Entries must be written in response to our visual prompt:
Magician  by sculptor and painter
(PDF includes two views of ceramic sculpture + artist’s
For a chance to win $100 (USD) and publication online in our third
issue: Submit an unpublished ekphrastic work no longer than a thousand
words—whether poetry, fiction, nonfiction, or a poetic hybrid. A max of three
entries will be considered from each person, and each entry of one piece must be
accompanied by an entry fee of $3 (USD). To reiterate, each piece must be no
longer than a thousand words, including the title.
In addition, three Finalists will receive $50 (USD) each, plus
publication online in Issue 3 of MacQ.
Only one cash prize will be awarded per person.
Clare MacQueen, founding editor of MacQueen’s Quinterly (aka, MacQ),
will select the Winner and Finalists in May 2020. Results will be announced at the end
of May, with the publication of Issue 3 of MacQ online.
(For clues about the kind of ekphrastic works we like to publish, be sure to see our
tips for word artists,
Ephective Ekphrastics: A Guide to Verbalizing Art.)
Magician Contest Guidelines:
Submission Period: From 10 April 2020 through 25 April 2020 (closing
just before midnight). No entries will be accepted or considered after 11:59 p.m. PST
on the 25th of April.
Electronic Submissions Only: Entries in the English language will be
accepted from writers worldwide, via Submittable.
Entry Fee: $3 (three USD) per piece. Up to three separate
entries will be considered from each person, and each entry must include a separate
entry fee. Submission files must be in .doc or .docx format. Again, a max of three
entries will be considered from each person.
Submission Documents Must Be “Anonymous”: Do NOT include
your name, address, and other identifying info within your document(s). The same is
true for the name of your file(s): NO author info. Instead, please name individual
files with the title of the piece in that particular entry. This will help ensure that
all entries will be considered “blind” and as impartially as possible.
Author name, contact info, and bio should be entered in the boxes
provided at Submittable.
Basic Formatting: 11- or 12-point, easy-to-read-onscreen font such as
Verdana. At least one-inch margins. Double space most prose works; prose poems, haibun,
and tanka prose may be single-spaced. Please single space lineated poems, with line and
stanza breaks as you wish them to appear on-screen.
Please, No Simultaneous Submissions! We’re committed to
announcing results as soon as possible, which will be about four weeks beyond the
closing date of the contest.
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 and
sites such as Fictionaut, are considered published, and thus not eligible
for this contest.
Word Count: No more than 1,000 words per piece, including a mandatory
title which is at least one word in length, and any footnotes from the author. The
thousand-word max per piece applies to all genres, including hybrids and poetic works,
since we do not count lines and line breaks, but words only.
Cover Letters: None needed, since we have so little time to read or
respond to letters. We dislike letters that explain the works upfront or give away any
surprises—we strongly prefer that works speak for themselves.
If you have specific questions or concerns about this contest that are not addressed
in these guidelines, then please leave us a brief note at Submittable.
Genres: We’re looking for polished and evocative literary works
that balance “music and meaning” (to borrow from poet Richard Hugo) within
a max of 1,000 words (including the title and any author notes), and using forms such
* Prose poetry
* Micro-fiction (up to 500 words)
* Nonfiction (essays, CNF, memoir)
* Flash fiction (501–1,000 words)
* Poetry (structured, as well as free verse)
* Poetic hybrids such as haibun, haibun stories, tanka prose, and tanka tales
For this ekphrastic challenge, we will also consider individual micro-poems such
as haiku, senryu, tanka, kyoka, and cherita, as well as sequences and hybrid
combinations of such poems. Please note that we do not count lines and line
breaks, but only words. Each poem, or sequence of micro-poems, must be no
longer than a thousand words, including the title and any author notes.
Tip: As we consider submissions to our journal, awards such as the
Pushcart, Best Small Fictions, Best Microfiction, and Best of the Net loom over the
decisions we make. We look for works that Knock Your Socks Off, that is, prize-worthy
material. Regardless of the genre, we cherish a unique voice, fresh language, and the
sly use of literary devices such as metaphor and irony. We hope to be side-swiped,
poked in the ribs, and otherwise smitten by an arresting idea, a compelling narrative,
an exquisite lyric, or a moving account—all of which thread the perfect line
between the personal and the universal.
[And for more clues about the kind of ekphrastic works we like to
publish, be sure to see our tips for word artists,
Ephective Ekphrastics: A Guide to Verbalizing Art.]
Restrictions: For this ekphrastic challenge, we cannot accept
visual artworks, works in translation, and collaborations. (But we would be happy
to consider such works under our General Submissions category.)
- No gratuitous violence (remember, less is more).
- No gratuitous obscenities; judicious usage is acceptable.
- No children’s stories, but we will consider fables or fairy tales for
- No pornography, although literary erotica and works containing sexual themes will
- No political screeds and/or religious rants—however, literary works from
all spiritual traditions are welcomed.
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.
By entering this contest, you certify that: the work(s) you’re
submitting are your own original writings, they have never been published in print
or electronically (including on social media), they have not been submitted nor
accepted for publication elsewhere, and they are not in the public domain.
Results: Winners of the MacQ Magician Ekphrastic
Challenge will be notified by email just before results are announced officially,
which will be at the end of May 2020. All decisions by the judge(s) are final.
Payment of Prizes: Winners and Finalists will receive electronic
payment via PayPal in USD (United States Dollars). Only one cash prize per person.
Any taxes due on contest winnings are the sole responsibility of the prize winners.
This competition is void where prohibited by law.
Thanks so much for considering MacQueen’s Quinterly!
We look forward to reading your entries. Best wishes!
[Previously linked to Submittable here. See Issue 3 of MacQ for
Background and Results: The Magician Ekphrastic Writing