Enter the Broken Pencil Zine Awards

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The Broken Pencil Zine Awards: Celebrating international zine and self-publishing excellence since 2017.

Since its inception in 2017, the goal of the Zine Awards has been to honour outstanding work coming out of the ever-expanding zine universe, and to acknowledge the talent and hard work of emerging, established and experimental self-publishers for their contributions to zine culture.

Winners in each category will receive:

  • A BP Zine Awards trophy
  • $100 for each category winner
  • Best Overall Zine gets an additional $400
  • Zine awards stickers to put on their zine indicating they are a winner (category finalists get stickers too!)
  • Winning creators will also be profiled in Broken Pencil Magazine and on brokenpencil.com, along with excerpts from their winning zines. 
  • Winning zines and nominees are sold on the Broken Pencil Zine Store, which we exhibit, bundle and sell on their behalf at zine fairs, stores and libraries.

How to Enter the Zine Awards

Please read these instructions carefully and send any and all questions to [email protected]. You may also want to scope out our Frequently Asked Questions page.

Step 1. Submit your zine(s) through Submittable

If the price of entry is a barrier for you, please contact [email protected] about accessing a sliding scale entry fee.

Step 2. Send the zines

The most important part — the zines! The Submitable form will prompt you to upload the PDF version(s) of your zine entry. You cannot enter without submitting a PDF. After entering your PDF, you also have the option to send in a physical copy of the zine for the judges. This is encouraged!

 Mail us physical copies of your zines. Please try to send two copies of each entry, one for BP and one for the guest judge. Three is even better if you can spare it. Unfortunately we can’t arrange to send back zines after the Zine Awards.

>>> To mail your zine to us:

1. When you enter on our Submittable page, it should generate a unique receipt.
2. Save and print this receipt! Or write down the number in a pinch.
3. Send a copy of the receipt along with two (2) copies of each zine submission(s) in the mail. We have a Canadian and an American address:

Broken Pencil Zine Awards
PO Box 203, Stn P
Toronto ON
Note: Please use Canada Post to mail to our Canada address.

United States Postal Service:
Broken Pencil Zine Awards
Gutter Pop Comics
1421 Hertel Ave
Buffalo, NY
14216 USA

Note that we are only able to access our US mail every 4-6 weeks, but we make sure to retrieve all zine awards entries in time.

Unless requested otherwise, all entries will also be considered for review and possibly excerpted in the magazine as part of Broken Pencil’s ongoing reviews of zines from around the world. Let us know if you’d rather we don’t!

The deadline means you must have registered your zine and paid through Submittable by that date. Please mail your zine as soon as possible after registration, as we need to receive it within two weeks of the deadline to give time to the judging process.

Step 3. Wait while judging magic occurs!

Our team of judges bring experience and expertise from all corners of the zine creator spectrum. With support from Broken Pencil’s editorial team, all zines will be read by at least three people.

We’ll work collaboratively to select winners in each of the categories. Zines will be judged against other zines in their category based on their content, form, creativity, talent, innovation, gutsiness, and general merit.

The judging panel may also decide to award one Overall Zine of the Year Award to grant one of the category winners.

Step 4. Did you make the short list? Congratulations!

There will be 5-8 nominees/finalists in each category. Finalists will be notified in late Fall if they have been selected, and the lineups will also be announced on the Broken Pencil website. Expect to hear from us via email about coming to the ceremony, distro-ing your work through our zine store, and spreading the good news.

Step 5. The Zine Awards Ceremony

The Zine Awards are awarded live and in person in January 2023. The ceremony will also be online and available to all via a link. We unfortunately cannot provide travel or accommodation funding for our nominees at this time. However if you plan to come and accept your award in person, we can offer you a complimentary exhibitor table, hype up your appearance, give you some time to present at the Awards Ceremony, help sell your wares and generally help you out. So let us know if you are coming!

Step 6. Grand Prize?!!

Each of the winners will receive a trophy, $100 cash, stickers to put on their zine indicating they are a winner and more. Should the judges deem one of the winning zines the Zine of the Year, the creator will win an additional $400.

Winners will also be interviewed and profiled in Broken Pencil Magazine and on brokenpencil.com, along with excerpts from the winning zines. Should you wish to participate, winners and nominees will also be sold on the BP online store, sold at special displays at zine fairs and stores, and presented at special displays at libraries.

Awards & Categories

 Of course, not all zines fit in categories smoothly — some might contain elements of more than one, and some might not fit any of these at all. When submitting, please pick the closest matching category you see! 

Awards will be granted for the following categories:

Perzine: Personal zines, zines about their creator’s lives and thoughts. Diary zines, personal reflections & essays, thought bubbles, life updates, mental health journaling, personal news, train of thought etc.

Comic zines: Illustrated, sequential storytelling. We do not accept bound books into this category. These are strickly zines.

Fanzines: Genre, film, TV, celebrity or subculture fanzines. Pop culture commentary, anime tributes, fanfic, concerts, reviews, punk scene, music history, record reviews, tour diaries, horror, sci-fi, criticism, fantasy, local scenes, anything music or entertainment focused.

Info Zines: Zines full of facts, history, science, culture, data, traditions, knowledge drops, documentary, deep dives, research; How-to zines, guidebooks, primers, 101, DIY, re-use, hobbies, shop talk.

Political Zines: Zines dealing with issues of oppression, activism, labour, organizing, protest, political identity, the Man, intersectionality, freedom, democracy, voting, feminism, anti-racism, queer struggles, political histories, street action, people’s defense, and resistance.

Artzines: Art by you, art by others. Experimental formats welcome.

Litzines: Creative writing zines, poetry, stories, flash fiction, genre, novellas, plays, novel serializations. Journals, chapbooks, micro-press.

Any questions or concerns can be directed to [email protected]

Help promote the zine awards!

Share this page! Posters and digital assets in a range of sizes will soon be available as well.

If you’d like a stack of postcards for your zine library, zine fair, small press shop or other establishments, email [email protected] and we’ll coordinate to get you some.