For the first time, Ambit's annual competition is open to all disciplines: POEMS, STORIES and ART.

2021’s Metamorphosis-theme will be judged by Deborah Levy (stories), Kim Addonizio (poems), Michael Salu (illustration). Winning work is guaranteed publication in AMBIT POP 245, October 2021.  The first place prize in each category will also receive £500, second place £250, and £100 for third. 

Entries are £6 (£4 unwaged) and are now open until 1 July.   Winners will be announced on 1 September on the Ambit website.  


DEBORAH LEVY is the author of seven novels: Beautiful Mutants, Swallowing Geography, The Unloved, Billy and Girl, Swimming Home, Hot Milk and The Man Who Saw Everything. She has been shortlisted twice each for the Goldsmiths Prize and the Man Booker Prize. Her short story collection, Black Vodka, was nominated for the International Frank O’Connor Short Story Award and was broadcast on BBC Radio 4, as were her acclaimed dramatisations of Freud’s iconic case studies, Dora and The Wolfman. She has also written for The Royal Shakespeare Company and her pioneering theatre writing is collected in Levy: Plays 1. Her work is widely translated. Deborah Levy is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She is the author of a formally innovative and emotionally daring trilogy of memoirs, a living autobiography on writing, gender politics and philosophy. The first two volumes, Things I Don’t Want to Know and The Cost of Living, won the Prix Femina Etranger 2020. The final volume, Real Estate, is recently published by Penguin. 

KIM ADDONIZIO is the author of eight poetry collections, two novels, two story collections, and two books on writing poetry, The Poet’s Companion (with Dorianne Laux) and Ordinary Genius. She has received fellowships from the NEA and Guggenheim Foundation, Pushcart Prizes in both poetry and the essay, and her work has been widely translated and anthologised. Tell Me was a National Book Award Finalist. Her new poetry collection, Now We’re Getting Somewhere, is out from W.W. Norton. She lives in Oakland, California and is online at 

 MICHAEL SALU is a writer, creative strategist, critic and artist, whose work and ideas find a place in a multidisciplinary practice, often centring on the evolving intersections of technology, language and identity. His written work has appeared in many literary journals, magazines and art publications. He is the former creative director of Granta Publications (London) and has conceived and managed the creative output of many culturally-focused brands across a variety of online and offline media. Salu has often contributed to the art and media curriculums of various academic institutions and has held a number of advisory roles and spoken at many live events and symposiums including  5×15. He runs House of Thought, a creative research practice and consultancy underscored by new technologies, art and literature. He is represented by United Agents. 

Submissions can be made either online via Submittable or by post. Submission remains minimal, at £6 per entry, and £4 for unwaged or full-time students, and for five or more submissions you will receive a free copy of Ambit. 

Please note we do not accept simultaneous submissions, the work needs to be submitted exclusively. (In a previous year this led to a winning poem losing out on first prize as it had been published elsewhere.) All judging will be done strictly anonymously so please do not put your name anywhere on the Word, PDF or JPEG document containing your work, only on the Submittable cover letter. 


The entries must be the original work of the author. The competition is open to anyone, of any age of any nationality, aged 16 or over. Poems, flash fiction or illustrations must not have been previously published, either in print or online – this includes self-publishing and blogs. There is no minimum line requirement, but poems must not exceed 50 lines and prose/fiction/flash/life-writing &c stories is restricted to 1,000 words.  Illustrations should be suitable for reduction to A5. Please do not put your name, address, email or any identifying marks on the document in which you enclose your work. These details must be in your cover letter only. All entries must be written in English. Translations into English are accepted and encouraged, but the poem must be marked as ‘Translation’. No simultaneous submissions – any poems, fiction or illustrations that become published after submitting to the competition will be disqualified. Only submit work which you can guarantee will remain available. The winning entries will be announced on September 1st. The decision of the judges is final, and no correspondence will be entered into. 

