Newark Zine Fest

July 25, 2020 @ 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Newark Public Library
5 Washington Street
NJ 07102
Newark Zine Fest @ Newark Public Library

Newark Zine Fest is an event for local writers and artists of all ages and backgrounds to buy, sell, trade, create, and learn about zines. The Newark Zine Fest will consist of a zine fair featuring up to 25 local zinesters and distros selling their work and zine-making workshops for all ages. Participants should bring cash if they wish to purchase zines. All zine-making materials will be provided for free to workshop participants. There will also be light refreshments provided for free throughout the day.

Where Is It?

Newark Zine Fest will be held at the Main Branch of Newark Public Library on 5 Washington Street. Specifically, the zine fair will be on the second floor in Centennial Hall and the zine workshops will be held in the first floor LGBTQ room.

When Is It?

Newark Zine Fest will be from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM on Saturday, July 25, 2020. July is National Zine Month!

What is a Zine?

Zines are small self-made booklets, usually containing original and/or remixed writing and art. Zines are typically made in a DIY (“Do It Yourself”) manner, by either hand writing text and drawing art, cutting and pasting appropriated text and art with scissors and glue, or by creating the booklet using a typewriter or computer. They are often bound with staples, glue, or thread. These are cheaply reproduced and distributed on a small scale primarily within local community networks or through independent zine distributors (called “distros”). People who make zines are called “zinesters.”

Zines are self-published and intentionally limited in distribution, rather than being mass produced. The care in making something by hand and the small circulation among members of a local region or particular community group leads the experience of reading zines to be something more intimate.

Zinesters typically view the reader as community rather than as consumers. Although readers do typically pay for zines–to cover the cost of production and the labor involved in creating the piece–most zines are made with the intention of self-expression and conversation rather than profit. In fact, zinesters often invoke Creative Commons (others can use your work but must give you authorial credit) or CopyLeft (others can use, modify, or distribute your work completely freely) rather than traditional copyright.

Academic Theories Related to Zines

In Critical Race Theory, Delgado and Stefancic write that counter-stories aim “to cast doubt on the validity of accepted premises or myths, especially ones held by the majority.” Similarly, in “Critical Race Methodology” Solórzano and Yosso define counter-storytelling as “a method of telling the stories of those whose experiences are not often told,” including people of color, LGBTQ people, and impoverished people. In enabling people to publish writing who are often prevented from doing so because of systemic forces, zines create space for narratives that are otherwise marginalized, or in some cases completely neglected, in mainstream publishing. Zines offer the chance to depart from the dominant culture’s gaze and instead invites those of a particular subculture to engage in personal discussion with each other.

Zine creation not only centers marginalized identities, perspectives, and subcultures, but also highlights their relative absence from mainstream discourse. In this way, zines are an excellent example of counter-storytelling. These texts question the possibility of objectivity within a deeply oppressive world and elevate personal narrative as a valid means of truth-telling and meaning-making.

Guzzetti and Gamboa suggest a political purpose for zines, writing that zines themselves have been “referred to as an act of civil disobedience; a tool for inspiring other forms of activism.” Indeed, for decades activists have used zine and pamphlet distribution to start conversations on social justice issues and to communicate local need within their cities and towns.

Within this context, zine creation can be a tool for community-building and social change, as well as being an outlet for personal expression and interpersonal compassion.