All for zines, zines for all! Meet the 2019 Winners of the BP Zine Awards

Official Winners of the 2019 Broken Pencil Zine Awards

Three years into the Broken Pencil Zine Awards, we can say with confidence that zines truly are the world’s greatest medium (though we knew that!).

And we do mean the whole world. Battered packages with fun-shaped stamps arrived from Mexico, Morocco, Madison, and of course, Mississauga. These zines affirmed that self-publishing does not only remain relevant for artists, writers and activists. They instead show that zines are of vital benefit to us all.

So we dug in, unpacking hard-earned insights from the likes of young mothers, sci-fi cosmonauts, feminist weed activists and Satanists. Each stalwart staple moored a project offering something unique, something to learn, something to ponder.

But rather than simply sharing what they know, the winning creators used their work to also ask the reader, too, what they might add. With such a beautiful, decentralized, chaotic ecosystem, this kind of openness to inquiry and conversation is precisely what keeps zine world thriving.

We’d like to send our deepest thanks, firstly to the Langara College Publishing Program, our national presenting sponsor, and to all of our category sponsors; To our guest judges Rasiqra Revulva, Jenn Woodall and Anand Vedawala; To our staff, students and volunteers; And finally, to everyone who entered their zine or plans to next year.

Click the cover or title of each zine to read excerpts, comments from the judges, and more about each winner. Many of these zines are also available for purchase through the BP Zine Store.

May the winners and nominees inspire!

Winners of the
Broken Pencil Zine Awards 2019


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Winners of the
Broken Pencil Zine Awards 2019


Zine of the Year 2019
& Best Perzine 2019

Proof I Exist #28
by Billy McCall
Baltimore, Maryland

With three presently ongoing series, dozens of publications to his name, and a whack of festivals and other projects under his belt, his commitment to DIY publishing is genuinely admirable.

Full disclosure, we didn’t yet know much of that about our 2019 winner when he was selected to be champ. It’s a little embarrassing to admit it now that we know what an anchor he’s been in the perzine scene. At the same time, it shows just how much there is left to discover in this weird, wiggly constellation of paper we call zine culture.

Proof I Exist #28 is damn good. Numbered text fragments summon memories, reflections and inquiries about abstinence, stigma, and the impact (and insight) McCall carries as a result of his brother’s troubled relationship with substances. It’s uncomfortable, even haunting. It’s sometimes funny, other times dreamy. It is always honest.

Category sponsored by Langara Publishing

[column size=one_half position=first ] Want to know more? Check out excerpts from Proof I Exist #28 and read an interview between Billy McCall and Broken Pencil’s Editor

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Best Artzine
Distance 33cm to Memory
Xiaoxiao Li

“This is a beautifully made zine,” says Zine Awards judge Jenn Woodall.

The project defies genres but is autobio-adjacent, chronicling Xiaoxiao Li’s life and relationship in Spring 2018. Social media screenshots and sketches are layered together with semi-opaque paper and text. With the pages ahead and the pages behind always visible, these sometimes chaotic compositions tell a story of “the complexities of sexuality, relationships, desire and optics,” adds Woodall.

Sponsored by Seneca College


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Best Comic Zine

The Purpose
by Kimberly Edgar
Dawson City, Yukon

Edgar’s protagonist is overwhelmed by a deep depression, tries to self-isolate and bumps up against (who else?) her family and friends. Edgar’s zine asks whether mental health is the responsibility of the individual or the community. How do we get better when the world around us continues to sink?

“This zine stood out to me due to the beautiful artwork and strong storytelling, as well as the message itself,” says Zine Awards judge Jenn Woodall. “Navigating the world as a person with mental illness is a difficult task, and one that often requires we take our care into our own hands and try to find how we can best heal.”

The Fanzine category is generously sponsored by Seneca College.

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 Best Fanzine

Music Men Ruined For Me
by Alison Lang
Toronto, Ontario

Has mansplaining ever ruined a song for you? An album, nay, the whole band?

It’s a bitter experience that Alison Lang knows too well. This zine compiles contributions from dozens of women, femmes and non-binary folks who have way past had enough.

The Fanzine category is generously sponsored by Kitty on Fire Records .

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Best Litzine
Stories from the Soviet Union (Extended Edition)
by Emily Fay Fin and Alec Fin
Toronto, Ontario

“As an immigrant, my dad always had wild and captivating stories to tell and I wanted to share his experience,” explains creator Emily Fay Fin.

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Best Compilation Zine

Edited by Luis R. Ruiz
Mexico City, Mexico

“I’m thankful for these queer stories and experiences from Mexico, a country the United States has violated and demonized for centuries,” reflects judge and 2018’s Best Overall Zine winner, Anand Vedawala, speaking to the winner of this category for zines which compile or anthologize a number of voices.

Deliria editor Luis R. Ruiz explains that “Mexico City is undergoing a major shift towards zine culture.” He told BP that the zine was one of a few key projects he wanted to do before confronting post-grad adulthood, and acts as a prelude to his drag debut.

Category sponsored by Seneca College

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Best Microliterary Journal


ArabLit Quarterly: The Strange
Ed. M Lynx Qualey and Hassân Almohtasib
Rabat, Morocco

The “microjournal” category is meant for pursuits that engage with the traditional lit journal model, yet remain DIY. ArabLit Quarterly is an excellent example of how collective and DIY publishing can create important platforms in any corner of the world.

“The kaleidoscope of works… are each striking in their individual depth and relative divergence,” says Zine Awards judge Rasiqra Revulva. “Visually, the issue is varied, lush, and engaging.”

“I have always loved zines, ever since the surreptitiously photocopied-at-your-dentist’s-office ones we made in the 90s. Uh, sorry Dr. Carl!” Qualey laughs when asked about the threshold genre of her sleek publication. “Thanks for keeping the light on for independent, lo-fi, lo-budget creators. It is greatly appreciated.”


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Best Political Zine

Kezan & Why They Are Bad For You
by Enas Satir
Toronto, Ontario

“The zine is remarkable for presenting Sudan’s politics in language and context that are understandable for everyone,” says judge and 2018 winner Anand Vedawala. Reflecting on Satir’s work, he says he is grateful for zines “highlighting issues we in the western hemisphere don’t pay much attention to.”

Nominated in two categories, Satir seriously impressed at this year’s Zine Awards, particularly with her vivid illustrations, which, as Vedawala describes,  serve to “enhance the political tension.” [/column] [column size=one_half position=last ]


Working on your next zine masterpiece?

Or maybe you just finished something you thought you’d never share with the world, but now…

Never made a zine, but ready to see your name in big lights copyscam letters?

You’re in luck! The BP Zine Awards 2020 opens this April.

Now get your stapler out.