Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Calls for Submissions–August 2015

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On the first Wednesday of each month, Literary Mama shares a list of current calls for submissions. Good luck sending your work out into the world!

Photo by Dina Relles

Photo by Dina Relles

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Okey-Panky submissions opened on August 1st. The editors "would love to see your short, darkly comic, ironic, and experimental fiction, essay, poetry, and graphic narrative." Multiple pieces welcome, up to 1,500 words total, but please put them into one file and submit only once. No submission fee; contributors paid $100. Work published on Okey-Panky will also be mirrored on Electric Literature. Click here to submit.

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The New Guard Literary Review is seeking submissions for fiction and poetry contests:

Machigonne Fiction Contest: $1,500 and publication for an exceptional work of fiction in any genre. Submit up to 5,000 words: anything from flash to the long story. Novel excerpts are welcome if the excerpt functions as a stand-alone story. Judge: Adam Braver.

Knightville Poetry Contest: $1,500 and publication for an exceptional poem in any form. Three poems per entry. Up to 150 lines per poem. Please submit all three poems in a single document. Judge: Roger Bonair-Agard.

$20 to submit. Deadline: August 20, 2015.

There is also a running call for submissions to the BANG! page, where they showcase a single author online for one month.

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Brain, Child Magazine has a new call for submissions for two upcoming Brain, Mother blog series:

Friendship: The bond of a new friendship, the pain of losing a lifelong friend. We are looking for personal essays on the universal theme of motherhood and friendship. Examples might include a friendship based on new motherhood; a friend breakup based on child-related battles; reflections of drifting away from a childhood friend.

Cultural Diversity: What is it like raising children in different cultures or mixed-race families? We are looking for personal essays that explore raising children in a multicultural family. Examples might include fostering the cultural identity of adopted children; an ex-pat's experience raising a family in Djibouti; a white mother's challenges brushing her black daughter's hair each morning.

Please send posts (750-1,200 words) to editorial@brainchildmag.com with series name in the subject line.

Deadline: August 30, 2015

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Creative Nonfiction has two open calls for submissions:

One on the theme of Marriage (Deadline: August 31, 2015), seeking well-crafted essays (under 4,000 words) that "truthfully portray what married life is all about."

"Send us your true stories of arranged marriages or shotgun weddings; walking down the aisle or running from the altar; mail-order brides or stay-at-home dads. We're looking for a variety of perspectives—from fiancés to florists; ministers to marriage counselors; divorce attorneys to wedding planners."

And a second on its newest theme, Childhood (Deadline: November 16, 2015), "seeking new essays that explore the joys and struggles, the indignities and infinite possibilities of childhood."

"Maybe you lived Where the Wild Things Are or during The Wonder Years; maybe you're a parent or a pediatrician or a marketer of breakfast cereals, witnessing young people discover themselves and the world. Whatever your perspective, we're looking for well-crafted true stories that examine kid-dom in all its messy, exhilarating, turbulent glory."

$20 reading fee; $25 to include a 4-issue subscription to Creative Nonfiction (US only)
$1,000 award for Best Essay; $500 for runner-up
For submission specifics and to learn more, please visit the site.

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Submit an essay for consideration in Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It, an anthology to be published by Riverhead Books alongside the tenth-anniversary edition of Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat Pray Love. It aims to be "a collection of YOUR essays on the adventures that reading it helped to send you forth on." Entries of original, unpublished work, no longer than 1,500 words, can be submitted here.

Deadline: August 31, 2015

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Mother's Milk Books is seeking submissions (approx. 1,500–5,000 words per short story) for a book of short stories/fairy tales. Mother's Milk is about normalizing breastfeeding, empowering both mothers and fathers, celebrating femininity and empathy (which is by no means only a female trait), providing positive role models, and encouraging creativity. To learn more about submissions, please click here.

