Please note that Switchback does not accept unsolicited manuscripts outside of our contest period. Thanks for your patience.
The Gatewood Prize is Switchback Books’ annual competition for a first or second full-length collection of poems by a woman or non-binary writer. It is named after Emma Gatewood, the first woman to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail.
2023 Judge: Cynthia Arrieu-King
Our definition of “woman” includes all women, including transgender and all other female-identified individuals.
Writers must have no more than one previous collection of poems (48 pages or longer) published or under contract. Chapbooks, broadsides, and other shorter publications do not affect eligibility.
Manuscripts by close friends and former students of the judge or editors are ineligible. If the judge or editors would recognize your manuscript for any reason, please do not enter the contest.
Individual poems from the manuscript may have been published previously in magazines, chapbooks of less than 48 pages, or anthologies, but the collection as a whole must be unpublished.
Simultaneous submissions are permitted. Please let us know immediately if your manuscript is accepted by another publisher while under our consideration.
Co-written collections are eligible provided both poets meet all eligibility requirements.
Entries that do not meet these terms may be disqualified. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Manuscripts should be between 48 and 80 pages, paginated.
Please remove any identifying references from your manuscript (including those in the body of the manuscript).
Please include a cover letter with a one-paragraph bio and list of acknowledgments in the cover letter box on Submittable; do not upload a cover letter as the first page of your manuscript and do not include your acknowledgments in the manuscript document.
Table of contents recommended.
Multiple submissions are acceptable, but each manuscript must be entered under separate cover and fee.
No revisions to submitted manuscripts will be considered; the winning manuscript may be revised before publication.
The winner of the Gatewood Prize receives publication, marketing, and promotion of their book as well as 30 author copies.
Switchback editors will read all submissions and select finalists to send on to the judge, who will choose the final winner. You will be notified of your submission status via email. Winners and finalists will be announced on our website in the summer.
As an act of feminist praxis, we employ a "pay what you can" submission fee model, with a minimum of $10 and a suggested fee of $15-20, which is comparable to the cost of other poetry book contests. Our editors are unpaid volunteers, so all of your financial contribution goes into publishing and promoting our next book. In the non-profit world of poetry publishing, we are grateful for all of those who enter the Gatewood Prize and make it possible for us to lift up the voices of more women and non-binary authors. If you cannot afford the $10 minimum payment, please contact us at email@example.com and we can issue a waiver.
All payments will be accepted via Submittable. We do not accept cash, checks, or money orders.
Please visit our page at Submittable to submit your manuscript:
Manuscripts will be accepted from January 1, 2023 through 11:59 p.m. (MST) on March 31st, 2023.