Submission Guidelines

Submissions for Backstory Issue 12 are now open. 


They close at 11.59 pm on Sunday 19 September

Issue 12 is an open theme but must relate to the the term ‘history’. 

Every good wish with your writing!

The Backstory team.


Short stories, creative non-fiction and essays submissions to:

Poetry submissions are to be sent to: 


Poetry submission guidelines:
  • All poetry submissions should be emailed as an attachment to: [email protected]
  • Acceptable attachment file formats are: Word, .pdf, .jpeg or .png.
  • Up to four poems, up to 100 lines each.
  • Please format in Times New Roman, 12 pt, single line spacing, left justified – unless your piece requires its own specific formatting (see below).
  • If your piece requires specific formatting (eg non-standard spacing, line breaks or justification), please submit it as a .pdf file only.
  • While we prefer unpublished work, we recognise that great poetry deserves multiple audiences. We will therefore consider republishing work of particular merit.
  • We greatly value the work of all our contributors, but we ask that if we publish your poetry, you please refrain from submitting for the next issue. We are committed to sharing the work of as many new voices as possible, and we do not wish to turn away good work.
  • We read work progressively and reserve the right to close poetry submissions as soon as we have received a quota of excellent work. We believe this is fairer than allowing great work to be submitted which will ultimately have to be rejected due to space constraints.



By submitting work you:

  1. grant to Swinburne a permanent, irrevocable, royalty-free, non-exclusive licence to reproduce and communicate the Work to the public in Backstory
  2. I release Swinburne from any and all claims or causes of action which may be pursued in respect of, or arising from, any exploitation of the Work
  3. agree to have the author’s name and a short biography of the author included in the online publication

I warrant that I own the copyright in the Work described above.

I warrant that I own all necessary rights to enter this agreement.


When submitting your work for consideration, please include a page at the front of your submission that states:

  • your name
  • any notes about the intention, style or genre of the work that you would like the reviewer to take into consideration
  • the word count of the piece

Please submit the file as a word document if possible.

Word counts

  • Fiction – 2000 words max
  • Non fiction – 2000 words max
  • Poetry – 100 lines max


All work to be double spaced and in twelve point font


Use single quotes for quotations.

Indent first line of dialogue.

Quotes longer than three lines are indented once.


Hence a vigilante like Light can personify the inherent tensions in law in a way that other crime fighters, be they Perry Mason or Harry Callaghan, cannot. As Walter Benjamin notes in his essay ‘Critique of Violence’:

“in the great criminal this violence confronts the law with the threat of declaring a new law, a threat that even today, despite its impotence, in important instances horrifies the public as it did in primeval times” (Benjamin 1996, p. 183).

with full stop after the bracketed in-text citation.

If a word is a catchphrase (rather than a quote) that needs to be put in quote marks, use single quotes.



1930-1931 (no space around hyphen)

Biographical Note

Please always include a short biography (100 words) with your submission.

Citation and Bibliographic system:

Articles should be in author-date Harvard style

For example:

(Smith 2008, p. 7)

and under References at the conclusion of the article:

Benjamin, W, Bullock, M, & Jennings, M 1996, Critique of Violence, Selected Writings; Volume 1; 1913-1926, Belknap Press, London.

Davenport-Hines, R 1999, Gothic: Four Hundred Years of Excess, Horror, Evil and Ruin, North Point Press, New York.

Raney, AA, & Bryant, J 2002, ‘Moral Judgment and Crime Drama: An Integrated Theory of Enjoyment’, Journal of Communication, vol 52, no 2.

Smith 2008, ‘Evil and Culture’, in Lisa Fisher & Shona Hill (eds), Against Evil, Interdisciplinary Press, Oxford.

Endnotes rather than footnotes:

Avoid footnotes in favour of endnotes. If using endnotes, numbers rather than roman numerals are preferred.

Telling a War That Does Not Speak its Name: Yasmina Khadra’s Noir Novels

(2 hard returns, bold, centred) Mohamed Aït-Aarab

(one hard return, roman) University of Réunion

D.I.R.E. Research Centre (Déplacements, Identités, Regards, Écritures)

Introduction (i.e. 2 hard returns, no tab/indent i.e. flush to margin, bold) 

On the 26th of December 1991, the FIS (Front Islamique du Salut, Islamic Salvation Front) won the first round of the Algerian etc etc etc (one hard return, no tab/indent)

Subheading (i.e. one hard return, no tab/indent i.e. flush to margin, bold)

Where there were many conflicts etc etc (one hard return, no tab/indent i.e. flush to margin)

As of 4th of May, 2021 Submissions are CLOSED.