General FAQs

I want to be part of the Quill! How do I go about this?
Come to the Chandler Room on the first floor of the Hawthorne-Longfellow Library every Sunday at 4pm and join us in merrymaking. You can also get involved by joining our email list or by submitting your work to quill@bowdoin.edu.

What do you do?
We publish one magazine every semester and one pamphlet every so often. We force people walking through the Union to write lines of poetry. We plan events. Sometimes, we hold cylinders of wood (commonly called “pencils”) in our hands and run the protruding graphite across very thin cross-sections of trees and then pretend that the resulting scribbles mean something important and worth of discussion.

Submission FAQs

What type of work does the Quill publish?
We accept poetry, prose and two-dimensional artwork. We’re also cool with two-dimensional representations of three-dimensional art, like photographs of sculptures. Your stories can be avant-garde. Your poetry, un-rhyming. Your art, ugly. We want it all. Please note that the magazine is printed in black and white, with a color cover. Thus, besides the cover images, all artwork will be published in black and white.

How do I submit?
Send your very best work to quill@bowdoin.edu or submit it via our online form.

How many pieces can I submit?
Please submit no more than 3 stories, 5 poems and 7 images. (Just kidding. Like the Wild West, the Quill is a lawless entity. But the above suggestion is a good one.)

How long can my story be?
Again, the Quill is a kindergartener at heart and doesn’t believe in rules. That being said, the magazine is 60 pages, each of which can fit about 500 words. We are unlikely to fill half of the magazine with one story. Our last issue contained stories that were 236, 610, 1,108, 1,288, 2,628, 3,079, and 3,400 words in length. We suggest staying under 3,000 words in length.

My story is 1,070,946 words. Will you accept it?
No. Please submit an excerpt. Excerpts can be good stories in their own right.

Will you edit my work?
If it needs editing, yes. Mostly we correct typos and misinformed uses of the Oxford comma. Not to worry, though. We will run all edits by you before publishing.

In what format should I submit my artwork?
Please send high quality black-and-white images in .JPEG or .JPG format. (You may use Dropbox if necessary.) You can also submit color images, but they will be converted to black and white unless we elect to feature them on the cover. If you are picky about tones and contrast, please submit your own black and white version. If you trust my artistic expertise and exceptional eye, don’t.

What is the Quill’s aesthetic?
Streamers on weathered bicycle handlebars. The racing stripes tattooed on my sides. Powdered milk. Overheard critiques of my 2nd grade stamp collection.

Who decides what goes in the magazine?
Our editorial board. The board consists of various individuals who have NEVER worn white after Labor Day and ALWAYS guess the upcoming Pantone Color of the Year at least 4 months in advance. They read voraciously, write to the point of stress fractures in their phalanges and attend at least 75% of the Quill meetings.

How do they decide?
Sometimes we print the submissions and take them to a local childcare center. There, we instruct angry 4-year-olds to shred the 8.5x11s into hamster bedding. Stories that remain one piece make it into the magazine. Other times, we review submissions anonymously (meaning without names attached to them) and each member of the editorial board then votes either yes or no on each one. We then fill the magazine with the pieces getting the highest percentage of yes votes.