Deadline: August 31, 2015

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Tethered by Letters "is pleased to announce our third annual Summer Literary Competition. There are three submission categories: 1) short stories of any genre ranging from 1,000 to 7,500 words, 2) flash fiction with a word limit of either 55, 250, or 500 words, and 3) poetry no longer than three pages. For these contests we are looking for engaging stories, vivid characters, and fresh perspectives and styles." Guest judges are as follows:

Short story: Arna Bontemps Hemenway
Flash fiction: Scott O’Connor
Poetry: Sarah Sousa

For more information, including about fees, formatting, and awards in each category, please visit the site's contest submission page.

Deadline: August 31st, 2015. Midnight PST.

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Submissions are open for the 2015 Lake Prize, which offers annual awards for fiction and poetry that best represents the Midwest. "It seeks to reward those who see the beauty of the region, whether that be quiet forests, gutted industrial wastelands, small towns or vibrant urban neighborhoods. We believe the Midwest is filled with immense literary talent, and the intent of The Lake Prize is to illuminate the best stories and writers we have to offer." Please click here for more details and to submit your work.

1st Prizes for Fiction and Poetry: $500 + publication in Issue 20 (Winter 2016)
Two finalists for each category: $100 + publication in Issue 20 (Winter 2016)

Deadline: August 31, 2015

Midwestern Gothic is also open to general submissions of fiction and poetry as of August 1, 2015.

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The Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award is for a previously unpublished original collection of poetry. This annual award of $3,000 and publication by Red Hen Press is open to all poets. This year's final judge will be Carl Phillips.

Entry fee is $25.00. Name in cover letter field only, 48 page minimum. For more information, please see the Submittable page.

Deadline: August 31, 2015

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RHINO, an annual high-quality print journal featuring well-crafted, diverse poetry, flash fiction, and translations, is open for general submissions to the 2016 issue.

"Our editors look for the very best in contemporary poetry, poetry in translation and flash-fiction. We welcome all styles of poems, and value work that is well-crafted, reflects passion, originality, engagement with contemporary culture, and a love affair with language."

Online submissions preferred. Please visit the website for more details, and to read and listen to poems!

Deadline: August 31, 2015

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Demeter Press is seeking creative submissions (poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction) for an edited collection entitled Borderlands and Crossroads: Writing the Motherland. "We are seeking highly-crafted literature about mothering that reflects a wide range of voices and experiences."

Send completed manuscripts: 3-5 poems that total no more than 10 pages; 15 pages of prose, plus a 50-word biographical note.

Please send inquiries and submissions to editors Laurie Kruk (author of My Mother Did Not Tell Stories) and Jane Satterfield (author of Her Familiars and Daughters of Empire: A Memoir of a Year in Britain and Beyond) at: WritingtheMotherland@gmail.com. For more specific information and topic ideas, please visit the site.

Deadline for Abstracts: September 1, 2015

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The Fourth River, a journal of nature and place-based writing, is now seeking submissions on the concept of "climate change" in a theme insert to be included in their 13th print issue, scheduled for Spring 2016.

"We want to hear your responses to the doomsayers and the deniers, the evidence before us and the emotions that evidence elicits. In addition to our regular open call, we will be accepting fiction, nonfiction and poems that explore the themes of climate change and global warming from July 1-Sept 1, 2015."

For more specific information and to submit your work, click here.

Deadline: September 1, 2015

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Mom Egg Review seeks poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and visual art on the theme of CHANGE for its 14th annual print issue. MER publishes work by mother writers or by others about motherhood. See full guidelines here and on Submittable.

Deadline: September 1, 2015

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Ashland Creek Press is receiving submissions for the second annual Siskiyou Prize for New Environmental Literature.

"The contest is open to unpublished, full-length prose manuscripts, including novels, memoirs, short story collections, and essay collections. The winner will receive a cash award of $1,000, a four-week residency at PLAYA, and an offer of publication by Ashland Creek Press."

"New environmental literature" refers to literary works that focus on the environment, animal protection, ecology, and wildlife. For complete writers' guidelines, see here.

