Byzantium 2016

26th Edition


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

The magazine's poems and stories are chosen in Cal Poly's longstanding annual Creative 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 magazine 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 magazine, 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 magazine itself, serves as a manual for the following year’s editors.

Byzantium is typically released in April or May with an unveiling event. 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 Creative Writing Contest is currently open for submissions. 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 26th 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 (no longer than thirty double-spaced pages) and five poems (no more than 300 lines each).

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 2016 Team

Marley McCaughey


Marley is a fourth-year English and History double major. She is the vice-president of the College of Liberal Arts Ambassadors and is on the board for the Anthem Poetry Slam, which takes place at Cal Poly each spring quarter. She believes in the power and influence of the written word and hopes to promote the joy of creative writing through this publication.


Stephanie Narlesky


Stephanie is a fourth-year English major with a concentration in poetry writing, Linguistics minor, and will be receiving her TESL certificate in the spring. She believes the best writers were first avid readers, and hopes that in working with Byzantium, she will help others achieve their literary goals.


Lena Choi

Art Director

Lena is a fourth-year Art & Design major with a concentration in Graphic Design. She enjoys going to bookstores to look at book cover designs and fulfilled her desire of designing a book cover with the creation of Byzantium