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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
News: 14 Jan. 2022
Updated: 10 Mar. 2022

MacQ’s Cheribun Challenge

[Updated March 2022: Challenge is closed.
See Results in Issue 12.]

This rare poetic hybrid is itself the writing challenge.

Prizes: $100 (USD) First Place, plus publication
  $50 (USD) Second Place, plus publication
  $50 (USD) Third Place, plus publication
  (Several finalists, unranked, will also be published.)
Entry Fee: $3 (USD) for one cheribun, or
$5 (USD) for up to three cheribun
Entry Period: 14 days
Opening Date: 10 February 2022
Closing Date: 23 February 2022
Results: Announced by 15 March 2022

Only one form will be considered for this challenge: the cheribun, a rare hybrid which combines prose poetry (and/or lyrical micro-prose) with one or more cherita poems. For details about cherita and cheribun, including eight examples of the latter, please see MacQ’s Featured Form in Issue 11.

For chances to win up to $100 (USD) and/or publication online in Issue 12 of MacQueen’s Quinterly (aka MacQ-12): Submit original, unpublished cheribun, no longer than 975 words each, including title and any epigraph(s) and author footnotes.

Depending on the entry category chosen, up to three cheribun per entry will be considered from each person. Two entry categories are available: (1) Submit one cheribun with an entry fee of $3 (USD), or (2) submit up to three cheribun for $5 (USD).

While multiple entries will be considered from each writer, an individual is not eligible to receive more than one cash prize. However, additional cheribun of merit by a First, Second, or Third Place winner may be offered publication in the June issue of MacQ.

All entries will be considered for publication: Depending on the number and quality of cheribun received, we hope to publish at least a dozen in MacQ-12 in March.

(And if we’re blessed with a deluge of wonderful cheribun—which would be awesome!—then we may also offer publication to an unspecified number of them, in MacQ-13 in June.)

Entries may be serious, humorous, or anywhere in-between. Even so, they should also be polished literary works.

Themes are open and diverse; to get a feel for our editorial focus, please see previous issues of MacQ.

No simultaneous submissions: Our publisher is committed to announcing results as soon as possible, which will be about three weeks beyond the closing date of this contest.

(For folks who are curious about such things, this is our ninth contest in six years. For a list of links to winners and finalists of our previous writing challenges, please visit MacQ’s Contest Portal.)

Additional Guidelines for MacQ’s Cheribun Challenge

Electronic Submissions Only, Via Submittable: Entries in the English language will be considered from writers 18 years of age and older, from countries worldwide. (The link to MacQ’s Submittable portal follows below these guidelines.)

Submission period is open for only 14 days: from 10 thru 23 February 2022. No entries can be uploaded via our Submittable portal after 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on 23 February.

Entry Fee: $3 (three USD) for one cheribun, uploaded within a single file; or $5 (five USD) for up to three cheribun, uploaded within a single file.

Entry fees cannot be refunded, so please read the guidelines before selecting your entry category at Submittable.

Submission files may be uploaded in .doc or .docx format (or as a PDF).

Submissions must be “anonymous.” Please do NOT include your name, address, and other identifying info within your document.

The same is true for the name of your file: No author info. Instead, please name your file with the title of the cheribun (or one of the cheribun) in your entry. This will help ensure that all entries will be considered as impartially as possible.

Author’s name, contact info, and bio should be entered in the boxes provided at Submittable. And Submittable keeps things nicely organized by assigning a number to each entry.

Requests to Edit Entries: If you discover a typo, factual error, etc. in your work after uploading your file, please send us a note via Submittable and request an edit. Please do NOT withdraw your entry simply to resubmit an updated version.

(Doing so would not only waste your time and money, in part because entry fees cannot be refunded, but would also negatively impact our publisher’s crazy-busy schedule, as well as skew our submission stats. Huge thanks for your understanding and co-operation!)

Basic Formatting: 11- or 12-point, easy-to-read-onscreen font such as Verdana. At least one-inch margins.

Word Count: No more than 975 words per cheribun, including a mandatory title at least one word in length. (Max word count also includes any epigraphs and author footnotes.)

Original Works Only: Entries must be unpublished, and must not have been chosen as a winner, finalist, or honorable mention in another contest. Works that have appeared on an author’s website or blog, and/or on social media like Facebook and Twitter and sites such as Fictionaut, are considered previously published.

Please, NO simultaneous submissions. MacQ publisher Clare MacQueen promises that your work will not be “held in limbo” for long. She’s committed to announcing contest results as soon as possible, i.e., no later than 15 March 2022, or about three weeks beyond the closing date of this contest.

No cover letters necessary: As a one-person production army, Clare has very little time to read or respond to letters. Folks with specific questions or concerns not addressed in these guidelines are welcome to leave her a brief message via Submittable.


  1. No gratuitous violence; remember, less is more.

  2. No gratuitous obscenities; judicious usage is okay.

  3. No children’s stories, but fables or fairy tales for adults will be happily considered.

  4. No pornography, although literary erotica and works containing sexual themes and related explicit language will be considered.

  5. No political screeds and/or religious rants—however, literary works from all spiritual traditions are welcomed.

To see winners and finalists of our eight previous writing challenges, please visit MacQ’s Contest Portal.

Publication Rights: Authors whose works are selected will be asked to approve an agreement which grants exclusive first-time worldwide publication rights to MacQueen’s Quinterly. (For more information, see Contract: Publishing Rights.)

By entering this contest, you certify that:

  1. the work(s) you’re submitting is/are your own original writing(s);

  2. they have not been published in print or electronically (including on social media);

  3. they have not been submitted nor accepted for publication elsewhere; and

  4. they are not in the public domain.

Results will be announced on 15 March 2022, with the publication of MacQ-12 online (i.e., Issue 12 of MacQueen’s Quinterly).

The First, Second, and Third Place winners will be selected by guest judge Margaret Dornaus, whose first book of poetry, Prayer for the Dead: Collected Haibun & Tanka Prose, received a 2017 Merit Book Award from the Haiku Society of America. She is also editor and publisher of a pandemic-themed anthology, Behind the Mask: Haiku in the Time of Covid-19, through her small literary press, Singing Moon.

Clare MacQueen, editor and publisher of MacQ, will assist with the selection of several unranked finalists to be published in Issue 12. Winners and finalists will be notified by email just before Clare announces the results officially with the launch of MacQ-12.

Judge’s decisions are final.

Payment of Prizes:

  1. Cash prizes, in United States Dollars, will be awarded as follows: $100 to the First Place winner, and $50 each to the Second and Third Place winners. Only one cash prize will be awarded per person.

  2. If a collaborative work is selected as First, Second, or Third Place winner, then the prize money will be split evenly between the collaborating writers.

  3. Cash prizes will be paid via PayPal.

  4. Any taxes due on contest winnings are the sole responsibility of the prize winners.

This competition is void where prohibited by law.

A world of thanks for accepting MacQ’s Cheribun Challenge—we hope you have fun with it, and we look forward to reading your cheribun soon!

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