Deadline: September 15, 2015

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Synaesthesia Magazine will open on September 16, 2015 to submissions of stories, poems, essays, art, photography on their latest theme -- Sound.

"Tell us how you swore you felt the air change around you in a thunderstorm. How the world muted when you submerged your head underwater. How she was always within the sound of the train whistles. How you knew he’d gone when you couldn’t hear his footsteps anymore. Tell us if you can’t hear it, how you feel it. Show us how noise divides and unites, how it fills your world with textures. How you communicate. Show us wavelengths and underwater acoustics, the patterns of speech and the purple of ultrasound. Transform us into mp3 players and headphones. Soundproof the world. Lay out the timbre and beats, the blue-grey echoes. Open your mouth and let it out."

Submissions will open September 16, 2015

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Bared, a new anthology of poetry and art forthcoming from Les Femmes Folles Books, seeks poetry and art by women on bras and breasts.

Poetry: Submit 3-5 new, unpublished poems along with a 50-100 word bio in the body of the email or as a doc to lesfemmesfollesbooks (at) gmail.com with "Bared Submission" in the subject line. (The anthology will accept previously published poems, as long as the author retains the rights to the work or it can be reprinted at no cost other than acknowledgement to the original source.)

Art: Submit 3-5 images as a .jpg labeled with your last name and title along with a 50-100 word bio written in the third person in the body of the email to lesfemmesfollesbooks (at) gmail.com. Please include an art information sheet.

With all submissions, please also include a list of your favorite poems and art about bras and breasts by women. All contributors will receive a copy of the anthology as well as a discount to purchase additional copies.

Deadline: September 18, 2015

There is also an ongoing call for submissions to be featured on Les Femmes Folles, the online journal. Please see the site for more detailed submission information.

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Sage Hill Press is accepting poems by mothers and about mothers for their upcoming anthology, All We Can Hold.

"The genesis of a 'motherhood' poetry collection came when we had trouble finding one. Motherhood essays are on the shelves, parenting guides, and honeyed collections of mothering exist. We needed, and we believe others need, a range of voices about what it means to be mother: witching-hour poems of sleeplessness, first smiles, miscarriage. The poems of broken windows and broken hearts, of first school and college days. The poems of lament and poems of fulfillment. We hope to serve as a forum for all voices, for we all have a mother."

Submit no more than five previously unpublished poems in a single document (or no more than five pages total) to submissions@allwecanhold.com (.doc, .pdf, or .docx preferred). For more specific submission information, please see here or here.

Deadline: September 30, 2015

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Understorey Magazine is currently seeking submissions for Issue 7, to be published in October 2015. "We publish essays, fiction, poetry, spoken word & visual art about motherhood. We define motherhood broadly and welcome diversity of experience, style & voice." For more information, please visit the site.

Deadline: September 30, 2015

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Sequestrum is pleased to announce their New Writer Awards, in which over $500 will be awarded to up-and-coming writers and poets. The contest will accept both prose (fiction & creative nonfiction) and poetry submissions, with first-prize winners selected in each genre. $15 entry fee.

Fiction and nonfiction: entries up to 10,000 words accepted.
Poetry: Up to to three pieces per submission. Most Sequestrum poems average under 40 lines.

Please see the contests page for full guidelines.

Deadline (tentative): October 15, 2015

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A River & Sound Review, "an online literary journal that features the best in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and humor" is open for submissions.

Simultaneous submissions are considered; writers are limited to one submission for each genre per reading period. Only submit previously unpublished manuscripts. Literature in translation is welcome too. Fee of $2 for each submission. Contributors paid upon publication: $25 for poetry, $50 for prose. Click here to submit your work.

Deadline: November 30, 2015

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Mud Season Review is accepting submissions for its second print issue. "We seek deeply human work that will teach us something about life, but also about the craft of writing or visual art; work that is original in its approach and that in some way moves us." Mud Season Review's online issues are published monthly and feature fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and art. Its first print journal was released earlier this year. For submission guidelines and the link to submit, click here.

