Sunday, 3 March 2019

Carve Magazine - Raymond Carver Contest

2019 Contest Guidelines

+Submission Dates: April 1 - May 15. (Mailed entries: May 15 is a postmark deadline.)
+Winners announced August 1 and published in fall issue online and in print.
+Prizes: $1500 (1st), $500 (2nd), $250 (3rd), and two $125 (Editor's Choice).
+Winning stories will be read by three literary agents.
+Honorable mentions and semifinalists will be listed online for up to 6 months.
+Entry Fees: $17 online / $15 mailed, per story. No limit to number of stories.
+We accept entries from anywhere in the world, but the story must be in English.
+No genre fiction (romance, horror, sci-fi); literary fiction only.
+Story must be previously unpublished (including online).
+Max word count: 10,000.
+We consider all stories without any of the author’s identifying information.
+Winners of the past two Raymond Carver and Prose & Poetry contests are ineligible.
+Submitting online: no cover page or author info in document.
+Submitting by mail: include $15 check or money order payable to Carve Magazine with cover page that includes story title, name, address, phone, email, and word count. Send to: Carve Magazine | Raymond Carver Contest | PO Box 701510 | Dallas, TX 75370.
+For additional questions about the contest, please email us at

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

The Caterpillar Poetry Prize 2019 - Now Accepting Submissions

The prize is for a single unpublished poem written by an adult for children (aged 7–11)
The poem can be of any length and on any subject. 

Anyone can enter, as long as they are over 16. 
The prize will be judged by Brian Moses. Cited as ‘One of Britain’s favourite children’s poets,’ Brian’s poetry books and anthologies have sold over 1 million copies. He was commissioned by CBBC to write a poem for the Queen’s 80th birthday, and he is Reading Champion for the National Literacy Trust & Co-director of the Able Writers’ Scheme, which he founded in 2002.

Previous judges include Chrissie Gittins and John Hegley.

There is a fee of €12 per poem, and you can enter as many poems as you like.

The Winning Poem

The winning poem will be published in the summer 2019 issue of The Caterpillar and the winner will receive a cash prize of €1,000.

You can check out previous winners here, where you'll find links to their winning poems, published in the Irish Times.
Enter online here, or download an entry form here.

Flash 500 #FlashFiction Competition

I was delighted to come third in the winter 2018 Flash 500 flash fiction competition. Now in its tenth year, this quarterly open-themed competition has closing dates of 31st March, 30th June, 30th September and 31st December 2019. The results are announced within six weeks of each closing date and the three winning entries each quarter are published on the website.

Entry fee: £5/€6.50 for one story, £8/€10 for two stories
Optional critiques: £10/€13.50 per story

Prizes are as follows:

First: £300
Second: £200
Third: £100

Highly commended: Paperback copies of Retriever of Souls, Notes from the Margin and Vlad the Inhaler - Hero in the Making

The judge, Louise Philips, has this to say about my piece:

"This story explores a darkness many of us understand. It is raw, touching, and it makes the reader want to reach into the narrator, and tell them to hold tight. The emotion and the magic in this piece of prose is found in the minuteness, in the ordinary, in the sparse use of words and phraseology, while all the time bringing the reader further in, until we too, feel the pain."

You can read my piece here

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

The Comics Lab Graphic Short Story Competition

Are you a cartoonist with an original story to tell?

The Comics Lab, in partnership with THE IRISH TIMES, is launching Ireland’s first Graphic Short Story Prize.

Ten entries will be shortlisted by a panel of judges to be printed in an anthology, while the winner will be published in print in THE IRISH TIMES TICKET on the 6th April, and the runner-up online on THE IRISH TIMES website.

The entry deadline is Friday 8th March and the winners will be announced on Saturday 6th April at DCAF​​​​​​​

Entry Specifications Here

Entry Here

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Ellipsis Flash Collection Competition

