For all our submissions, themed or otherwise, we welcome especially work by writers who are part of marginalized groups: immigrant and indigenous writers; writers of color; women, non-binary, LGBQIA and trans writers; writers with disabilities both visible and invisible. Send us your best work!

 General Guidelines

The Fourth River publishes print and online issues. Submissions are accepted July 1-September 1 and November 15-January 15. We will occasionally run special calls for theme issues as well. 

Submissions for the web series, Tributaries, is rolling, though we will sometimes close for a short time to catch up on reading.

There is a $3 submission fee for our issues, however we will announce FREE submission days occasionally over social media, so be sure to follow us!

Submissions to Tributaries are always free.

We wish it were otherwise, but The Fourth River is not a paying market at this time. Contributors to our print issues will be offered one copy of the issue in which their work appears. Digital contributors will be offered either one back issue or a copy of the upcoming print issue. 


We welcome submissions of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction and visual art, that explore the relationship between humans and  their environments, both natural and built, urban, rural or wild. We are looking for writing that is richly situated at the confluence of place, space and identity—or that reflects upon or makes use of landscape and place in new ways. 

For the fall, '23 online issue, we are accepting submissions for 

YOU ARE HERE: An Exploration/Interrogation/Celebration of Place

The Fourth River is based in Pittsburgh, PA, a place that is, depending upon who you ask and in what context, part of the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, Mid-West or Tri State areas (not that one, the other one) of the United States. We are considered part of the Rust Belt and Northern Appalachia. Find us tending our gardens in southwestern Pennsylvania, Allegheny County, USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 6, latitude, 40.440624, and longitude -79.995888. The Fourth River is located at Chatham University, which is in the Shadyside neighborhood of Pittsburgh, on Woodland Rd. Find us on the third floor of Lindsay House. 

**Where are you?**

Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Gottmadingen, Lagos, The Danbury Fair Mall, Mammoth Cave, Victoria Falls, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, CBGB in 1973. The financial aid office. The optometrist's office. The fallout shelter. The tornado shelter. The top of Sleeping Giant. The mouth of the Nile. King's Island. Action Park....

Send us 3-5 poems, up to 4,000 words of prose, or 1-3 pieces of visual art that grapple with your specific (hyper)locality. How is your place unlike any other place? Show it off. Show us around. Cast it in vivid, complex, human relief. 

The Fourth River only accepts submissions via Submittable. 

If you have difficulty using our submission system, please query us at We will be glad to assist you, but please understand that uninvited emailed or mailed submissions will not be read.

Recent authors we’ve published include Barbara Hurd, Susan Cohen, Todd Kaneko, Mia Ayumi Mahlotra, Ira Sukrungruang, Lisa Summe and Bk Loren.  Contributors to The Fourth River have received Pushcart Prizes, NEA Fellowships, and The Drue Heinz Literature Prize. The Fourth River’s  contributors have been published in Glimmer Train, Alaska Quarterly  Review, The Missouri Review, The Best American Short Stories, The O.  Henry Prize Stories, and The Best American Travel Writing. 

Please send us up to three pieces of original artwork or photography in the highest possible resolution.

Please indicate in your cover letter if your submission is intended for one of our special themes. If no theme is indicated, we will consider your work for our upcoming print and/or online issues.

Rolling, burbling, churning along, tributaries lead us to the river. These winding origins are sometimes small, but often powerful. Tributaries refresh us, urge us forward, guide us through the trees. The Fourth River’s weekly online publication, Tributaries, showcases the brief and the inspiring, that which sustains us and takes us through unexpected courses. Each week we will feature one short piece on our website.

Submit one poem or up to 500 words of fiction or nonfiction prose, translations in any genre, and hybridity that addresses the mission above!
Multiple submissions are not accepted. Please submit one piece at a time and wait to hear back before submitting again.
Simultaneous submissions are fine as long as you notify us immediately.
We do not accept previously published work.


The Fourth River