Monday, 25 March 2013

Review: Sheffield Zine Fest 2013

photo of Sugar Paper's stall by Emma Jane Falconer - thanks!

This is a guest post by Caitlin Gwynn.  Caitlin is a feminist zinester, co-founder of the Swansea Feminist Network, and amateur music journalist.  You can find her on Twitter at @WonderCaitlin

Last Saturday saw two fabulous zinesters, Bettie (of Buy Her Candy and Anatomical Heart) and Chella Quint (of Adventures In Menstruating) pair up to organise Sheffield Zine Fest. After a previous successful zine fest in the city back in 2011, the pair joined forces to organise their own event celebrating DIY zine culture.

Tabling at the event were our very own editor, Cath Elms, renowned zine distros Vampire Sushi and Marching Stars, as well as other names previously featured on this blog, such as Sugar Paper and Fanzine Ynfytyn. As well as old and established names, there was much on offer to discover, such as the lovingly put together Young Explorer zine written by Steve and Liz ( and the brilliant Kirsty Fife, writer of Make It Work and Hard Femme zines (she can be found at Whilst it goes without saying that the majority of the tablers were primarily zine makers, several tables dedicated themselves to selling other crafty wares. For example, the delightful table from Emily & Anne ( that had zoetropes and flipbooks for sale as well as zines, and Lolly ( who kindly brought along vegan cakes for hungry zinesters. A communal table was also available for those who wanted to leave their zines for members of the public to pick up for free.  

Along with the actual zines themselves, the organisers offered a wide range of workshops taking place throughout the day: everything from body positivity to working on a collaboration zine with Hollaback Sheffield to getting some inspiration for creating zines from Emma Jane Falconer (Emma’s own round-up of the event can be found on her blog).  Cath Elms put on a workshop discussing zines and feminism, and brought along enough materials for attendees to create their very own works of art, which they did with sheer enthusiasm. Looking at the different mini zines that each attendee created was a wonderful testament to what can be done in the zine format, as every zine created was entirely different to the next.

Looking at the actual venue itself, the Electric Works had the strong advantage of being very central to Sheffield town centre, and central to the bus / train station, handy for anyone coming from further afield. Also, more importantly, it has a helter skelter, and has the amazing honour of being Britain’s first indoor office helter skelter.

Our only complaint about the day is that four hours went surprisingly quickly! Kudos to Bettie and Chella for organising a wonderful event that celebrated the best and brightest in self-publication and supporting the clearly flourishing creative zine scene in the UK (and further afield, of course!). There was an overwhelmingly positive atmosphere at the event, and supplied a safe and positive space where all attendees were free to enjoy and support the creativity of others. We look forward to 2014 already!  


If you liked Caitlin's review, check out these other reviews of the event:

Forbidden Planet (yes, that Forbidden Planet!):

Emma Jane Falconer:

Rebecca McCormick:

Cath (STZ editor):

Jenna Lee Alldread:

Richard Bolam:

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