Opportunities: April 2020

A curated roundup for April 2020 of submission opportunities for short stories, poetry, and non-fiction writing.

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Well, what a turn this year has taken. I bet that even in our outlandish writers’ minds could not have predicted that by April the only place to buy loo roll was going to be on the black market! Joking aside, here at Thanet Writers we hope that everyone is keeping themselves safe and well. At the time of writing, many countries are in lockdown—the UK included—and I find myself looking out of the window every ten minutes wondering if I am going to see one of the Four Horsemen.

In this rather uncertain and bleak time we must look for the positives. The weather is looking much nicer, even if we can only go outside once a day. The birds are nesting. Maybe best of all, we now have the time to do some writing. Let’s face it, finally getting those words on the page, beats blowing the dust off our 1983 box of Hungry Hippos any day.

As we are all isolated, it can feel even more lonely than usual being a writer, but fear not, you can still get help and advice. Thanet Writers is continuing to publish each and every day including essays on writing craft, short stories, poetry, interviews with authors, investigations, and so much more. The site has been going for four years now, so there is a whole wealth of knowledge and creativity for you to dive into. If haven’t yet trawled through the archives then have a look, as you might be surprised at how much information there is at your fingertips.

Of course, in order to publish something every day we need the material to do so. That is where you, and your newly acquired spare time, come in.

Thanet Writers is open for submissions of short stories, poetry, essays, and book reviews. There is no charge for submissions, previously published items are accepted, and to make it even more tempting you will be paid £10 for any piece that is accepted. At this current time we need more short stories than ever to keep everyone amused, so keep them coming in!

Short Stories

Leading on from that—and this is a big one—Thanet Writers is running the first ever Thanet Writers Short Story Competition! There is a grand prize of £1,000 in cash and absolutely no fee to enter. Hopefully that got your attention, as here are the details. Stories should be between 500 and 5000 words in length and set somewhere in Thanet, but also be weird, strange, or unusual in some way. Entries must be previously unpublished. There is no age limit for writers but entries will be judged without any age consideration. You need a link or connection to Thanet to enter, and if you have one it is worth trying even if you’re not sure how strong the link is. Simultaneous submissions are not accepted and only one entry is permitted per person. Work should be complete self-contained stories and not extracts of larger work. When the longlist is announced on 18th July, all the short stories that are longlisted will be eligible to receive £10 payment for print rights. They will also be published online by Thanet Writers. The shortlist will then be announced on 19th September and those stories be collected together in a print anthology, as well as published online. The winner will be announced at the Thanet Writers Conference later in the year, where they will be presented with £1,000. The deadline for entries is 23:59 on 31st May 2020, so use your time in lockdown well and turn Thanet into your creative playground. Entry is online. We look forward to your stories pouring in!

My second fiction opportunity this month is for Forge Literary Magazine. This was founded by volunteers from the Fiction Forge online writers forum, and publishes one piece of prose per week, paying $60 for anything published. All submissions are read blind so please ensure that your name is not shown on the file. They are looking for previously unpublished short stories around the 3,000-word mark, although they will accept work of up to 5,000-words if it is outstanding. They are open to fee-free submissions via Submittable on the first of each month and will close when they have reached their quota (except September).


Pulp Poets Press is a journal that was created by embracing the ethos of pulp magazines. They say that they aim to provide the general population with writing that hits like a sucker punch and encourage unknown and emerging writers hoping to give them a platform where their writing can be discovered. They are looking for poetry on any theme regardless of form, but they want modern poetry, as “the Romantics are dead, we don’t want writing that emulates outdated styles. It should be contemporary, fresh and represent your own voice.” You can submit up to four previously unpublished poems at one time. Simultaneous submissions are accepted but as normal they request that you let them know if your work is picked up by another publication before them. Please include a 50-word third-person bio including your Twitter handle (if you have one). They also request that you let them know where you heard about them. There is no payment at present.

The second poetry opportunity I have selected this month is The Rialto Nature and Place Poetry Competition 2020. The Rialto are working in association with the RSPB, Birdlife International, and the Cambridge Conservation Initiative, to run this competition and are looking for original, unpublished poems of up to forty lines that deal with any aspect of nature. You can submit up to six poems in one go and although there is an entry fee (£7 for the first poem including admin fee and £4 for subsequent work) they have a healthy prize fund of £1,000 for first place, £500 for second, and £250 for third. There is an additional prize of a personal tour with one of Britain’s most celebrated nature writers, Mark Cocker, of his favourite wildlife places in East Anglia (accommodation not included.) Submissions are via Submittable and the competition is marked anonymously so no identifying details should be on the poem document. The deadline for entry is 1st May 2020.


Let’s face it, there has never been a better time to write non-fiction than in the middle of a pandemic where entire countries are in lockdown and the shop shelves are empty. If you are feeling inspired to make the most of the current situation, then why not enter the QuietManDave Prize 2020? This is organised by Manchester Metropolitan University and aims to inspire and discover new writers. They say:

“Non-fiction can take many forms, and for the purposes of this competition, we welcome everything from creative non-fiction—which weaves fact into the form of a story using the tools of fiction—to blog posts, say, and theatre reviews, which were QuietManDave’s particular passions. In a complete and stand-alone piece of 500 words or less, flex your creative muscles to tell us about a performance you’ve seen recently, or a micro-essay on a topic that piqued your interest, or something that happened to you or that you read about.”

There is a £1,000 first prize, £200 second prize, and £50 third prize. There are no rules except that all submissions must be completed pieces and not extracts from longer articles and that they must be typed. The subject, style, font, and spacing are up to you as the author. Work must not be published before 31st October 2020. There is a £5 entry fee but if you are unable to afford this there is a £0 entry fee by arrangement. Payment must be made by credit or debit card at the point of entry.


My highlight this month is one for poets.

The Bridport Prize 2020 is open until 31st May for poems up to 42 lines in length. Although there is a £10 entry fee, there is a prize fund of £5,000 for first place, £1,000 for second, £500 for third, and then ten runners up will receive £100. This is not only a cash prize—the winners will be invited to an awards lunch in Bridport where they will have the chance to meet the judges and agents as well as partake in extensive publicity. All winners will be published in an anthology. The top three poems will also be entered into the exclusive Forward Prize for Poetry and have the chance to win a further £1,000.

As previously stated, poems can be up to 42 lines, with the title and any dedications not included in this count. A line count should be included on the top right of the first page. Any font is accepted providing it is size 12 and black. Work should be single-line spaced.

Entries are marked blind. They are very strict on this and any entry that has the poet’s name or details anywhere on the document including the file name will be automatically disqualified. The document should just be the title of your poem, nothing else.

All work should be original and previously unpublished. It can be on any topic, but they advise against children’s poetry.

I will conclude this month by wishing you all good health. Stay inside, look out for one another, write, enter a competition…especially the Thanet Writers Short Story Competition 2020, and keep safe.

Having always been an avid reader, Zoe now writes fiction and poetry to relax and escape into her own reality for a while.

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