One-man magazine fights Shortlist for indy award

A 21-year-old university dropout is going head-to-head with publishing veteran Mike Soutar in two categories at the Independent Publisher Awards.

Owen Hunnam is the youngest entrant to be shortlisted in any award from the Periodical Publishers’ Association, and his 15,000-circulation Sevenoaks-focused community lifestyle publication, Vine, is up against ex-IPC editorial director Soutar’s free men’s weekly, Shortlist.

Hunnam, who has a background in graphic design but no other publishing experience, said he thought his chances of beating Soutar to the best launch and individual achievement prizes were ‘so small”, but he was pleased to have been nominated.

‘It’s a pleasure to be taking on the big boys,’said Hunnam, who began developing the free Kent-based monthly title in January 2007 after dropping out of a business degree.

Homework

He launched the first edition in June last year with a £7,000 business loan, working from his bedroom in his parents’ house.

Since the magazine launched, circulation has risen from 10,000 to 15,000 and pagination has increased.

Hunnam currently oversees the editorial operation and outsources the advertising and distribution. Half of the copies are directly distributed to ABC1 homes in the Sevenoaks and the remaining 7,500 are placed in selected outlets.

Hunnam has also launched an interactive community website, which is beginning to attract advertising.

‘I think my naivety and youthful arrogance has been an advantage to me,’he said. ‘If I’d known what was in store for me there are a lot of things I wouldn’t have done. And being so young means I don’t have any commitments. It consumes my life.”

The prizes for best launch and individual achievement are just two of five that Shortlist has been nominated for in this year’s IPA awards, which take place during the PPA’s magazines conference on 6 May.

The title has been shortlisted in the consumer magazine of the year category, while Phil Hilton has been nominated for editor of the year and Matt Phare is up for the designer of the year award.

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