Meet our next five COVID zine micro-grant recipients

Note that we are making our selections in batches. Our selections do not necessarily reflect the order of applicants. Applicants who haven’t heard back, you may still be selected even if you are not listed here. All applicants will be contacted by May 15 at the latest regarding the status of their application.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to expand mercilessly, with many of its painful reverberations still to be seen. Its awful impact on the health and stability of the zine and independent artist community is already remarkable.

That’s why Broken Pencil launched the COVID  Zine Micro Grant mere weeks ago, with the idea that putting even a little money in the pockets of zinesters might make a big difference right now, and would support self-publishing work that will document these strange times.

So we asked our community and supporters to match our original donation of $1,600, aiming to deliver eight micro-grants to the tune of $400. Within a couple weeks, we were amazed to find that more than $4,000 was raised on GoFundMe. That money, plus $2,000 from BP, allows us to offer $400 grants to 15 creators! Thank you to everyone who has donated and spread the word, seriously.

Get to know the second batch of artists who’ve been selected to receive the COVID Micro Grant below (you can check out our first five here). We’ll be unrolling the final list recipients this week.


Stay safe and healthy, everyone. We’re thinking of you.

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Lee LaiSarah Mangle • Montreal, ON



This pair of creators each had long histories in the zine and comics scene, but only recently became friends during COVID-19! Ah, the power of the zine. They decided to work on a split comic zine together where they interview each other and respond through images.

Lee Lai has been involved in the comics and zine-making community for about a decade now. In Melbourne (Australia), that revolved around the infamous Sticky Institute, the annual Festival of the Photocopier, and the Other Worlds zine fair. Since Lee Lai has been in North America, it’s looked more like TCAF every May, Queer Between the Covers in Montreal, and collaborating with writers and poets in the queer scene in Montreal to make short print runs as much as can be afforded to. Lee Lai’s personal comics work has moved away from zine-making and into books (mostly out of financial necessity) in the past few years, but staples and saddle-stitching will always have Lee Lai’s heart.
Sarah Mangle has been active in zine-making and distroing since 2000. She started by making the 13 issue serial zine Squirrel Grrl that was distributed in zine fairs and distrobotos. Sarah’s additional zine work includes illustrating the Queer sex-ed zine, QueerSafe, creating the zine Tourists of the Heart, which tells the social history of the Anchor Archive Zine Project (based in Halifax) and Our Date with Alison Bechdel a collaboration with Tara Michelle Ziniuk among other projects. Sarah is the co-founder of the Walking Distance Distro, a St. Henri-based local monthly zine distribution service that began in the mid-2000s. Sarah currently runs a zine distro at Depanneur Le Pick Up in Montreal that focuses on distributing work about queerness, disability justice, transness, radicalization and Indigenous stories, prioritizing high quality and experimental work. Sarah’s work currently focuses on deeply stories related to her relationships, anxiety, and learning. She’s also working on a long-form interview zine about divorce.

Image of CORONA DIARY: Limited Edition ZineReuben Radding • Brooklyn, NY

Stationed at the epicenter of COVID-19, Brooklyn photographer Reuben Radding has been documenting the virus’s impact in New York since March 14, 2020. It’ll all be compiled in his upcoming zine, Corona Diary, a thicker photo zine. He published two other photo zines last year, OFF TOPIC and OFF TOPIC 2.

golden (diasporan savant press)Philadelphia, PA

golden is a facilitator and multidisciplinary artist living in Philadelphia, PA.

“A double virgo, I deeply enjoy supporting my communities through creative and organizational work. When I’m not making zines, I love dancing, gardening, keeping bees, libraries, and learning/connecting all kinds of new skills!

“My press, diasporan savant press, is a snug incubator for print works exploring issues relevant to marginalized members of the African diaspora, including (but by no means limited to) folks in recovery, folks of size, tgnc folks, queer folks, disabled folks, working-class folks, poly folks, children and youth, and elders. I travel with my press all over the country and world, spreading love and knowledge ^_^ and my zines are in the collections of University of Texas, NYU, UCLA, Reed College, Smith College, University of Illinois, and in several fun retail spots like Quimby’s Chicago and Bluestockings NYC.

“I am currently working on a ton of new zines, including a compilation of interviews with Black Nonbinary people from around the world, a workbook for the end of relationships, a strengths-based 30-day self-appreciation journal, and an assertiveness script practice zine.”


i’m a queer disabled zinester. just living my weird life with my cat, abby.i have been doing no gods no mattress for over ten years! and a couple other zines, too. i have done zine workshops in the bay area, chico, and prague. i started dear diary zine fest with some lovely friends in 2018 :). then i moved to the north valley, but i still organize with DDZF and go down to the bay for promotion and events.

no gods no mattress has been a therapeutic for myself and others. it is a deeply personal zine that folds into my life: travel, trauma, humor, bitterness, growth and feeling stuck. everything. for the past few years, issues of my zine have run between 60 and 110 A4 pages. mostly text, with some doodles and found art. all made by hand. type written, cut and pasted, photocopied.




I am a queer femme first-generation Lebanese-Canadian artist, writer, and organizer. I am passionate about collaboration and skills-sharing as tools of community-building and resistance! Broken Pencil‘s Canzine was the first zine fair I ever attended and became inspired to make my own zines.

The first zine I made was about my experience with queer femme identity and I distributed it through a local distro. Now I am co-creator of zines Carnation (with art and writing addressing displacement and diaspora) and Whiny Femmes (with art and writing by queer femmes of all genders) — two submission-based art and writing zines created collaboratively with other editors. Carnation Vol 2 (Pleasure) currently has a call for submissions and will be published in the Fall.

With this extra time because of COVID-19, I have began to create my own zine again, single-authored, which I have not attempted since the very first zine I created! For many years, I have centred my arts practice around my experience of Arab culture, intergenerational inheritance, food, and sexuality. I write essays and poems and create visual and performance works related to food. My food column “Feeding Diaspora” published at the Uniter houses many of these writings. My new zine will include writings on food, recent visual works, recipes, and poems. My long term goal is to publish a memoir cookbook, and since I am zine-maker, creating a zine will be a good step in starting to piece together all that I’ve been working on.

Winnipeg is a small city with not much of a zine hub right now, although there are a few zine makers. I have been disappointed about Canzine’s inability to host a zine fair in Winnipeg in some time, so I created Lippy Mart — a new zine and maker’s mart pop-up. The first event was set to take place April 5, 2020, and it had to be cancelled because of COVID-19. As the sole organizer, this has added tremendous labour since I had already secured a venue, worked on marketing, solicited vendors, and planned the whole event. My only payment for this was going to be portion of the tabling fee after paying expenses. The event has been postponed until further notice, but I am hopeful about Lippy Mart’s presence in the future because I want to nourish a local zine culture in my city. (Both images by Nawal Asagher)