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entry guidelines

The Castro Prize, named for our founding editor, Michael Castro, is a new prize awarded annually to exemplary works of poetry and fiction. River Styx editors carefully read and discuss contest entries and ultimately submit the strongest ten entries to the judges. For our 2024 contest, Christopher Castellani will judge fiction and Dg Okpik will judge poetry. We will award one winner for fiction and one for poetry, with one runner-up in each genre. The first-place prizes are $1000 each, plus publication in print and online. 

The entry fee is $20. If you would like to receive a copy of our latest print issue, River Styx 107, you may do so at a discounted rate of 50% off ($9.95). (Shipping rates apply. The discount is good for one copy of RS107 per entrant and cannot be combined with any other discounts or offers.) Entrants will receive a discount code in their confirmation email.

Works of fiction should not exceed 5000 words. You may send up to three poems. Work must be previously unpublished. You may submit multiple entries but each work must be submitted separately. If the work is a simultaneous submission, we ask that you notify us immediately upon publication elsewhere and withdraw the piece via Submittable. Withdrawing a submission will not result in a refund of the entry fee. The contest runs from May 1, 2024 through September 30, 2024. The winners will be announced on January 1, 2025.

All contest entries are read blind. The winner is chosen based on the strength and inventiveness of the writing, not on academic background, publication history, or any other accolades. Please do not include your name or any other identifying information on the work itself. Submittable provides features that allow us to read the work without seeing the contributor's name, contact information, or cover letter. Once winners are chosen, we can "unhide" this information to identify the winners.

Christopher Castellani (Fiction Judge)

Christopher Castellani is the author of four novels, most recently Leading Men, for which he received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, MacDowell, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, among others. His book of essays on narration in fiction, The Art of Perspective: Who Tells the Story, was published by Graywolf in 2016 and is taught in numerous writing workshops. Christopher is on the faculty and academic board of the Warren Wilson MFA program, chairs the writing panel for the National YoungArts Foundation, and is the current Writer-in-Residence in Fiction at Brandeis University. A 2024 NEA Fellow, he lives in Boston and Provincetown.

Dg Okpik (Poetry Judge)

Dg Nanouk Okpik was born in and spent much of her life in Anchorage, Alaska. She attended Salish Kootenai College, the Institute of American Indian Arts, and Stonecoast at the University of Southern Maine. Okpik has won the Truman Capote Literary Trust Award, the May Sarton Award, and an American Book Award for her first book, Corpse Whale (University of Arizona Press, 2012). Her second book is Blood Snow (Wave Books, 2022), which was a finalist for the 2023 Pulitzer Prize.


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