The unweekly herding: back to school, back to work

Call me weird – alright, there is no need to say it quite that fast – but I like it when summer ends and the evenings start drawing in. There’s nothing like a nice fire and the chance to embrace head-to-toe knitwear. Plus the cooler weather is somehow more conducive to writing. With that in mind, I have a few competition and submission opportunities to share this week.


Get your book published

Mercier PressIn some rare book submission news, Cork publisher Mercier Press has decided to return to publishing fiction and is inviting work in both adult and YA genres. You can send a one-page synopsis, the first three chapters and a short biog including any social media details. They will only accept submissions by email, and books that have previously been self-published will not be considered. No closing date has been set, so presumably it’s open-ended until they receive enough manuscripts to build a lifesize fort with. Get polishing!

If you’re a writer of children’s or YA fiction, there’s also an opportunity to pitch your work directly to The O’Brien Press . As their contribution to Dublin’s Culture Night line-up on September 22, they will hold a ‘speed-pitching’ event at their offices in Rathgar. To apply for a 10-minute slot, email them at More details here.


Journal submission opportunities

Keys to your own homeOnline arts journal Spontaneity is currently putting together a ‘Home’ themed issue to highlight the growing crisis of child homelessness in Ireland. The subject can either be interpreted broadly or dealt with directly. The concept of Spontaneity is that each piece of work is inspired by or connects somehow to something from a previous issue, so have a click through first and see if anything strikes a chord, even in a loose way. Submit short stories of up to 2,500 words, flash fiction pieces of between 100 and 1,000 words. Artwork and photography are also welcome. This is a gorgeous journal at the best of times, and it would be well worth contributing when the subject matter is such an important one. There’s no formal closing date, but editor Ruth McKee says she would like to publish as soon as possible because the subject is so topical. So the quicker you can get your submission in the better, ideally before the end of the month.

The Honest Ulsterman is looking for poetry, prose, critical writing and suggestions for interviews for their October issue. You can submit prose of up to 5,000 words, and up to four poems. They also welcome aural/video poetry, if that’s your bag. The closing date for submissions is September 25. It’s free to read online so you can get a feel for the kind of work they like.


Short fiction competition

The Dorset Fiction Award is a bi-annual competition which is now open for flash fiction pieces of up to 1,000 words. First prize is £500 (or the euro equivalent of around €600), and the winning story will be featured in a digital annual anthology as well as on the website. Nine runners up will also be published in the anthology, though they will not receive payment (honestly, how hard could it be to send a cream tea through the post?). The entry fee is £7 and the closing date is October 15.

You can read the previous winning story, The Old Man by fellow Cork-based writer Marie Gethins here.





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