the cherita
storyteller oasis
where a story is born


storytelling is oxygen for the soul


storytelling on its own is incomplete, you have to feel what you have written

ai li




i make my way

to the lighthouse
but night

is already there
teaching you
to shine


ai li


Storytelling is about healing the heart and mind.

It enables us to remember and not forget those who went before us, and also of those who loved or hurt us with their words and deeds. The recording, both oral and written, and sharing of stories is age-old. When we start to write, we bring to life the lost words of yesterday – from just a few moments ago to the time of our ancestors huddled around a roaring fire in some smoky cave of all our beginnings.

Be the storyteller and healer you are meant to be. Make us laugh, cry and be entranced by six lines of your words.

Storytelling is oxygen for the soul.




is in its 27th year now
22 June 1997 – 22 June 2023

and it continues to be not only a storytelling medium for all your stories of Life, Love, Loss and Renewal but it is also Flash Fiction in 6 lines.

Do please send me your thoughts and comments on how your writing has grown along with the genre over the last three years, and whether the fine examples of cherita featured within the cherita have helped inspire your writing of cherita.




a path
edition 7:12 of the cherita
edited by ai li

has launched, and is now available in paperback and kindle on Amazon.


N.B. Please be aware that the Kindle versions now no longer have images to accompany each cherita.


For those of you unfamiliar with the format of the cherita, you may like to know that for our print version, each selected poem is published one to a page to allow the author’s words to breath, and is also allocated a blank page before the following poem appears. This blank page, apart from the one to a page format, allows a reader to pause, and for the words to echo in the after silence. I designed this format almost 30 years ago to allow for quiet contemplation between each poem.

The kindle version is also one poem to a ‘page’ to allow for maximum stillness.

Both versions of the cherita have been edited to be experienced two ways. They each can be read as a storybook and as an anthology of individual poems. Two reading experiences in one book.




The Original and Official Guidelines

CHERITA [1 — 2 — 3]
[pronounced CHAIR-rita]


the rowboat

tied up
for the night

no one hears
the tide come in
but the moon

from a dark sea

ai li



Cherita is the Malay word for story or tale. A cherita consists of a single stanza of a one-line verse, followed by a two-line verse, and then finishing with a three-line verse. It can be written solo or with up to three partners.

The cherita tells a story. It was created by ai li on the 22 June 1997 in memory of her grandparents who were raconteurs extraordinaire. It was also inspired by Larry Kimmel’s sensitive recognition of a shorter form contained within the opening three-verse stanza of ai li’s LUNENGA, which had been created on the 27 May 1997.


copyright © ai li 2024




CHERITA  TERBALIK – inverted cherita
[3–2–1], [2–1–3], [1–3–2], [2–3–1] and [3–1–2]
[pronounced CHAIR-rita tur-bar-lake]



on this cold night
i write
and anchor

myself down
with old dreams


ai li



The Cherita Terbalik can be written in the above stanza formats. You will find all variants of Cherita Terbalik regularly featured in the cherita. Terbalik is the Malay word for reversal or upside down.

Cherita Terbalik also tells a story and can be written with up to three partners.




I have been asked as to what does one call Cherita accompanied within artwork –

I call this form CHERIGA [pronounced Chair-ree-ga]a melange of cherita and haiga.

As for those of you who write combined prose with Cherita,

I call the form CHERIBUN [pronounced Chair-ree-boon] – a word melange of cherita and haibun.

Sadly the cherita does not publish Cheriga as this would escalate our publishing costs, and Cheribun, so please do not submit both these forms to us. Thanks.



copyright © ai li 2024



The original guidelines for Cherita and Cherita Terbalik [inverted cherita] are as above and are the only official valid guidelines for the Cherita genre. There can be no variations to these guidelines without the permission, consent and approval of ai li, the creator of the genre. All rogue attempts to vary these guidelines remain rogue attempts and should be ignored when you write Cherita.




The Editor of the cherita

​ai li – creator of cherita




Godfather of the cherita

Larry Kimmel – godfather of the cherita and former co-editor


You can find more information about Larry Kimmel on our origins, biographies and bibliography pages.


copyright © the cherita 2024