Ireland and islands – call for submission from New Madrid


American lit mag New Madrid is looking for submissions on the theme “Evolving islands” until October 15th. The call seems to place a big focus on Ireland (the issue would be out around the anniversary of the Easter Rising, and Murray State University, the journal’s home, has a study-abroad experience in Ireland planned for its MFA), but it looks like all things islandish are welcome.

Recent book love #1: Apex hides the hurt, by Colson Whitehead

Apex Hides the Hurt cover image

“The town of Winthrop has decided it needs a new name. The resident software millionaire wants to call it New Prospera; the mayor wants to return to the original choice of the founding black settlers; and the town’s aristocracy sees no reason to change the name at all. What they need, they realize, is a nomenclature consultant.”

Great book by Colson Whitehead, an American writer I must say I’d never heard about. There’s a lot of funny, clever stuff in  there, and brilliant writing on the sentence/paragraph level. Conveniently quotable, for a book about ‘naming’: I often found myself going back to re-read a paragraph, see how neatly Whitehead packaged them. I could see some folks finding his prose/story gimmicky, but it worked for me.

You can buy it here

‘Tiny miracles’: New story in Holdfast magazine


My short story ‘Tiny miracles’ has just been pubilshed in Holdfast magazine. The theme of this issue is ‘Gods and Monsters’, and my take on it sees a tiny plastic Mary figurine take life in a Lourdes souvenir shop.

Holdfast is a great online speculative magazine based in the UK that really tries to improve on the traditional lit mag format and go beyond a simple selection of stories. Each issue has a lot of Non-Fiction, including an open letter to a SF/Fantasy author. They put up a playlist on the issue’s theme, have interviews of authors and also, in their ‘Unbelievers’ section, give a book to some non-SF/F reader to see if he can get a taste for it…

They’re looking for submissions for their next issue on the theme ‘Looking Forward, Looking Back’ (“Depictions of the future, alternative histories, time travel, utopias, dystopias, or anything else related to timey wimey things”) 

Deadline is September 15th


(This is the Terry Gilliamesque illustration for ‘Tiny miracles’, by Jenny Kadis)

Four themed submission calls

Popshot is looking for submission for their ‘Curious’ issue:

“Despite its questionable reputation for killing cats, curiosity is one of the finest traits of humankind. It was the thing that sent man to the moon, Christopher Columbus to the New World and Alice down the rabbit hole. Curiosity breeds exploration, invention and, on a fairly regular basis, some form of destruction. It is the tentative footstep before the leap into the unknown, and as a result, could be argued to be one of the most intriguing words in the English language.”

Send them your poems and stories under 2,500 words by July 20th at the very latest.

Slice is looking for submissions on the theme ‘Enemies’. They pay $100 for stories and essays and $25 for poems, and wordcount is up to 5,000 words) Deadline is August 1st.


Speculative fiction magazine Holdfast is looking for stories on the theme ‘Looking forward, looking back’:

“In this issue we are looking at the theme of time. Depictions of the future, alternative histories, time travel, utopias, dystopias, or anything else related to timey wimey things.”  

Deadline is September 15th


Black & BLUE is open for submissions on the theme of ‘Memory’:

“poems, fiction, textual-art, fragments, lyrics, dialogues, drama, social-media-collages, notes, prose-poems, letters, fables, lists, transcripts, accidental work, anarchist slogans, single lines, found-pieces, other media. Pieces must be no longer than 1000 words, but submitters may send as many pieces as they like.”

Deadline is October 11th

jerry lewis typewriter  Get writing!

Writing competition deadlines – a quick round-up

Résultat de recherche d'images pour

Here are a few writing competitions with deadlines coming up, should you have a few spare bucks or quid or rupees and a brilliant story or poem in your drawer. I kept it simple here, so follow the links for details, but all of them have pretty good prizes!

-May 31st: Bridport prize – short stories (under 5000 words) £9, flash fiction £7 (under 250 words – phew!), poems £8

-May 31st: Fiction Desk Flash Fiction Competition – £5 pounds for a story between 250 and 1000 words (in case you went overboard with your Bridport entry…)

-May 31st: Fool for Poetry Chapbook Competition – €25 for 16 to 24 pages of poems

-June 30th: The Moth International Short Story Prize – €12 entry fee for a story under 6000 words (judged by Donal Ryan)

-July 1st: iYeats Poetry Competition – €5 for a poem (judges: Jane Clarke and Dave Lordan)

-July 7th: Brighton Prize: £6 for a story between 1000 and 2000 words (judge: Peter James)

-July 15th: Ambit Summer Writing Competition – £5 for a poem (judge: Dan O’Brien), £7 for a story (judge: Alison Moore)

-July 15th: Rattle Poetry Prize – $20 for up to four poems (AND you get a subscription to the magazine, ie 4 issues / 3 issues for non-US entrants to cover postage. Interesting system, makes it worth it even if you poems don’t get anywhere in the competition – it’s a damn fine mag!)

-July 17th: Bare Fiction Debut Poetry Collection Competition: £20 (judge: Andrew McMillan)

-July 24th: Wasafiri New Writing Prize – Fiction and Life Writing under 3000 words, and poems – £6 for entry in one category, £10 in two, £15 in three. (judges: Toby Litt, Yasmin Alibhai Brown, Roger Robinson)

-July 31st: The Seán Ó Faoláin Short Story Competition – €15 for a story under 3000 words (judge: Danielle McLaughlin)

-August: competitions? writing? Get’out’o’here! Go to the BEACH, fool!

-September 30th: The Penny Dreadful Novella Prize – €10 for a novella between 15,000 and 35,000 words (judged by the following brilliants: Colin Barrett, Sara Baume and Paul McVeigh)

[oh, and by the way, the magazines behind some of these competitions are all well worth checking out, and submitting to outside of competitions too… Actually, why not buy one of them now?]

Read Kevin Barry’s ‘A cruelty’

A cruelty‘, a terribly strong story by short fiction rock star Kevin Barry, is up for your reading pleasure at the Literary Hub. It’s quite short, but it should achieve an unholy amount of messing with your little mind.

I was lucky enough to hear it read by the man himself before reading it, and heck can Barry read. He’s one writer that is really worth seeing ‘live’, so don’t miss him if he ever comes roaming by your neck of the backwoods.

(‘A cruelty’ is from the collection Dark lies the island, available in all good bookshops)