Byzantium 2018

28th Edition


Byzantium is the Cal Poly English department's award-winning annual literary journal produced entirely by undergraduate students.

The journal's poems and stories are chosen in Cal Poly's longstanding annual Al Landwehr Fiction Writing Contest and Kevin Clark Poetry Writing Contest, for which undergraduate and graduate students from all majors submit their work. Two separate faculty judging committees, one for poetry and one for fiction, read the entries blind, along with student editors. The winning poems and stories, along with the judges’ choice entries, are published in Byzantium. Along with the prestige of publication in the journal, first, second and third place winners are also awarded cash prizes.

Begun in 1990, Byzantium has published literary works of remarkable quality, and many of the student winners in the writing contest have gone on to prestigious graduate schools in creative writing, including Columbia, Emerson, UC Davis, Houston, UC Irvine, Oregon and San Francisco State, among others. Byzantium complements the English Department's creative writing emphasis by providing both an in-house publication goal and a capstone work that demonstrates our student and department commitment to creative writing. The journal has been cited for its literary excellence and has twice won awards for design.


The Process

Every year, two English majors are chosen as co-editors. These two students work in tandem with a student art director chosen from the Art & Design Department. Numerous English majors compete for the privilege of editing the journal, and those who are selected usually have editing experience, business acumen, desktop publishing skills, a fundraising vision, and the ability to work collaboratively under deadline.

Working with the art director, the editors are responsible for all aspects of the publication, including raising funds, choosing a printer, editing the text, designing the book, distributing the publication, and coordinating a reading for the writers. Additionally, the editors produce a year-end report chronicling their project. This report, along with the finished journal itself, serves as a manual for the following year’s editors.

The 2018 edition of Byzantium will be released in May 2018 with an unveiling event. Details will be posted soon. If you are interested in obtaining a copy of the book when it is released this Spring, visit the English Department or contact You can also see previous editions on the English Department page.

Get Involved

The Al Landwehr Fiction Writing Contest and Kevin Clark Poetry Writing Contest will open for submissions on January 16, 2018, and is open to all currently-registered Cal Poly students. The 2018 submission period is January 16th through January 29th. Three entries from the short story category and three entries from the poetry category are selected by a faculty jury. Winning submissions and honorable mentions, chosen by the student editors, will be published in the 28th edition of Byzantium. All Cal Poly students, regardless of major, are encouraged to enter. If you would like to submit, please know that you can submit up to two short stories (totaling no more than twenty double-spaced pages) and three poems (no more than 300 lines total).

If you have a submission, please email us at the address that corresponds to your work with a pseudonym in your attachment(s). 



If you are interested in providing financial support for Byzantium, or have questions or concerns about ways to help, please use the link below to email this year's editorial team. Advertising space will also be available for purchase in the upcoming months.


The 2018 Team

Leanne Phillips


Leanne is a fourth-year English major with an emphasis in Creative Writing and a History minor. She is a re-entry student. Outside of school, she works full-time as a paralegal at a local law firm. After graduation, Leanne plans to pursue an MFA in Creative Writing and to start her own small press publishing company. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to co-edit Byzantium, to support emerging young writers and to gain valuable editing and publishing experience.


Rebecca Gates


Rebecca is a fourth-year English major with a History minor. She works as a tutor in the Cal Poly Writing and Rhetoric Center and also formats theses in the Graduate Education Office. When she isn't working or reading, Rebecca enjoys visiting art museums with friends. Editing Byzantium has been a dream of hers since her freshman year, and she is incredibly excited to provide opportunities for others to pursue their own creative passions through the magazine.


Joanne Mendoza
 Art Director

Joanne Mendoza is a fourth year Graphic Design student. She has a passion for good design, an obsession with typography, and a determination to make this one of the best volumes of Byzantium so far. When she’s not working or in class, Joanne loves taking photos and learning how to cook. She has a tendency to overwork and overthink things (like writing this bio), but she feels as if that’s okay sometimes.