The weekly herding: comps and subs

For anyone starting the year with fresh writing enthusiasm, there are a lot of opportunities around at the moment in the form of short story competitions and magazines with open submission windows. So this week’s Weekly Herding looks at some of the most interesting with this special round-up (yes, I’m afraid I’m back on the agricultural references again). This is by no means a complete list, just some of the things that have leaped out at me recently. I just wish I had enough suitable material to submit to all.

Upcoming competitions

oyanne_gahan_quoteFancy a trip to Galway? Of course you do. The Cúirt International Festival of Literature takes place there on April 23-30, and the winner of the Cúirt New Writing Prize 2017 will have the chance to read at the Over The Edge new writing showcase. This is a wonderful opportunity considering the festival has previously attracted guest speakers such as Tobias Wolff, Joanne Harris and Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Luminaries’ Eleanor Catton. There’s also a cash prize of €500 for the winners in both the fiction and poetry categories. Short stories should be a maximum of 2,000 words, poems – up to three are allowed – under 50 lines each, and there’s an entry fee of €10. The closing date is January 31.

The Bryan McMahon Short Story Award 2017 is open for entries until March 3. This competition is one of several run as part of the mighty Listowel Writers’ Week, which runs from May 31-June 4. Stories should be a maximum of 3,000 words and there’s an entry fee of €10 (plus a €3 booking fee if you enter online rather than via snail mail). The prize is a rather handsome €2,000.

Novelist Molly Keane and literary dog

The Molly Keane Creative Writing Award 2017 is open for entries until March 14. Run by the Waterford City and County Council Arts Office, this one often flies under the radar for some reason. And having entered it twice before, I can tell you it’s a bit of an adventure navigating the council’s official website in search of the printable entry form (they don’t have an online entry option – it’s traditional ink on paper all the way). Short stories should be a maximum of 2,000 words and, unlike most competitions out there, it is free to enter so you’ve nothing to lose beyond the price of a stamp and a snippet of confidence when you don’t make it. The prize is €500 plus the chance to read at the IMMRAMA Literary Festival (actually more of a travel writing festival) in lovely Lismore, Co Waterford.


Publication opportunities

The Honest Ulsterman is accepting submissions for their February issue until January 20. Prose (fiction, essays and interviews ) can be up to 4,000 words, or you can send up to four poems. As this is an online journal, they are also interested in audio/visual poetry presentations.

UK lit mag Severine is open for submissions until January 31. This journal generally has themed issues, and this time around it’s ‘Wild’, in whatever way you choose to interpret it. Short stories should be a maximum of 1,500 words, poetry max 40 lines long, and they also accept creative non-fiction, essays and criticism pieces of 2,000 words max.

Not actual magazine

The Tangerine is a new Belfast-based journal, which recently saw the well-received launch of its first issue. The submission window is open for issue two until February 12. They will consider anything from essays and short stories (max 6,000 words) to poetry (up to 6 pages – presumably that means A4, double-spaced, rather than random pages ripped out of your child’s Hello Kitty notebook). And they’re also on the lookout for photography and illustrations.

Also open for submissions is The Bohemyth, and I can’t see any closing date so maybe it’s an open submission window. Send them short stories or non-fiction of up to 2,000 words, flash fiction of 1,000 words and any kind of visual art. There’s quite a bit of work on their website to give you a feel for what they publish, including this recent story, Unbecoming by Matt Hutchinson, which I really enjoyed for its tense, stripped down style.

stocksnap_nnsaigeaevStories for Homes is a short story anthology that was produced in 2013 to raise funds for UK housing charity Shelter. It was such a success that the organisers are working on a second collection and are inviting short story submissions on the theme of ‘Home’. It will be released as an e-book in September, and in print in November (available in selected UK bookshops and through Amazon), with all proceeds going to Shelter. If you’d like the dual satisfaction of seeing your work in print and helping a worthy cause, you can submit stories of any length from 100 to 3,000 words. You have until Valentine’s Day, February 14.

I love the jaunty tone of Cork-based The Penny Dreadful, who sound like they don’t take themselves too seriously and would be the fun team in a pub quiz. They’ve put out a call for submissions to their eighth issue, with a deadline of February 25. Submit one or two short stories of up to 3,000 words each, or up to six poems of “whatever length you want as long as you don’t take the piss”. In return for your magical words, they offer a nominal payment or a year’s subscription to the magazine.


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