Category Archives: Calls for Creative Writing

Open Call: Post-Truth Fiction for a Post-Fact Age

Stories and Reflections on Truth in the 21st Century

Deadline May 6, 2018

The London Reader is issuing an open call for short stories and minifiction that touch on the topics of truth, media, and fake news, and how they affect our lives in the 21st century. Ideal submissions include both relatable stories about characters living in the world of social media as well as experimental stories that explore the nature of fact and fiction. Submissions of visual art and poetry on the same themes are also encouraged.

News invented by the newspaper and click-bait headlines; everyday life distorted by the smartphone lens; dystopias of political doublespeak and corporate social experiments; the unreliable narrators of social media stories or dating profiles; characters caught up in a world of falsehoods and fake news; and creative writing about the shifting standards of truth, such as in Alice Munro’s short story on storytelling, “Family Furnishings”. Fact and fiction often overlap, and this issue of the London Reader features stories that play in that grey area between truth and truthiness and stories of the characters trying to navigate that difference. At a time when the news is called into question, fiction can help us rediscover the truth.

What to submit: Creative works can be standalone pieces or collections, but should be fewer than 5,000 words. Multiple submissions are welcome. Artwork should be favourably viewed on a tablet or single A5 page.

How to submit: Email submissions as word document attachments to coordinator@LondonReader.uk and place “Post-Truth SUBMISSION” in the subject line. Please include a short biographical statement in the body of the e-mail and indicate whether the submitted pieces have been previously published and whether you hold publication rights to them.

The deadline for submission on this theme is May 6, 2018.

Open Call: Writing and Reflections on the Lives of Animals

After Words: Animal Reflections

Deadline: January 31, 2018

The London Reader is issuing an open call for fiction and nonfiction writing about animals, in the form of short stories, minifiction, creative essays, or poetry, as well as art and photography on this theme:

We live side by side with animals. A flock of pigeons roosting on a rooftop is as apparently ordinary a scene as that of cats scrapping audibly down the street or squirrels teasing their would-be chasers before turning tail to safety. Dogs are practically everywhere—many are members of our own families. How often we forget that we, too, are animals, and that our relationships with animals speak tellingly both to the history and condition of our species.

After Words: Animal Reflections will focus on the lives of animals—in themselves, in imagination, in relationship, and in thoughtful combinations thereof. In fable, fantasy, allegory—and in forms more and less traditional and experimental—submissions for After Words will reveal the moving ways animals have visited and haunted our lives and writing, and explore how, in our basest and most elevated moments alike, we belong to their number.

What to submit: Creative works can be standalone pieces or collections, but should be fewer than 4,000 words. Final selections will be weighed in favour of shorter works. Multiple submissions are welcome. Artwork should be favourably viewed on a tablet or a single page.

How to submit: Email submissions and questions to coordinator@LondonReader.uk. Place ‘AFTER WORDS’ in the subject line.

Please include a short biographical statement in the body of the e-mail, and indicate whether the submitted pieces have been previously published and whether you hold publication rights to them.

The deadline for submission on this theme is January 31, 2018.

Open Call: Writing and Reflections on Travel

Wish You Were Here: Writing and Reflections on Travel

Deadline: November 5, 2017

The London Reader is issuing an open call for fiction and nonfiction travel writing in the form of short stories, minifiction, creative essays, or poetry as well as art and photography on the same theme.

The freedom of fitting all your responsibilities in a backpack; the mixed anxiety and excitement of your airplane taking off; the swelling contentment of watching the sun set into a foreign sea. Wish You Were Here will feature the stories of world travelers—stories of following the call of the road, of feeling small in a big world, of coming of age by going abroad, and of losing yourself to discover yourself.

What to Submit: Creative works can be stand alone pieces or collections, but should be less than 4,000 words. Final selection will be weighed in favour of shorter works. Multiple submissions are allowed.

How to Submit: Email submissions or questions to coordinator@LondonReader.uk. Place ‘WISH YOU WERE HERE’ in the subject line. Please include a biographical personal statement in the body of the e-mail, and indicate whether the submitted pieces have been previously published and if you hold the publication rights to them.

The deadline for submission on this theme is November 5, 2017.

Open Call: Stories of Mental Health

“Words from Within: Stories of Mental Health”

Deadline: July 31, 2017

The London Reader is issuing an open call for both true-to-life and fully fantastic short stories, minifiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, art, and illustrations that explore the experiences of mental health and mental difficulties.

“Cheer up,” you say, because it seems that easy.

