Top Picks: Deadline-Free Opportunities for Writers

If, like nu metal rapper Fred Durst in the early aughts, you like your submission calls to keep rollin', rollin', rollin', rollin', then this is the post for you! Every month, we publish "Writing Life Essentials," a hand-curated list of contests, grants, scholarships, submissions calls, and awards, with a focus on opportunities that are at least one of the following: local, free to apply, and/or committed to celebrating and supporting writers from historically marginalized communities. These regular posts focus on upcoming deadlines, but we like to feature a limited number of rolling submissions as well. Once a rolling submission appears on a monthly post, we'll add it to this growing list, so you can always find somewhere to send work. As ever, we do the research, so you have more time for what matters: the writing. Or, the obsessively highlighting passages in your favorite novels. That matters too. 


Contests & Awards

Free Submissions to the Rattle Neil Postman Award for Metaphor.

Fee: $0; Award: $1000; Deadline: Rolling.

The purpose for the award is to reward a given writer for his or her use of metaphor and to celebrate Postman’s work, and the typographical mind. Each year the editors will choose one poem from the four issues of Rattle printed during the previous year and all poems that were submitted to the magazine are applicable.


Fellowships & Residencies

Wellspring House Retreat for Writers and Artists: Free ongoing residency applications.

Fee: $0; Location: Ashfield, MA; Deadline: Rolling.

Inclusive of all artists and scholars, regardless of genre and field, at all levels and career stages.


Talemor Park ongoing Residency Applications, free to apply.

Fee: $0; Location: Northern Indiana; Deadline: Rolling.

Self-directed residencies are scheduled from May through the end of October, accepts applications at any time for flexibly-scheduled retreats from November through April. Assistantships available for financial support.


General Submissions 

Free ongoing submissions to WomenArts Quarterly Journal, for women writers.

Fee: $0; Deadline: Rolling.

A platform for woman-identified creators. Short stories up to 7,000 words, essays up to 5,000 words, and up to six poems, plus art, interviews, and reviews.


Free ongoing submissions to Screen Door Review: Literary Voices of the Queer South.

Fee: $0; Deadline: Rolling.

Screen Door Review is a quarterly literary magazine that publishes all types of poetry, short stories, flash fiction, and comics authored by individuals belonging to the southern queer (LGBTQ) community of the United States. Short Stories up to 10,000 words, 1-3 flash narratives up to 1,000 words, 3-5 poems, or up to 8 pages of comic or graphic narratives.


Free ongoing submissions to the Puerto Del Sol Black Voices Series.

Fee: $0; Deadline: Rolling.

The Black Voices Series believes that to fight cultural silencing and erasure there need to be more spaces that provide visibility for black-authored work. Poems, essays, fiction, and multi-modal work. 


Free ongoing submissions to Plenitude, a magazine of emerging and established LGBTTQI writers.

Fee: $0; Honorarium: $85 for prose & $35 per poem; Deadline: Rolling.

Defines queer literature and arts as works created by LGBTTQI people, rather than works which feature queer content alone. Accepts literary fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, reviews, interviews, and novel excerpts. Fiction and Nonfiction up to 5,000 words, poetry up to 10 pages. 


Free ongoing submissions to For the Sonorous magazine for women & non-binary people of color.

Fee: $0; Deadline: Rolling.

Submit up to three poems, three prose pieces, and three pieces of visual art at a time. Previously published works accepted, but you must own all rights.


Free ongoing submissions to The Masters Review "New Voices" category.

Fee: $0; Honorarium: up to $200; Deadline: Rolling.

Open to any new and emerging author who has not published a work of fiction or narrative nonfiction of novel length. Fiction and nonfiction of less than 7,000 words.


Free ongoing poetry and nonfiction submissions to Boston-based magazine Redivider. 

Fee: $0; Award: $20; Deadline: Rolling.

Nonfiction submissions up to 6,000 words that feature authentic voices speaking to cultural concerns. No more than four poems. Looking for new and under-published voices. 


Free ongoing submissions to The Journal.

Fee: $0; Deadline: Rolling.

Fiction under 10,000 words, nonfiction under 6,000 words, or 3-5 poems. 


Free ongoing submissions to Mid-American Review.

Fee: $0; Deadline: Rolling.

Fiction, poetry, translations, and nonfiction (including personal essays, essays on writing, and short reviews).


Free ongoing submissions to The Wanderer.

Fee: $0; Award: $10-25; Deadline: Rolling.

Submit poems in Spanish and English, book reviews, excerpts, and self-published works whose lens is not that of a straight, white, cis male. Submit 4-8 poems or prose up to 5,000 words.


Free ongoing submissions to yell/shout/scream.

Fee: $0; Deadline: Rolling.

yell/shout/scream accepts poetry (including prose poems) inspired by songs by artists of color (especially queer).


Free ongoing submissions to The VIDA Review.

Fee: $0; Deadline: Rolling.

VIDA publishes original interviews, articles, essays, and reviews related to intersectional feminist and womanist thinking pertaining to the literary world, publishing, education and the arts.


Free ongoing submissions to Many Gendered Mothers.

Fee: $0; Award: small financial compensation; Deadline: Rolling.

Submit short essays on the women, femme, trans, and non-binary writers who have influenced you, as a direct or indirect literary forebear.


Free ongoing submissions to Homology Lit.

Fee: $0; Deadline: Rolling.

Submit poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and art. Open to emerging and established artists of color, artists in the LGBTQIA+ community, and artists with disabilities.


Free ongoing submissions to For The Sonorous.

Fee: $0; Deadline: Rolling.

For the Sonorous is an online literary journal dedicated to empowering and publishing women and non-binary people of color. Submit poems, prose, and visual art.