Ellipsis Flash Collection Competition

Please take a moment to read through the guidelines set out below before submitting, thank you.
What and how to submit
  • This call for submissions is only open to authors who have not had a collection/novel/novella published previously. Having a single piece within a multi-authored anthology or collection does not exclude you.
  • The competition will be judged by Stephanie Hutton.
  • Only submit one collection per author.
  • Simultaneous submissions are fine but please let us know as soon as possible if your collection is accepted elsewhere.
  • All collections will be blind-read.
  • Submissions close: Midnight, 17th Jan 2019.
  • Long list announced: 21st March 2019.
  • Short list announced: 28th March 2019.
  • Overall winner announced: 29th March 2019.
  • Publication date: Late April 2019 (date TBC).
  • All collections must include at least 50% content that is unpublished online or in print, this also includes self-published pieces.
  • No racism, sexism, homophobia or religious hatred.
  • Email all submissions to: and format the subject line of your email with FC (Flash Collection) and the title of your work. For example: FC – My Collection Title.
  • Your covering email MUST include the following: Your name, the title of the collection, the total word count and the theme of your collection if it is a chapbook, or a single line synopsis if you are submitting a Novella-in-Flash.
  • Attach your collection to the email as a .doc or .docx file.
  • Add the title of the collection to the footer of each page. Do not include any personal information to this document.
  • Include a title page and add your theme/synopsis to this page. For example: Three Sisters of Stone – Follow three sisters over three decades as they manage adversity in very different ways, culminating in loss, growth and self-knowledge.
  • Please format your document with a 12pt, double-spaced font, preferably Times New Roman or Arial.
  • The total word count should not exceed 17,000, including the title.
  • The minimum word count should be no less than 7,000.
  • Each individual piece should be no longer than 1,000 words.
  • Please include a contents page with the names of each flash and the individual word count. Where pieces have been previously published please indicate this on the contents page and ensure that you have permissions to re-publish them.
  • We may ask for, or suggest, minor edits/changes to your collection before publication.
  • The published author will receive 10 complimentary copies and a royalty payment of 25% of each collection sold, in line with our standard royalty payments.
  • Any submissions that don’t adhere to the guidelines will be declined automatically. (We all make mistakes so if you notice  something after submitting, let us know. If the issue isn’t addressed before the close of submissions, then the collection will be declined unread.)
  • This is a free to enter competition, however, if you would like to support this website and Ellipsis, you could make a small donation, purchase a product or take out a subscription via the buttons below. ( A digital zine cost from as little as £2.50 or approx $3) This is completely voluntary and will have no impact on the selection process.
What we are looking for
Our vision for the winner is for either a themed collection of works that clearly sit together coherently or a novella-in-flash in which the individual pieces stand alone but create a narrative arc across the submission. For a perfect interpretation of the latter, see ‘Three Sisters of Stone’ which we published earlier in the year.
We are not looking for poetry or non-fiction / memoir collections.
Results and feedback
All long listed authors will be contacted via email, to confirm their placement. Stephanie Hutton will provide feedback/comments on all shortlisted collections.

Friday, 23 November 2018

Ellipsis Zine, Five: Love Pride

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon from Pexels

* Submissions for this zine open 29th November. *
This zine will be a celebration of LGBTQ writers and writing. Please take a moment to read through the guidelines set out below before submitting. Thank you.
What and how to submit
  • This issue will be blind-read by Helen Rye and SmokeLong Quarterly Editor, Christopher Allen.
  • Email all submissions to: and format the subject line of your email with ‘Five’ and title of your work. For example: Five – My Flash Fiction.
  • Paste all submissions into the body of an email. Please don’t include any attachments.
  • The word count should not exceed 800, excluding the title.
  • Please confirm in your covering email if you identify as LGBTQ or if your piece celebrates LGBTQ characters.
  • Only one piece per submission.
  • We may ask for, or suggest minor edits/changes to your piece before publication.
  • Unfortunately, we don’t accept simultaneous submissions for our printed issues.
  • All submissions must be previously unpublished online or in print.
  • No racism, sexism, homophobia or religious hatred. Sex is acceptable, if it is relevant to the piece.
  • Only submit your own work.
  • All published authors are entitled to a free copy, a discount of issues and a share in the royalties. See our royalties page for more details.
  • The list of published authors will be posted on this page 17th January 2019.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Women's Aid Northern Ireland Anthology - Submissions closing soon


Background and Context
This anthology of poetry and prose will give voice and agency to victims & survivors of domestic and sexual violence and their allies while also being an income stream to Women’s Aid Federation Northern Ireland in a time of decreasing funding and an increasing demand for our services.
The content will include experiences of domestic violence abuse and survival; works of the imagination and personal experience. It will also include work from first time writers alongside seasoned writers.

