By R. B. Moreno, Colorado Review Editorial Assistant

“Khimaira. Fiction. $15. 2/28/11.” With that, you’re off to another chapter of War and Peace at the post office, right? Wrong.—like Poets & Writers, Duotrope, and other aggregators of contests and calls for submission—can be a godsend for creative writers. But in perusing these lists, the lack of detail sometimes becomes frustrating.

Ambitious storytellers, like the graduate students who keep our English Department’s printing lab busy at night, can soon have all kinds of literary magazines and blogs crowding their computer monitors. And when we read, after browsing Khimaira’s website, that our 30-page, Tolstoy-inspired novelette isn’t eligible for the journal’s 2011 Fantastiki Fiction Contest, whose guidelines call for a story of fewer than 5,000 words set in Ancient Greece, we may feel led astray.

Enter LitPak, a rather nifty service from NewPages that debuted earlier this month. Here, available for viewing or download from a single page, are nearly two dozen PDFs advertising contests and calls for submission pertaining to February. The fliers have been uploaded to NewPages’ servers by participating magazines, meaning that you won’t need to search for links to guidelines at unfamiliar websites. Of course, perusing a journal’s back issues can be immensely helpful in deciding whether your work fits the call. But so can an artfully designed flier.

Not surprisingly, in browsing LitPak, one appreciates the care some magazines have taken in producing their advertisements. There’s a haunting image of a woman covered in buzzing flies by Camera Obscura, a ferocious, black-and-white Cerberus endorsing River Styx, and a handy “Submission Calendar” from Glimmer Train. A few more highlights:

• Chautauqua’s call for poems, short stories, and creative nonfiction relating to “war and peace” (no joke) opened Feb. 15.

• Copper Nickle’s fiction and poetry contests run Jan. 31 to March 31. Each winner receives publication and $1,000.

• The Kenyon Review’s short fiction contest runs Feb. 1 to Feb. 28. The winner receives publication and a tuition scholarship to a writer’s workshop.

• Slice’s call for short fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for an “Into the Wild” issue runs Feb. 1 to April 1.

There’s one more contest I’d like to recommend. Our blog has this reminder about the 2011 Nelligan Prize for Short Fiction, a fine contest indeed.