Interview: Swindon Zine Fest

We're super excited to be taking part in this years Swindon Zine Fest this Saturday! We talked to the organiser Julie and James! If you are in the area come along and check out everything on offer!

GC: Firstly, can you tell us a little bit about the lovely people behind Swindon Zine Fest?

SZF: The zine fest is organised by Julie Gough & James Purvis. Julie runs the Illustrated Women in History project where you can learn about women in history through both the blog & zines. James is a composer and knitter who has a keen interest in all things zine.

GC: What made you decide to create and manage your own zine festival?

SZF: We’d heard about zine fests in other towns and cities and Julie had tabled at a few including North West Zine Fest. We decided that instead of complaining that nothing ever happens in Swindon, we’d put our efforts towards making our own zine fest in the hope that we’d start to build a community around it here.

GC: I (Rozi) first heard of A Pale Landscape three years ago when I submitted to the second, submissions-only issue of Illustrated Women in History, and you seem to have been pretty busy since then! You’re now distributing other people’s zine’s - how did you come to start your own distro?

SZF: At the first Swindon Zine Fest last year we put out a call for people to send us their zines to be sold on our communal table and at the end of the event we had a bunch of them left. I’d always sort of wanted to run a distro and thought it was a perfect opportunity to do so, luckily everyone who’d sent their zines was happy for me to distribute them!

GC: If you could sum up the type of work on your communal table/distro network, what are you looking for from new faces/creators?

SZF: We are just looking for people who are making zines they’re passionate about and encourage those anyone who makes a zine to get in touch. Last year we had zines that covered topics like feminism, class, LGBTQ+ & mental health which was really great.

This year we are hoping that we’ll be able to find a space to start a Swindon Zine Library so will be looking for submissions for zines to be a part of that too!

GC: Can you give us a couple of tabling artists/creators that will be at Swindon Zine Fest that visitors must check out?

SZF: We're really excited about all our creators who are tabling so it doesn’t feel fair to pick them out! To give you a flavour though we're excited to see some of Claire O'Briens fanzines about Ron Swanson and Brooklyn 99, as well as the mental health zines by dogs not diets.

GC: What are your plans for the future? Will Swindon Zine Fest be happening next year?

SZF: We certainly hope so! One the nice things was people reached out to us this year to ask if there would be another zine fest. We feel like as long as there is demand from the community we want to keep organising it.

GC: Lastly, what is the best and most interesting zine topic you’ve ever come across?

SZF: One pick from James would be “Working Class Queers” which really helped him to figure out some of the intersections of his identity, but we think the best and most interesting zines are probably different for everyone though, so there will be lots to choose from at the zine fest.

Thanks Julie! Swindon Zine Fest is taking place on Saturday 27th July from 12-4pm at the Central Community Centre in Swindon. You can check out their website, Twitter and Instagram