We will collect and collate poems and prose from women who are using or have previously used our services as well as other victims, survivors and allies which will help raise awareness of the pervasiveness of domestic and sexual violence and to facilitate changing the conversation in society in ending harassment, abuse and impunity.

This is a women led project, inclusive of those who are women with a trans history, non-binary and/or presumed female.

It is envisaged that the anthology will celebrate journeys beyond survival; of survival and of celebration. This will be a collection of writing addressing the issues of violence, unequal treatment, of identity and self-determination that will include some well-known writers as well as first time and emerging writers, carefully crafted to give to break the silence and challenge assumptions around issues that pervade our existence.

Contributors’ Guidelines

Closing Date for submissions: Friday 30th November 2018

Who can send work in?
Primarily women, including those who are women with a trans history, non-binary
and/or presumed female.You can be anything from a first time to an established

On What Themes?

Survival and Empowerment
This can be of any kind: from life-threatening to life limiting, mental,
physical, emotional. Eg bullying, social attitudes, negating laws,
upbringing, religious teaching, etc.

Owning and defining your body, your self.
How you live and control your own life and wellbeing;

Who you are, what defines you? Your journey. This can be personal, or perhaps
historical, referring to women you have known or identitfy with or wish to
make visible. (perhaps this should be a separate category?)
Breaking down myths.

Of self, of the journey, of life, of change, motherhood/ parenthood, love, friendship

In what form?
Original poems, prose poems, short prose (which may be story, flash fiction,
personal recollection or reflection. Must be your own work, preferably not previously
published. If previously published, please give details of publication and copyright
permission to republish.

How much and how long?
Up to three pieces of work per person, total line length (including line spaces) 114.

Please send by email to:

What and How do I send in my submission?
Please send your work in a word document. Include your name and email address
on each page of the word attachment accompanying your email.

Put the titles of your submissions, your name, email and contact phone number in
the email.

If it is not possible to send work by email, please post a paper copy to:

Kellie O’Dowd
Anthology Contributions
Women's Aid Federation Northern Ireland
129 University Street

We will acknowledge receipt of all work sent in. Unfortunately we cannot include all
work, so please send what you feel is your best and most relevant work. We cannot
return work, so keep a copy.

Monday, 5 November 2018

Literary Competition Tips and Advice

  1. Always read the rules. Therein you will find everything you need to know about what is expected of you as an entrant. Don't comply at your peril.
  2. Edit. It cannot be said often enough. You think you're finished. You're not. There's always a bit of fat to be trimmed. I know I'm finished when all I'm doing is moving the same punctuation mark back and forth. There is no more heartsinking feeling than seeing a spelling error in the first paragraph after you have clicked "submit".
  3. If you write niche (horror, speculative...) seek out niche competitions. Often the entry rate is low so you'll stand a better chance if winning.
  4. If there is a guest judge, read interviews they've done where they discuss the kind of work they like. Read the winners of other competitions they've judged. It's useful to bear in mind as you write but don't try to copy what they do. Write to your own strengths. Be mindful though that some competitions employ readers to get through the initial slew of entries and arrive at a longlist. In these competitions the guest judge then takes over and picks the shortlist and winners from that longlist. So there is always a chance that the piece you've tailored to the tastes of the guest judge might be tossed out by a reader before they even have a chance to consider it. In my opinion guest judges are ultimately a good thing though and they keep a competition fresh and current.
  5. Some competitions offer each longlisted author publication in an anthology or online. This can be fantastic exposure and the buzz of being listed among other great authors in a popular anthology series is hard to beat. As an author you have to make the call. Mostly payment is only in the form of a free copy of the anthology. If you think your piece is good enough to win a different competition, hold on to it and submit elsewhere.
  6. Let's talk entry fees. When they are higher than the norm, writers will often balk and sometimes justifiably so but it is worth remembering that high entry fees will mean fewer entries and a better chance of getting listed or even winning. Free to enter competitions will attract more entrants, unless they are relatively obscure and in that case they are worth entering because you have a greater chance of standing out.
  7. Don't take not placing or winning to heart. It is a very subjective process. Persist and you will eventually prevail. I know of cases of rejected stories going on to win competitions. Ask any author, it happens all the time.
  8. If you are entering a competition in a different country, take time check out previous winners through the years. If they are all from the country in which the competition is held, it probably isn't worth entering.
  9. Unless a competition offers feedback, don't look for it. Some competitions offer advice for a slightly higher fee which can be worth availing of.
  10. The judge's decision is final. Don't quibble. It's a small world you don't want to make a name for yourself as a sore loser.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Interview with Nuala O'Connor, author of Becoming Belle

Your latest novel, Becoming Belle, has just been published. Can you give us the blurb? (with no spoilers for those of us who have yet to read it!)
Becoming Belle is four years in the life of Isabel (aka Belle) Bilton. She goes from military man’s daughter, to star of the London stage, to Countess Clancarty of Galway in that short space, with plenty of scandals along the way.

