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Contact Us

Backstory is a Swinburne University journal open to all writers of history. We are interested in telling stories from the past, and in particular voices that may have been overlooked. We publish fiction, poetry, non-fiction, interviews, reviews, essays and academic articles. Stories do not have to center around people, they can also be focused on object, time or place. We have aimed to create an online and print-on-demand publication that is modern, diverse and open-minded at the same time as featuring content that is richly rooted in the past. We are a historical journal with an eye on the future.

Email us at [email protected] or get in touch on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

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Submission Guidelines

Submissions for Backstory Issue 14 are now CLOSED!

Submissions for Issue 14 are closed as of 25th April 2023.

Issue 14 is an open theme but must relate to the term ‘history’. 

We thank every single person who submitted their writing!

We’ll be back for Issue 15 soon!

The Backstory team.


Short stories, creative non-fiction and essays submissions: 

[email protected]

Poetry submissions: 

[email protected]


Submission guidelines


  • All poetry submissions should be emailed as an attachment to: [email protected]
  • Acceptable attachment file formats are: Word, .pdf, .jpeg or .png.
  • Send no more than four poems, no more than 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.
  • 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.
  • We only consider previously unpublished work.


  • Please send us no more than two pieces, 2000 words max.
  • All work should be double spaced and in twelve-point font.
  • Please submit the file as a word document if possible.
  • Indent first line of dialogue.
  • We only consider previously unpublished work.


  • Please send us no more than two pieces, 2000 words max.
  • All work should be double spaced and in twelve-point font.
  • Please submit the file as a word document if possible.

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.


Style Guide


Use single quotes for quotations.



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 the 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 the margin, bold)

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


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.



On the 25th of April, 2023 Submissions are CLOSED. 

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