Deadline (for print issue): December 1, 2015; online submissions read year-round

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Ploughshares' reading period is now open. Submit fiction and nonfiction (less than 6,000 words) or poetry (1-5 pages at a time). Excerpts of longer works are welcome if self-contained. Significantly longer work can be submitted to the Ploughshares Solos series. $3 service fee; digital submissions preferred. For more specific guidelines and the link to submit, click here.

Deadline: January 15, 2016 at Noon EST

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Zoozil, an innovative children's and Young Adult literature publishing company, is launching soon and looking for new and experienced authors to write one-of-a-kind, interactive historic fiction stories.

"We publish interactive literary adventures in digital and print formats that engage readers in brand new ways. We welcome inquiries from unpublished authors - all you need is talent, passion and a story to tell." When you write, please include fiction writing samples (published or unpublished) and, if you want, a resume and/or cover letter.

For more information contact meredith@zoozil.com, and "come change the story!"

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For The Vignette Review's autumn issue, they seek "exemplary examples of short fiction [300-900 words] that incorporate the beauty of the season. We're looking for short, evocative stories that depict the beauty in the mundane and the quality of small moments."  For more guidelines and to submit, please click here.

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Gawker welcomes freelance feature submissions. Send yours to features@gawker.com.

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Compose: A Journal of Simply Good Writing seeks fiction, nonfiction, poetry and art by both emerging and established writers. They publish two digital issues per year, in spring and fall. Learn more about Compose here and submit via their Submittable page here.

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Vox is now seeking "thoughtful, in-depth, provocative personal narratives that explain the most important topics in modern life" for its new section, First Person.

"If you have a great story to tell that helps explain an important issue, send us a pitch at firstperson@vox.com. We're looking for a wide range of perspectives from writers of every age, gender, race, sexual orientation, and political leaning. We also happily accept pitches from previously unpublished writers — or, for that matter, from non-writers who may have an important story to tell but need help turning it into a piece; we're here to provide that help." Vox will pay for accepted pieces.

For more information on how to pitch, and on suggested topics of interest, please click here.

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The Atlantic health channel published a detailed and helpful guide to pitching for freelance writers. They are seeking several types of pieces from reporting to Q&As to "personal essays with a unique angle, underrepresented perspective, or ties to current trends/research." For more specific information on how to pitch and the topics of interest, click here.

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Luna Luna,  a digital diary for creative thinkers, individuals, dreamers & darklings, is open to everything, including poetry & fiction.

"We are seeking original, creative and engaging content. While our staff is largely made up of women, we welcome and encourage all voices to submit. Luna Luna is into diverse, powerful, sexual, risky, absurd, dark and intellectual opinions & ideas. We're a progressive site but we're not into peddling over-saturated ideas and rants. We're interested in authenticity, beauty and detail. We like engaged and lush writing. We like the uncomfortable."

Send submissions to LUNALUNASUBMIT (at) gmail (dot) com.

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SmokeLong Quarterly has open submissions for their Fridge Flash series, which publishes flash fiction and artwork from children ages 12 and younger on their blog.

"Stories, art or a combination of such must have been conceived of and written by someone under the age of 12. However, we ask that an adult over the age of 18 please submit this work to us with permission to publish it online. If the piece is a story, whenever possible we would like to see a photograph of the writing itself (scrawls, misspellings, colors and all). Where necessary, the parent or guardian can also provide a 'translation' for us!"

All attachments (including photos of your child) should be sent as .jpg files. (Include a short bio as a separate document.) If you prefer your child's full name or photo not be used, just let them know.

Please click here for previous stories or here to submit.

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SmokeLong is also open to submissions of flash fiction up to 1000 words. Click here to learn more and submit your work.

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SparkLit.media is a brand new non-profit publishing collaborative that connects authors of literary work with audiences in a dynamic, innovative and rewarding online environment.