As a writer of historical fiction, how do you approach the telling of a real life through a creative prism? What are the author's responsibilities?
There are responsibilities. Historical fiction is not factual history nor is it social anthropology. James Wood said hist fic is science fiction in reverse (I’m paraphrasing) so you’re going back and resurrecting the quills, corsets and carriages but, along with that you’re embodying real people and, for me, it’s important to be respectful towards them while building their personalities. I don’t want to make them into paragons but neither am I in the business of completely thrashing people. We’re all a mix of the good and bad, I want my characters to be human in that way. Sometimes, when I’m reading, say, a person’s private letters in the course of research, I feel like a voyeur but someone else has chosen to put me in a position where I can read them and I’m not going to ignore them. At the end of the day, the story is the story.

What is it about historical fiction that grabs you as an author? Do you have a favourite historical novel?
I am very attached to the past, to everything old and reeking of history. I think growing up in an old house (dating from 1704) steeped me in the historic from early on. Also my parents collected, bought and sold bric-a-brac, books and antiques, so I developed a love early on for well-made and rustic objects.
One of my fave hist fic novels of recent years is Michel Faber’s dazzling The Crimson Petal and the White. It’s the ribald, stunning story of young, long-term prostitute Sugar. She’s earthy, grubby, forward-thinking and bright – a woman with agency and a plan.
I’m shortly guest-presenting an episode of RTE Radio 1’s The Book Show, on historical fiction, so people can listen in to that to hear more of who and what I enjoy.

You often mention the importance of physical objects as aids in the process of writing a novel. Tell us more.
Yes, I’m a things person. I often wish I wasn’t because I’m surrounded by clutter at home, too much of it. I collect ceramics, glass, books and curios. I love Victorian jewellery, especially mourning jewellery, which is something I plan to weave into a novel anon.
I like objects as touchstones when I’m writing and I will surround myself with pictures of my characters and objects that they (allegedly) own. In Becoming Belle, Belle’s husband has a mermaid vesta case (match striker) so I bought one of those and I’d look at it and hold it as I wrote. Belle wears a gold heart in several photos so I got an old heart on a chain and wore it when I wrote. I suppose objects like that are a small bridge to the past, a way to embody your character and their physicality, possessions, habits and surroundings.

You are also an accomplished short story writer and poet with several collections under your belt. Do you focus on one project at a time or dip in and out as the urge arises?
The novel takes over your life and I’m super-protective of my writing time. The novel is such a commitment, so all-encompassing so, when I’m writing one, that’s my Big Project and 99% of my writing time goes to that. I will break off if a flash occurs to me, or if I am commissioned to write a story or essay, but I don’t actively seek out other creative work.

Nuala O’Connor lives in Ballinasloe, Co. Galway. Her fifth short story collection Joyride to Jupiter was published by New Island in 2017; her story ‘Gooseen’ won the UK’s 2018 Short Fiction Prize and was published in Granta; it is now longlisted for Story of the Year at the 2018 Irish Book Awards. Nuala’s fourth novel, Becoming Belle, was published in September 2018.

Thursday, 4 October 2018

The Forge Literary Magazine - open for submissions

Our Process

The Forge Literary Magazine publishes one prose piece per week selected by a rotating cast of editors. Each submission is read anonymously by two editors. If a story is chosen to move forward, it is read by one of two rotating Editors of the Month who each make final decisions on the stories they receive. Since we are a diverse, international group of writers, our tastes and styles are wide-ranging. Read more about us here. Questions? Please email us.

Try us!

