The fall semester is back in session and that means we are opening back up for business to receive your submissions. From now until the holidays we will once again be accepting pieces of fiction and poetry in addition to non-fiction submissions. 

About Us

  • Switchback is an online publication of the MFA in Writing Program at the University of San Francisco. We have recently changed our publication schedule from producing two issues a year to releasing new material throughout all twelve months. Submissions will remain open!
General Guidelines

  1. We only consider previously unpublished works. No exceptions. Thank you.
  2. We do not accept submissions via email or postal service. You can submit your work to us through Submittable. If you run into any technical difficulties in uploading your submission, please contact us at
  3. We do accept simultaneous submissions; however, we ask that you notify us as soon as possible if your work is accepted elsewhere. If you’re exclusively submitting work to us, we appreciate the thought.
  4. If you’re submitting prose, please limit your submission to one story or essay at a time. Stories and essays should be no more than 4,500 words, but we prefer pieces closer to 3,500 words. We won't consider any prose pieces that go over the word count. Period. Sorry, but dem's the breaks.
  5. If you’re submitting poetry, please submit to us no more than three poems. We like things in threes: Olympic medals, wishes, Cerberus heads, jazz ensembles. We don’t like things in fours, except when it comes to lists of things in threes.
  6. Before submitting, please read some of our back issues to familiarize yourself with the content we choose to publish. It's all readily available on our Web site (completely free and immediate), so there's really no reason not to.


The theme is your monster. We’re looking for well-crafted poems, short stories, and essays that explore all aspects of the word monster. Tell us about the skeletons in your closet, the eyes gleaming under your bed, the things you regret. Sometimes the worst things about ourselves are the most relatable. Show us something dark, honest, and real. Show us your monster.

The winner will receive $500 and publication in our online journal.


All entries must be submitted by Sunday, April 15th at 11:59 PM PST. General submissions to Switchback will remain open after that date.


$5 per submission.

In order to be eligible for the contest, writers must both submit their work on Submittable AND follow the link below to pay the required $5 entry fee. Both MUST be done in order to be considered for the prize.


Multiple submissions are allowed, but each submission requires its own entry fee. All entries will also be considered for publication in our online journal. General submissions to Switchback are free, but those submissions will not be considered for the contest’s prize.


The winner will be contacted directly one week prior to public announcement on our website.


The contest is open to poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Entries must not have appeared previously in print or online. All submissions must be fewer than 3,000 words. As the contest will be judged by the Switchback editorial staff, writers affiliated with Switchback editors and their family members, are ineligible. Current University of San Francisco faculty, staff, and students are also ineligible. Prize money may be subject to tax withholding.

Ends on June 1, 2018
We welcome stories of all genres and subject matter. We simply want your best work—stories that you’ve devoted a lot of time and care to. We don’t want to see your first drafts, and probably not your second drafts, either. Likewise, we don’t want stories riddled with clichés, tired tropes, melodrama, or flowery language. We appreciate precision, attention to craft, and language that surprises and inspires us.
Ends on June 1, 2018
How can we push poetry forward? How can we make poetry lively and interesting? How can we evolve this lovely and resilient art-form through this relatively new millennium, and on? We want your best work, your most original work, we want your strangest work. We love it when you take risks. We want work that is exciting, poems which know the joy of words and celebrate it with every phrase. We want to praise you, but only if you earn it. We love good writing just as much as you do, and we want to publish your best writing. Send us your best, your weirdest, your most inspired. Well-done weirdness, in particular, is always a plus. Send us your sick, your dying...leave some soul and blood and maybe a little love on the (digital) page. We want music, we need it, just as much as you please, do us the honor of sending us your best songs. We are here to make sure others hear them.
Ends on June 1, 2018
Please submit completed nonfiction essays on any topic. We'll read any true story.