Opportunities: May 2020

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

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April seemed to pass by in a haze of boredom, overeating, and not having a clue which day it was, didn’t it? Now as we move into May we are all getting more accustomed to our current way of life and hopefully the creativity is beginning to flow again. As undesirable as the situation is, I have found that it has been an interesting study of the human condition and how we react in times of crisis.

Human kindness is flourishing and by focusing on that I find that I am overwhelmed by the need to write it all down. This may be a good time to get inspired because people have now got the time to read and are falling in love with words all over again, meaning that we writers are needed more than ever to keep it all fresh.

With that in mind, I want to draw your attention to a new feature that Submittable has. The site has a plethora of opportunities for writers and it keeps track of where you send your writing through Submittable so that you don’t have to, and now they have updated the site so that you are able to keep track of all submissions, regardless of whether they were involved or not. In other words, once you have set up a free account and logged in, you will be able to add and track all your submissions in the same place without needing to figure out how to make a spreadsheet!

As you may know, Thanet Writers runs a number of groups: the Thursday Writers’ Group, Writers Gremlins, Julie’s Journaling, and Dead Hoarse Writers. Due to lockdown these are not able to meet at this time, but fear not, you can still get help and advice from your friendly writers’ groups online, and there are a host of digital methods of staying in touch. Plus, as ever, this website publishes an article every day including essays, short stories, poetry, book reviews, and so much more. There are over four years of archives here too, so take 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 you will be paid £10 via PayPal for any piece that is accepted. At this current time we need more submissions than ever to keep everyone amused so keep them coming in!

Short Stories

Do you have a glut of short stories looking for homes following all of this time off? If so I have two opportunities that may be of interest to you.

Firstly, at home, do not forget that there is still plenty of time to enter Thanet Writers Short Story Competition 2020 for the chance to win £1,000. Stories should be between 500 and 5,000 words in length, set somewhere in Thanet, and be weird, strange, or unusual in some way. The deadline is 31st May so if you haven’t already started writing your entry then now is the time! There are a few rules, and entry is online only, so take a look at the competition page before entering.

If you would prefer to send your work further afield, then US literary journal Willow Springs Magazine has an open reading period until 31st May. This magazine prides itself on publishing up-and-coming writers alongside Pulitzer Prize winners and they pay for your work: $100 per published long form prose piece and $40 for short stories under 750 words. Plus you will get two complimentary copies of the magazine that your work is featured in. They accept all genres and say that they seek work that will “engage readers in an ongoing discussion of art, ideas and human experiences.” Stories should be presented in a Word document and simultaneous submissions are accepted. There is a $3 reading fee and they say that due to the number of submissions that they receive it may take them up to six months to respond.


Starting locally, the Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year Competition 2020 is now open for submission until 15th June. There is a prize fund of £200 for first place, £100 for second, £50 for third, and £25 for readers’ choice, plus 35 entries will be chosen to appear as part of an anthology. Poems can be on any subject and in any form but should not exceed 60 lines. They must be previously unpublished including online. As marking is blind your name should not appear on your work and an entry form must accompany your submission. There is a £5 entry fee.

Considering the current situation, COVID-19 had to feature somewhere, didn’t it? So here it is: Poetry Ireland Review is running a competition for original poems to be featured in their second volume, titled Poetry in the Time of Coronavirus. The top 100 poems will be published and the first prize will be roundtrip air travel, hotel accommodations, and a week long pass to the West Cork Literary Festival in Ireland, July 2021. All proceeds from the competition are going to benefit Partners in Health and Doctors Without Borders. Each poem is limited to a character count of 2020 including title, spaces, and paragraph breaks. There is no mandated theme or subject manner for the contest, work must be previously unpublished, and only allow one submission is allowed per poet. The deadline is 15th May.


My non-fiction opportunity this month is one for all of you history buffs out there. History Magazine is a North American magazine that is published six times a year, and is looking for work that focuses on the period between the fall of the Roman Empire and the end of the 1950s. Writing does not have to be academic; interesting pieces are preferred that “are wrapped around a particular phenomenon, achievement or occasion […] we like it when an item or custom that’s now part of our lives is taken and the story of how it came to be is told.” They would be interested in articles around the 2000 word mark. At this time they are asking that you submit a query by email, including a brief proposal of your idea, the inclusion of any section headings and a list of reading recommendations. Your article can be supported by as many images as you like providing that you have the copyright holder’s permission in writing to use them. They pay $0.08 per word and $7 for any image which is used.


Perhaps this extra time has had you tweaking those final edits on the novel that has been patiently awaiting your attention, if so our highlight this month may be the one for you.

Publishers in the UK (Fitzcarraldo Editions), USA (New Directions), and Australia (Giramondo) have teamed up to create The Novel Prize. This not only offers $10,000 to the winner, but also simultaneous publication of your novel in the UK and Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, and North America.

The winning novel will be announced in February 2021 and published in 2022. They are looking for novels which “explore and expand the possibilities of the form, and are innovative and imaginative in style.”

Entries are open until 1st July 2020. To submit send a full manuscript of 30,000 words or more via email.

I wish you the very best of luck for any submissions that you make. Keep writing, stay safe, and don’t forget to enter Thanet Writers Short Story Competition before the end of May!

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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