Category Archives: Calls for Creative Writing

People in a flooded street go about their lives

Open Call: Bad Weather

Climate Stories of Disaster and Perseverance

Deadline Monday, November 8th, 2021

A hurricane front looms like a collapsing wall out at sea. A blistering heat wave melts asphalt, leaving it as sticky as the air. A drought has turned wide fields to plains of dust. Raging forest fires seal off all routes into a city. The weather is changing, and not for the better.

The London Reader is issuing an open call for creative climate writing about the weather, disaster, and perseverance.

Bad Weather is an upcoming collection of stories, poetry, and art about people facing the immediate effects of climate change in harrowing moments and their daily lives. Fiction and non-fiction submissions can feature historical, near-future, or present-day weather events, but the focus should be on characters or personal experience. Writing about life in the face of bad weather can be frightening, absurd, funny, or poignant, and potentially all four.

Possible Prompts

  • Spring floods destroy an old family cottage with three generations of memories
  • A social media intern updates live from ground zero of a hurricane
  • A town in Wales rallies together to repair an old seawall after the government abandons them
  • California wildfires force a young couple to move their hand-built tiny home
  • Supply shortages disrupt the arrival of bottled water to a drought-stricken town
  • A Floridian family flees through swamps as the peninsula is swallowed by storm surges
  • A woman experiencing a midlife crisis hopes to see a tornado with her own eyes
  • A character’s dream garden business survived the recent flood but is now uninstallable and at risk
  • Young friends attempting to sail from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean are struck by a freak winter hurricane and become lost at sea
  • Prisoners are conscripted to fight wildfires to save the lives of people who forgot about them
  • A German man’s houseboat serenely floats across town in a devastating deluge
  • Two very different people meet for the first time in an evacuation shelter

What to submit: Creative works can be stand-alone pieces or collections, but should generally be fewer than 5,000 words or no more than 3 connected poems per submission. Multiple submissions, simultaneous submissions, and previously published submissions are welcome. Artwork should be favourably viewed on a tablet or single A5 page

How to submit: The London Reader submission portal for this issue.

If you have any questions or difficulty submitting, email coordinator@LondonReader.uk. (The submission form requires a Google account, and you can submit by email if you do not have one.

The deadline for submitting on this theme is November 8th, 2021.

(Image: Flood by J Lloa)

Open Call: Travel Writing in Europe

Into the Eurozone & Onboard the Eurorail: Travel Stories from Beyond the Borders of Brexit

Deadline November 2nd, 2020

Brexit is locking down the British border for Brits and Europeans alike. Quarantine makes us nostalgic for last year’s trip with friends. Airline emissions now justify sightseeing by rail instead of leaping from continent to continent. Europe is changing. Air is out; rail, electric vehicles, and car-sharing are in. Borders that were razor-wire fences just a few decades ago have become lines in a road—and vice versa. Has Europe’s Erasmus generation grown up to become citizens of everywhere, or of nowhere? Sometimes travelling from one country to another is about the journey, sometimes it’s about the destination, sometimes it’s about the people met along the way, sometimes it’s about the people by your side, and sometimes it’s about the people left behind.

The London Reader is issuing an open call for short stories, travel writing, poems, photography, art, and postcard stories about travelling by land in Europe and neighbouring regions. We’re looking for road stories, interrail stories, city stories, language stories, hitchhiking stories, and border stories. We’re looking for stories focusing on character; stories of (bad) luck on the road; stories of the strangers met along the way, stories of fellow travellers, and stories of family left behind; slice-of-life observations from abroad; poetry about people, places, the traveller, or the road; stories about sustainable travel; stories about low-budget travel; stories of history present; stories of new experiences; stories of culture clash; stories about what it means to be a European after Brexit; and stories about epiphanies that change the traveller. The travel writing submitted to this issue can be true stories, well-researched fiction, or stories loosely based on true events. Submissions should be connected to Europe and focus on the experiences of characters.

The travel writing in this issue will explore themes of…

  • Human relationships and experiences on the road
  • Changing border barriers separating friends and family
  • Passport privilege and difficulties for marginalized people
  • Sustainable, low-emission travel
  • Alternative, low-budget travel
  • European identity in 2020

What to submit: Creative works can be stand-alone pieces or collections, but should generally be fewer than 5,000 words or no more than 4 poems per collection. Multiple submissions, simultaneous submissions, and previously published submissions are welcome. Artwork should be favourably viewed on a tablet or single A5 page

How to submit: The London Reader submission portal for this issue at https://forms.gle/eFa1imHZs7JigPV39 which requires a Google account

If you have any questions or difficulty submitting, email coordinator@LondonReader.uk

The deadline for submitting on this theme is November 2nd, 2020.