"We are seeking submissions of novel-length (50,000 words +) fiction works showing literary merit and social relevance to be curated by our staff, (eventually) selected by our readers, and made available to our subscribers in serial form. Our authors will be compensated for their work. 50% of all subscriber proceeds will be distributed to our authors." Established and emerging writers are welcome.

Please click here for more information and here to submit.

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Coffee + Crumbs, a collaborative blog about motherhood, seeks well-written, original first-person essays (600-1,000 words) about motherhood, love, truth, and the good kind of heartache.

"We believe the very essence of motherhood can be found in the sweet spot between coffee and crumbs—in that magical place between calm and chaos, beauty and mess, between snuggling newborns on our chests and chasing rambunctious toddlers around the parks."

To submit your stories ("the more honest and vulnerable, the better"), click here.

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Isthmus, a biannual print journal based in Seattle, is seeking creative nonfiction submissions.

"We read year-round and are looking for memoir, personal essay, hybrid essay, experimental or traditional in form. We seek engaging writing and thought-provoking work." Stories and essays should not exceed 8,000 words.

Please visit the website for more information or submit through the submission manager.

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EMSA Publishing, a new independent hybrid publisher, is now accepting submissions from new and seasoned authors for novels and novellas in all genres. They seek:

Top notch novel-length fiction for Middle-Grade and YA through Adult.
Page-turning storylines.
Characters readers care about.

Please send a cover letter via email as well as a brief synopsis (no more than two pages long) and the first 20 pages of your manuscript in the body of an email to query @ emsapublishing.com. Note that attachments will not be opened. Please include the novel title and your name in the subject line. For more information, please visit the site's submissions page.

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"American Short Fiction has published, and continues to seek, short fiction by some of the finest writers working in contemporary literature, whether they are established, or new or lesser-known authors. In addition to its triannual print magazine, American Short Fiction also publishes stories (2000 words or less) online. Submit here." $3.00 fee.

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Mothers Always Write, an online literary magazine for mothers by mother writers, is seeking submissions of poetry (up to 3 poems) and essays (up to 2,000 words) about the parenting experience. Tell us your beautiful story about motherhood. Please see writers' guidelines for specific requirements at the site.

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The Columns department at Literary Mama seeks columns contracted for 11 installments (1,000-1,600 words) that are published either monthly or bimonthly.

This blog post from our senior columns editor provides details about the three essential ingredients to a successful column pitch: hook, roadmap, samples. You can review our current and retired columns to make sure your idea is one that covers new ground in new ways. Most of all, we want a story that is uniquely yours–one that you can't wait to tell, and that we can't wait to read.

Please send queries and submissions to lmcolumns (at) literarymama (dot) com in the text of an email. Include the word "Submission" in the subject line, and allow one to three weeks for a response.

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The Literary Reflections department at Literary Mama seeks "writing by mother writers, both established and emerging, focused on the creative process. We're looking for first-person reflections with an intellectual as well as personal focus." You may choose to write about your reading, writing, or professional life. Submissions should range from 700 to 3,500 words, and more information can be found here.

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Literary Mama is seeking photography submissions to pair with the posts on our site. We are looking for photos that offer unique perspectives on motherhood, and we like photos that are artful, versus those that appear staged, and that encourage us to reflect.

If you would like to feature your evocative, creative photography on Literary Mama, you can review complete submission guidelines here and send .jpg images to: lmphotos (at) literarymama (dot) com. We always give photo credits and provide a link back to the photographer's website.

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If you have information on calls for submissions not listed here that you think Literary Mama readers would appreciate, please e-mail us at lmblogcontact (at) literarymama (dot) com. 


The Literary Mama Blog Editor searches for mama-centric news you can use — including information about publishing opportunities and literacy efforts; essays and writing prompts that motivate and inspire; and announcements about events, classes, and workshops. The current blog editors are Laura Roberts and Rudri Patel; read their bios here and here.


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