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Gatewood Prize
Judge: Emilia Phillips
Dates: January 1, 2024 - April 15, 2024
Contest Fee: $20 (or $25 with a book from the Switchback Catalog)

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.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • We accept work from non-binary and women authors. Our definition of “woman” includes all self-identified 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previously in magazines, chapbooks of less than 48 pages, or anthologies, but the collection as a whole must be unpublished.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.

  • Translations ineligible.

  • Entries that do not meet these terms may be disqualified. Please email with any questions.

Manuscript Requirements:

  • 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.



Publication, marketing, and promotion, plus 30 free 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. 

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