“Please, understand,” I ask, but it’s just as useless when it’s not words but weights that I’m feeling.

How can you tell someone what it’s like when bedsheets become manacles or bedsides become clifftops? Those suffering from depression, anxiety, or other mental difficulties have often turned to stories and artwork to communicate what the dictionary fails to define. When one’s thoughts don’t make sense, sometimes only fiction can make sense of them. Words From Within will lay bare the experiences of living with a mental health diagnosis through the anecdotes and imaginations of those who suffer and those who love them.

What to Submit: Creative works can be stand alone pieces or collections, but should be less than 4,000 words or no more than 6 images for photography/art. Final selection will be weighed in favour of shorter works.

How to Submit: Email submissions or questions to coordinator@LondonReader.uk. Place ‘WORDS FROM WITHIN‘ in the subject line. Please include a biographical personal statement in the body of the e-mail, and indicate whether the submitted pieces have been previously published and if you hold the publication rights to them.

The deadline for submission on this theme is July 31, 2017

Open Call: Love in the Digital Age

“Love in the Digital Age”
Deadline: February 7, 2017

The London Reader is issuing an open call for short stories, minifiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, and art that explore love in the digital and narcissistic age.

“Love isn’t something natural. Rather it requires discipline, concentration, patience, faith, and the overcoming of narcissism. It isn’t a feeling, it is a practice.” – Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving

#DigitalLove: Checking our smartphones after every ping, we fail to concentrate on any one thing for more than a few minutes. Lacking the ability to delay gratification, we’ve no patience, no faith; we want it all and we want it now. In an age where we turn the lens on ourselves more than towards our lovers, is it still possible to love each other? In this new age, where we right-swipe for the next date, look for love in online match algorithms, flirt with 2D emoijis, and check new messages both during dinner and between the bed sheets, are we still capable of loving? Or are we held prisoner by the short-lived act of falling in digital love, over and over again?

What to Submit: Short stories, minifiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, and art can be stand alone pieces or collections, but should be less than 4,000 words or no more than 6 images for photography/art. Submissions can be true to life or speculative fiction. Final selection will be weighed in favour of shorter works.

How to Submit: Email submissions or questions to coordinator@LondonReader.uk and place ‘DIGITALLOVE’ in the subject line. Please include a biographical personal statement in the body of the e-mail, and indicate whether the submitted pieces have been previously published and if you hold the publication rights to them.

The deadline for submission on this theme is February 7, 2017.

Open Call for Creative Writing

Global Voices: Perspectives from Around the World
Deadline: extended to October 30, 2016

Home is the where the heart is, but the heart may be far from home…

An upcoming issue of the London Reader will catch glimpses of the people, the geography, and the memories that make us call a place home. It will look at what it means to build a home; to live in a home; and ultimately, to leave a home or to have a home destroyed. In the 21st century—in which nearly 70 million people are forcibly displaced and 244 million live outside their country of birth—home is a more elusive concept than ever, and it is one that is often entwined with loss.

The London Reader is seeking poetry, minifiction, short fiction, non-fiction, and photography/art from under-represented voices from all over the world that explore belonging, alienation, forced migration, job relocation, and identity. All submissions within these themes will be considered, but narratives from women, the LGBTQ community, people of colour, migrants, and those from low and middle-income countries will be given priority.

Submissions can be stand alone pieces or collections, but should be less than 4,000 words or no more than 5 images for photography/art, and shorter pieces are preferred. Works will be accepted in Persian, Arabic, Urdu, Kurdish, and French and will appear in English translation. All other submissions should be in English.

Email submissions or questions to coordinator@londonreader.uk. Place ‘GLOBAL VOICES’ in the subject line. Please include a personal statement of less than 250 words in the body of the e-mail, and indicate whether the submitted pieces have been previously published and if you hold the publication rights to them.

The deadline for submission on this theme is October 30, 2016.

Open for Submissions

The London Reader will be accepting submissions from July 1 to October 1!

This year, we are looking for minifiction, poetry of less than 400 words, true-to-life fiction of less than 1,500 words, and any fiction or poetry submissions within the following categories:

  • futurism and cyberpunk
  • the difference between travel and tourism
  • voices of people of colour

Submissions should be sent to coordinator@londonreader.uk, and must contain ‘SUBMISSION’ in the subject line. Please include a personal statement of less than 250 words in the body of the e-mail, and indicate the following:

  • whether you have been published anywhere before
  • whether the submitted pieces have been published anywhere before
  • whether the submitted pieces are final or open to workshopping