GUIDE TO POSTAL SUBMISSIONS Postal submissions must come included with a cheque made out to Ambit. Each submitted poem costs £6, or £4 for unwaged or students. If submitting from overseas, please include Visa or Mastercard details including expiration date and security code or pay via Paypal using We do not accept non-sterling cheques. Work must come with a cover sheet, which will contain your name, postal address and email address. If you do not have an email address, please include an SAE with UK stamps. As the judging will be done anonymously, absolutely no names or addresses should appear on the individual work. The competition deadline is 1 July. Only submissions postmarked on or before that date will be accepted. Send your postal submissions to: Ambit Competition, Staithe House, Main Road, Brancaster Staithe, Norfolk, PE31 8BP, UK.

Submitting poetry and prose

Ambit is put together from unsolicited, previously unpublished poetry and short fiction submissions. When we say unpublished we mean completely original, never been on your blog, never been on a website and certainly never been in print.

Due to the amount of submissions we receive, we are only able to print about three per cent of the work that comes through our door. So how do you get into that narrow band?

If you decide your work is right for us then log on to our submissions portal and send us up to 5 poems in one Word document, or 1 story up to 4000 words in length. We’re very enthusiastic about flash and very short fiction too which is under 1000 words that have not been published elsewhere including blogs and internet. Our portal opens twice a year 1 March – 1 April and 1 September – 1 October. See Submittable for full details.

Please include your postal address, phone number  in your cover letter. For fiction please include the word count of your submission.

If you are not able to use the online submissions portal, we do have a postal address to which you can send your work: Staithe House, Main Road, Brancaster Staithe, Norfolk, PE31 8BP, UK. We would encourage you to submit online if at all possible.

– We do not read any email submissions. Use the portal above please.
– If sending via post, please include your email address. If you do not have an email address, include a self-addressed envelope with UK stamps. For international submissions, we can only reply via email.
– If you have sent your work in by post and want your manuscripts returned, please make sure the return envelope is big enough and includes sufficient postage.
– Our response times vary. We receive a huge amount of copy, have only a few readers, and like to read submissions carefully. We generally respond within two months.
– We do not accept simultaneous submissions, and please only send one submission per submission window.
– Keep a record of exactly what you have sent and when.
– We receive too many submissions to be able to give feedback on rejected work.
– We do not print articles, essays, interviews, memoirs or biography.
– By submitting your work you give us first print rights, and the right to reprint your work on our website and in digital form. Once we have printed your work, all rights return to you (except for our digital and internet reprint rights). Those electronic rights do not affect your right to publish your work elsewhere in any forms you wish. Please be aware that we use social media for marketing and we are in the process of working on our on-line digital archive so that is included in the digital rights.
– If work appears in Ambit, you must credit us in any future anthologies or collections in which your work appears stating that the piece was first published in Ambit Magazine and giving the year in which it was published.
– Once something has been published in Ambit we request that it isn’t posted on a blog or website for at least three months. After that please include a link to our site with a note that the piece was first published in Ambit.


The art in Ambit is the result of our art editors’ ongoing research. We like to discover new practices by visiting exhibitions and exploring artists’ studios.

As well as art features our illustration editor invites two illustrators per issue to illustrate prose selected by our prose editors.


We do carry reviews on our website. Please do not send any books for review for the post. In the first instance send an enquiry email to and if we are interested we will be in touch with you. 


Ambit is a charity and we run on a tiny budget, however any money we do make goes back into the magazine. Please see our payment schedule below:

For poets, flash fiction writers and illustrators from the UK – a copy of the Ambit you appear in plus either:  an extra copy, a half-price subscription (worth £15) or a cheque for £10

For UK story writers and featured artists – a copy of the Ambit you appear in plus either: three extra copies, a one year subscription (worth £30) or a cheque for £30.

For overseas contributors we are restricted due to currency exchanges and postage rates.  So the following applies:

For Overseas poets, flash fiction writers and illustrators – one copy of the issue you appear in.

For Overseas story writers and featured artists – three copies of the issue you appear in.

Here are a few more things to think about:

The editors are not overly fond of the following: wild flights of stylistic abandon (indiscriminately centre-justified poems, jazzy fonts, poems all in italics) and folders full of poetry or reams of stories in a single submission. We’re not afraid of genre fiction, but it should probably have an interesting relationship to the genre at hand – a straight-ahead detective or horror story probably won’t appear in Ambit.