In anticipation of the launching of the 2018 Broken Pencil Zine Awards, we will be presenting you with a look back at the 2017 winners. And now the winner in the Best Perzine category
You Still Need a Coffin
Shivaun Hoad (Toronto, ON)
The perzine is a special genre, sometimes hard to nail down. Some of the world’s most famous zines, like Doris and Cometbus, could be considered perzines, a series of personal writings from the same creator. But really any confessional, personal, individual story might count itself in this category. Indeed, our submissions ran the gamut, and we were delighted to award the Best Perzine trophy to this pocket zine guide on the strange logistics of death or, perhaps, surviving, by Shivaun Hoad.
“A few years ago, my uncle died suddenly of a heart attack. I was the only family member in town, and had to notify everyone else, arrange his cremation, etc.” Hoad explains. “The whole experience sucked, but I ended up with some knowledge that was inevitably going to be useful again, and I wanted to share it… I realized there was also a weird story about my uncle and our family in the midst of all the bare facts.”
You Still Need a Coffin may be Hoad’s first zine, but it certainly steps up to fill its purpose magnificently. It’s a blend of personal reflection and story with tips for taking care of the practical business of death, including the weird euphemisms people in the business use, organ donations, scattering ashes… Everything. It even unfolds to offer you a very clear checklist of what to do and a list of online resources that can help you get them done.
“Since it was a more personal story than I’d done before, I wanted to do every aspect myself. (Yes, I did use MS Paint),” Hoad reflects. “I decided to write You Still Need A Coffin as a zine with a double-sided layout so the story and the advice would each be included, but read separately. Cutting and folding each copy felt more intimate compared to other publishing I’ve done, which suited a story where I was spilling a fam ily secret.”
It just goes to show that all zines have the potential to be great and that binaries like simple and complex, long and short, practical and personal, are all meant to be busted open.
PERZINE RUNNERS UP
The Chloe Show // By Chloe Rees (Queens, New York)
Forest City // By Rin Vanderhaeghe (London, Ontario)
They’d Come to Me at Night //By Vincy Lim (Markham, Ontario)
Shortandqueer #18: Time to get this off my chest // By Kelly Shortandqueer (Denver, Colorado)
dirges // By John Spurzine (Victoria, Australia)