curated content about death, science, literature, and entertainment.” The press is run by the publisher of 
The Deadlands magazine.
— Novellas: For speculative fiction or literary novellas, they want work on certain themes, including stories where grief or loss play a leading role; stories that feature the afterlife or the underworld; stories that involve the journey through death/the journey of the dead; stories that involve death personified (Death!); stories that take place in, or utilize a multiverse; stories that involve time travel (esp. those that involve time travel + a previously mentioned theme); origin stories (especially as they relate to previously mentioned themes); goth; ghost stories; and more.
Deadline: 30 April 2023
Length: 20,000-40,000 words
Pay: $750 advance, 25% of net receipts
here and here for novellas.
— Nonfiction: They also want short nonfiction for their newsletters and website. They want essays on art, short fiction, novels, movies, music, fashion, culture, entertainment, science, and more, that fall under the umbrella of goth, death, funerary, grief, loss, alternative, otherworldly themes.
Deadline: Unspecified
Length: 1,000-2,000 words
Pay: $50
here and here for nonfiction.

(Apart from the themed contests here, there are some great unthemed contests this month, including the Diana Woods Award in Creative Nonfiction, prize $250, deadline 28 February, details here; Gabo Prize for Literature in Translation & Multilingual Texts, prize $200, deadline 28 February, details here;  Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center’s Writer in Residence, involves mentorship duties, candidates with an MA or MFA preferred, prize $1,000 and residency, deadline 28 February, details here.)


University of Pittsburgh: The Center for African American Poetry and Poetics Book Prize
This is for a poetry manuscript, of 48-168 pages. The prize will be awarded to a fir