Free ongoing submissions to Yellow Taxi Press Online.

Fee: $0; Deadline: Rolling.

Submit 500-3000 words. Submit fiction or nonfiction featuring characters experiencing the challenges and triumphs of early adulthood. Submit essays on writing, literature, publishing, and the intersection of the arts and current events.


Free ongoing submission to Yellow Taxi Press Books.

Fee: $0; Deadline: Rolling.

Yellow Taxi Press is currently open to submissions of contemporary works with fresh narrative voices that feature characters between the ages of 18 and 25. They are looking to publish realistic portrayals of the new experiences of early adulthood, which may be either fiction or nonfiction.


Free ongoing submissions to Damaged Goods Press.

Fee: $0; Award: 50% net profits of publication; Deadline: Rolling.

Submit chapbook length and full-length manuscripts. Damaged Goods Press is a small press specializing in books by queer and trans people, but the content of submissions does not have to be queer or trans related.


Free ongoing submissions to The Sun Magazine.

Fee: $0; Award: $100-2,000; Deadline: Rolling.

Submit nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. The Sun tends to favor personal writing but is also looking for provocative pieces on political and cultural issues. Writers of color are especially encouraged to submit.


$ Ongoing submissions to Dreamers.

Fee: $3; Award: $20 and publication; Deadline: Rolling.

Submit stories of migration and/or sense of place, of home or lack of, and empathy with the plight of migrants around the world.


Free ongoing submissions to CUNY's J Journal.

Fee: $0; Award: publication; Deadline: Rolling.

Submit new writing—fiction, creative nonfiction (first-person narrative, personal essay, memoir) and poetry—that examines questions of justice.


Free ongoing submissions to Fears + Futures + Phantasmagorical + Funsized.

Fee: $0; Award: $10 and publication; Deadline: Rolling.

Submit various types of media on worlding, futures, identity, technology, hyperreality, embodiment, healing, mourning, the tarot/divination, memory, small press culture, captivity/confinement/incarceration, and disability.


Free ongoing submissions to Chronically Lit.

Fee: $0; Award: $10 and publication; Deadline: Rolling.

Submit fiction, reviews, interviews, poetry, and comic and graphic narratives relating to chronic illness.


Free ongoing submissions to the Tell-All Reading Series

Fee: $0; Award: Invitation to read; Deadline: Rolling.

TELL-ALL is a quarterly literary performance series celebrating all things memoir. Co-sponsored by GrubStreet and curated by alumni of GrubStreet’s Memoir Incubator. Submit first-person stories of 1200-1500 words.


Free ongoing submissions to Boston University's Clarion.

Fee: $0; Award: publication; Deadline: Rolling.

Submit poetry, prose, and verse. Authors seeking to publish in Clarion need not have any affiliation with Boston University.


Free ongoing submissions to Brain Mill Press Kindred Books.

Fee: $0; Award: publication; Deadline: Rolling.

Submit a manuscript pitch and 1-2 sample chapters. Fiction Editor Vanessa Willoughby is actively seeking narratives that make readers reflect and question the world around them. She would be pleased to acquire emotionally raw, coming-of-age stories concerning young people of color, especially black girls and women.


Free ongoing submissions to The Shoreline Review.

Fee: $0; Award: publication; Deadline: Rolling.

Submit personal/academic/creative nonfiction that explores poetry, poets or specific poems, especially South Asian poetry or poets.


Free ongoing submissions to Transition Magazine.

Fee: $0; Award: publication; Deadline: Rolling

Submit fiction, poetry, interviews, and non-fiction prose by and about Africa and the African diaspora, with an eye towards a global perspective. Transition is a publication of the Hutchins Center at Harvard University, published three times annually.


Free ongoing submissions to the Tell-All Reading Series.

Fee: $0; Award: Invitation to read; Deadline: Rolling.

TELL-ALL is a quarterly literary performance series celebrating all things memoir. Co-sponsored by GrubStreet and curated by alumni of GrubStreet’s Memoir Incubator. Submit first-person stories of 1200-1500 words.



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About the Author

Colwill is an instructor and manuscript consultant at GrubStreet, an associate editor at Bat City Review, and an MFA candidate at the University of Texas at Austin. After graduating a scholarship awardee of GrubStreet’s Novel Incubator program, Colwill found representation for her first novel, Before We Tear Our Selves Apart, with Robert Guinsler of Sterling Lord Literistic, which is currently on submission to publishing houses. She is the recipient of the Wellspring House Emerging Writer Fellowship, the Henry Blackwell Essay Prize, and a Crawley-Garwood Research Grant, and has received fellowships and support from Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, The University of Texas at Austin, Boston College, Kansas State University, the Anderson Center for Disciplinary Studies, and GrubStreet. She was a finalist for the 2019 Tennessee Williams Fiction Prize, the 2019 Reynolds Price Award, the 2019 Far Horizons Fiction Award, the 2019 Disquiet International Literary Prize, and the 2019 Lit Fest Emerging Writer Fellowship. Colwill’s fiction is forthcoming in Granta and is anthologized in Everywhere Stories: Short Fiction from a Small Planet (Press 53). She has served on the editorial team for Post Road magazine, The Conium Review,  Solstice Literary Magazine, and Pangyrus magazine. Colwill is a founding member of the  Back Porch Collective, a Boston-based group of writers. With members connected to Cuba, India, Albania, Atlanta, Bosnia, Miami, Jamaica, and the UK, they bonded over a common passion for global narratives and literature’s potential to create empathy and understanding across all geographical, political, and cultural borders. Hailing from Yorkshire, in the north of England, Colwill is determined to introduce the word “sozzard” to the American vernacular. For a full list of publications, projects, and services, please visit

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by Colwill Brown


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