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Zine (derived from the word magazine), refers to a small, self-published underground publication produced for personal rather than commercial reasons. Anyone can make a zine. The self-published, alternative, and inclusive nature of zine culture gives a voice to Australian minorities, sub-cultures and creatives who are under-represented in mainstream publishing.
The National Library is one of the few libraries in the world that collect zines, so in May 2019, Kristen and Amy visited the annual Other Worlds Zine Fair to collect the latest ziney goodness for the national collection...
I never knew what zines were until I was told to do a presentation about zines back in 2014! I figured the best way to learn about zines was to create my own. Three-and-a-half zines later, I’m well and truly hooked.
I took my latest zine to Other Worlds to trade for material to add to the national collection, and everyone was so nice about my oddly specific zine featuring hilariously bad poems about roller skating, culled from late 1800s-early 1900s newspapers!
Getting to chat with so many passionate and creative people at Other Worlds was amazing – discussing the importance of bees, trading cockroach stories, discussing the effects of the marriage equality plebiscite, fangirling over Vanessa Berry… it was a wonderful day.
2019 Other Worlds zine fair
Picking a favourite zine is ridiculously hard – I LOVE THEM ALL!
If I HAVE to pick, my absolute favourite from Other Worlds is Strawberries, which starts off delightfully adorable, then takes a dark turn.
Strawberries, by Sandra Gunniga Thomson
Tied for very-close-next-favourite are Alien autopsy, How to avoid burning out and hating everything forever, and How to do the red dress dance to Kate Bush's 'Wuthering Heights'.
Before starting at the library, I have never been exposed to zines, so this was all completely new to me. Be warned to those wanting to explore this interesting creative outlet, they can become very addictive! I have already begun drafting ideas to create a small 8 page zine!
Going to Other Worlds was a bit daunting at first, as it was my first acquisitions trip for the Library. It was only after I started engaging with the artists, and hearing how excited some were to have their works selected for the national collection, that the nerves passed.
2019 Other Worlds zine fair
With zines, I feel like my taste falls with anything slightly comedic; whether it be an amusing anecdote, political satire, or a simple funny picture. Anything that makes me laugh will win me over. The App (Roach) was a funny tale I could relate to (except becoming friends with the cockroach… they are the enemy!). And I loved the punny encouragements table, especially the story behind one of the punny zines, which was created to help her friend suffering with depression.
Book of punny encouragements, by Sarah Tan