Fiction and Nonfiction

We accept unsolicited submissions via Submittable. Again, since we read anonymously, please do not put your name anywhere in the file. We prefer stories below 3,000 words but will consider work of rare quality up to 5,000 words. We love flash and micro prose. Please send one previously unpublished piece per category and wait to hear from us before submitting another. Reprints are by solicitation only. Literary excellence is our only criteria. We are open to all genres and voices, and stories with any background, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual and personal identity from all over the world. We accept and encourage simultaneous submissions, but please withdraw promptly via Submittable if your piece is accepted elsewhere. Please do not inquire about the status of your submission until three months has passed. If you are a former contributor, please wait at least six months before you submit again; we only publish one piece per contributor per year.

Sorry, poets. We admire what you do but sadly, we only read prose for the time being.

Payment and Rights

We pay, upon publication, $50 per piece regardless of length. We request exclusive worldwide English language rights to publish in the Forge Literary Magazine, an online journal, for a period of three months, after which all rights revert to the author. Authors outside the U.S. must be able to receive payment via Paypal. Please note that our acceptance to publication time is currently four to six months.

Ready? Go!

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Banshee - open for submissions

Submissions for issue #8 are open from 1-31 October 2018.

All submissions should be previously unpublished.

Stories and essays should be 1500-5000 words. Flash fiction should be less than 1000 words, poems no more than 40 lines.

We are happy to read: one story, one essay, two flashes and up to six poems. However, we ask that each writer submit in only one of the above categories.

Submissions should be in one .doc or .docx format attachment, double spaced, and in a non-quirky font.

Please include a short bio (max 50 words) in the body of your email.

If you are sending a prose submission, please note the word count in the body of the email.

Email to bansheelit at gmail dot com, with the category of the work (flash/story/essay/poetry) in the subject line.

We believe in paying writers. We can offer contributors a small fee as well as two copies of the journal.

Please note that we cannot offer feedback on unsuccessful submissions.

Monday, 1 October 2018

Bare Fiction Prize 2018 - Open for entries


Flash Fiction: 500 words – ENTER YOUR FLASH FICTION HERE

Short Story: 3000 words – ENTER YOUR SHORT STORIES HERE

Poetry: 40 lines – ENTER YOUR POEMS HERE


Winners will be notified in January 2019 and a list published on the website shortly afterwards. Click here for full competition rules.

Further info here

Friday, 21 September 2018

Best British and Irish Flash Fiction 2018 -2019 - TSS Publishing

From 1st June 2018 to 31st May 2019, four Senior Editors will be curating a comprehensive list of outstanding Flash Fiction published online and in print, written by citizens of Britain and Ireland.

Each season a Senior Editor will be responsible for curating and selecting a list of Flash Fiction with discussion and debate over the final list to take place in June 2019.

Editors and publishers of websites, journals, magazines, anthologies, and collections are encouraged to submit recommendations to our Senior Editors, via our online portal: HERE
Senior Editors
1st June – 31st August
Senior Editor: Rebecca Williams

1st September –  30th November
Senior Editor: Barbara Lovric

1st December – 28th February
Senior Editor: Neil Campbell

Senior Editor: Elisabeth Ingram Wallace

URL links or Word documents can be attached. Editors and publishers are equally welcome to contact Senior Editors and send them Flash Fiction in hard copy.

Individual writers should NOT submit their work or the work of others, however they may make suggestions via email or on social media. We do encourage the involvement of the Flash Fiction community.

  • Language: English
  • Writer’s Nationality: British or Irish
  • Publication: Open globally, print or online. Writers must be British or Irish.
  • Published between: 1stth June 2018 and 31st May 2019
  • Type: Flash Fiction
  • Length: 100 – 1000 words
  • Genre: Any

We are committed to finding the very best Flash Fiction from all over Britain and Ireland, encouraging and embracing writers from any and every background.

Each Senior editor will be responsible for collating at least 50 exceptional Flash Fiction during their reading period, with a list of at least 200 pieces being gathered by 31st May 2019. The Senior editors will then meet to whittle down the list to a longlist of 100, and a shortlist of the best 50 Flash Fiction written by British and Irish authors.

ObjectivesThe U.K. and Ireland are fast becoming home to Flash Fiction, with publications, competitions, and writers emerging all across these two small, neighbouring islands.

TSS Publishing wishes to celebrate this wealth of talent and reinforce the extraordinary opportunity this wonderful form has to offer.


Flash Fiction lovers - can anyone help our BIFFY50 Editors hunt for the best British & Irish Flash Fiction being published?

If yes, please email: with relevant experience & a link to a flash you love, published since June 2018.