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

Fee: $0; Location: Ashfield, MA; Deadline: Rolling.
Inclusive of all artists and scholars, regardless of genre and field, at all levels and career stages.
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. Assitantships available for financial support.


General Submissions 

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.
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.
Fee: $0; Deadline: Rolling.
The Black Voices Series believes that to fight cultural silencing and erasure there needs to be more spaces that provide visibility for black-authored work. Poems, essays, fiction, and multi-modal work. 

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. 
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.
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.
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. 
Fee: $0; Deadline: Rolling.
Fiction under 10,000 words, nonfiction under 6,000 words, or 3-5 poems. 


Fee: $0; Deadline: Rolling.
Fiction, poetry, translations, and nonfiction (including personal essays, essays on writing, and short reviews).


About the Author

As Editor of GrubWrites, GrubStreet's popular blog, Sarah serves the Grub community a daily dose of literary goodness. Book lovers can find reviews, news, recommendations, and conversations with exciting new authors to stay up to speed on all things lit. Writers, GrubWrites is your go-to spot for expert craft talk, thoughtful discussions on how writing is learned and taught, and essential publishing and publicity advice. Sarah is also a GrubStreet instructor and consultant specializing in the novel.


Sarah is Writer-in-Residence at Wellspring House and a recipient of the work-study scholarship for the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. Her creative work has appeared or is forthcoming in Everywhere Stories: Short Fiction from a Small Planet (Press 53, fall 2018), Solstice Literary Magazine, The Conium Review, Poetry and Audience, and other places, and her essays have featured on Dead Darlings and elsewhere. She's served on the editorial team for Post Road magazine and The Conium Review and is currently Fiction Editor at Pangyrus. A graduate of GrubStreet's Novel Incubator program, for which she was awarded a scholarship, Sarah is at work revising her first novel. She was educated at Leeds University, where she received her BA hons in English Language and Literature (International), with stints at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and Kansas State University’s Graduate Creative Writing Program, where she was awarded the Seaton Graduate Fellowship in Creative Writing. Most recently, Sarah completed an MA in English Literature at Boston College, where she was awarded a tuition fellowship and the Henry Blackwell Essay Prize. Hailing from Yorkshire, England, her life's mission is to introduce the word "sozzard" to the American vernacular. For a full list of publications, projects, and other services, including copy editing, please visit

See other articles by Sarah Colwill-Brown
by Sarah Colwill-Brown


The Writing Life


Boston Submitting

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