Happy New Year everyone and Welcome to 2016!
Whatever you hope 2016 holds for you I hope it happens, and if one of those hopes are to get your writing published, be it your first piece or not, then perhaps this will be helpful!
There are a mixture of competitions and journals in this list, and the main focus is flash fiction, but many of these places are looking for other forms of writing, like poetry or non-fiction. I’ll try and be as useful as possible!
I’ll also try to include links to current issues if they’re a lit mag / journal because the best way to support a literary journal / magazine is to read what they’ve published and share the writing you loved with the world.
The ten places I’ve chosen are based on many factors, but the main one is this: they love what they do. I suppose that could be said for a lot of places, but I suppose I also love what they do, and I think it’s very important people send their writing to somewhere they love!
Some may not be currently open for submissions, but make a note, use that time to read and enjoy the writing they publish, and return armed with your submission.
Here are my 10 places I believe you should submit your writing to in 2016. To be taken to each webpage, click each subheading, which is hyperlinked.
National Flash Fiction Day (UK)
National Flash Fiction Day, heading into its fifth year, happens annually in June in the UK and is a great way to celebrate flash fiction, with events usually happening up and down the country. Each year they produce an anthology from submissions, but as if that isn’t enough, they run a micro fiction competition and publish a journal called FlashFlood where they publish a new flash fiction every ten minutes, meaning you’ll have plenty of reading material for flash fiction day itself if you couldn’t make it to one of the events.
Though later in the year this is one to remind yourself of and, as I volunteer for National Flash Fiction Day, you’re sure to hear more about it from me over the upcoming months. Last year was the first year I helped and I can honestly say the organisers, especially Calum Kerr, work continually to make it such a great time to celebrate the form. Past anthologies, as well as collections by Calum Kerr, are available to purchase.
Unbroken Journal is a truly fantastic literary magazine who are now in their second year. Their focus is on poetic prose, the prose poem, and the haibun. I love this journal because the editor, R.L.Black, is supportive of both new and established writers, and has been very supportive of my own writing and have accepted a total of 7 of my prose poems (either published or forthcoming 2016). They currently publish an issue every two months and accompany the writing with art and photography. More importantly, the work they publish speaks to the core of me.
You can read their Jan/Feb 2016 issue by following this link here.
Adhoc Fiction / Bath Flash Fiction Award
The Bath Flash Fiction Award is, as you may guess, a flash fiction competition, but here’s what makes the competition unique: you can enter the traditional way by submitting writing and paying a small fee, or you can enter their weekly Adhoc Fiction contest.
Adhoc Fiction allows you to write a 150 word flash fiction inspired by a prompt, and each week a selection are published and the general public read and vote on their favourite flashes. The flash with the most votes wins a free entry to the Bath Flash Fiction Award. The winners are published online, and they seek to illustrate each piece, which means they’re looking for artists / photographers to create pieces to go with each published flash.
This is one of the best literary journals for flash fiction, and they’ve been going for more than ten years now. The pieces they publish are powerful, varied, and demonstrate what one can achieve in a thousand words or less. If you’re new to flash, this journal is a great place to start for reading flash and seeing what makes flash fiction so great! Submissions are open all year round, so you don’t need to rush to submit something to them. Take your time, soak up the writing they publish, and when you’ve recovered read some more. Why not try this excellent story on for size?: ‘Coat and Shoes’ by Tania Hershman.
I adore this online literary magazine purely for the work they publish. They love flash fiction of 500 words or less, fiction that really POPS! This is exactly what their fiction does, and I was really excited to have a piece of writing accepted by them – ‘Just Like Mummy’ is due to be published in February this year. Here’s a great piece, and there are many more to choose from, so please check them out: ‘Saudade’ by Zain Saeed. This journal is certainly the home of striking writing.
Vine Leaves Literary Journal
I love this journal because they publish vignettes. Everything I have read that has been published by Vine Leaves Literary Journal resonates from the page and I can promise you’ll not be disappointed by what they have to offer. This, from their website, sums up best what they’re looking for in a vignette: “Vignette” is a word that originally meant “something that may be written on a vine-leaf.” It’s a snapshot in words. It differs from flash fiction or a short story in that its aim doesn’t lie within the traditional realms of structure or plot. Instead, the vignette focuses on one element, mood, character, setting or object. It’s descriptive, excellent for character or theme exploration and wordplay. Through a vignette, you create an atmosphere. Issue #16 from October 2015 is available to read from this link here.
I love Spelk, the home of “short, sharp fiction”. The editor, Gary Duncan, is wonderful and I’ve found him to be really helpful with both the stories he’s accepted and with the feedback he’s provided for stories that weren’t quite ready. Again, like Vine Leaves, I feel this taken from their website sums up what makes Spelk so great: A spelk, in northeast England, is a splinter of wood – a tiny little sliver or shard embedded under the skin. Without getting too pretentious, we think there’s probably some kind of analogy there – we like flash fiction that’s short and sharp, that gets under your skin and leaves an impression. That, and we just happen to like the word. They publish stories three times a week, and there are many different ones to read! Why not give this one a read: ‘Graffiti’ by Jonathan Pinnock.
I love NANO Fiction and have recently subscribed to this great journal. They publish flash fiction in print journals, and all the pieces in them tend to strike me as unusual but provocative. They include featured stories online too, here’s an example: ‘Gravity’ by Armel Dagon.
Fireworks Quarterly is a stunning literary journal who publish mostly short stories and poetry, but they do have a flash fiction challenge too. It is the care that goes into the production of the journal and it is this that is truly breathtaking. Click on their website and just look at their artwork and how the pages of the journal look – simply beautiful, who wouldn’t want their work published here? But rest assured that the writing is not drowned out by the artwork – the writing they publish is just as evocative as the artwork, so send them something shattering.
Last, but not least, Synaesthesia Magazine. Like Firewords, Synaesthesia Magazine is a literary journal that looks as visually powerful as the words they publish. They publish short stories, poetry, illustrations and photography, and usually have a theme for each issue. One thing I really, really love about this magazine is, though they can’t always guarantee this, they try to provide useful feedback for any writing they decide not to accept for publication. This feedback has allowed me to grow as a writer, to consider their feedback, make changes, and some of the stories I’ve then submitted elsewhere have found a home. This is another journal worthy of your support both as a reader and a writer! Their most recent issue should be available from this link here.
There are so many other magazines and journals I love too, such as Funny in Five Hundred, a journal of flash fiction dedicated to humorous stories, and 101 Words, an online journal of flash where the story must be 101 words (no more, no less).
Feel free to share in the comments your favourite places to submit writing to, particularly flash fiction, and share this list with other writers who are hoping that 2016 is the year they publish some flash!