Uncertain future for Fanzine Awards

The future of Emap’s fanzine awards was left in doubt this week with no decision as to this year’s or further ceremonies.

The awards, which usually take place in the first three months of the year, celebrate the best in underground publishing and were previously billed as showcasing "the talent of the future", but there is speculation that the awards have been pulled due to budget constraints.

At last year’s awards ceremony, editor- in-chief of Emap Consumer Media and chairman of judges, Barry McIlheney, described the awards as "a key part of Emap’s search for, and celebration of, great new editorial talent — part of our quest to find people who are as mad about magazines as we are".

Robert Nichols, editor of last year’s overall winning zine, Fly Me to the Moon, dedicated to Middlesbrough Football Club, said that winning the award was "one of the highlights of my life". He said: "Fanzines are all about enthusiasm and enthusiasts — we often exist in our own small corners of the world, so for a massive magazine and publishing company to come along and think it worthwhile holding awards for us means a great deal."

He added that although "the offers haven’t come flooding in", if the awards were to be cancelled, it would be "disappointing that no one will receive the encouragement".

Craig Robinson’s "mini pops" pixellated artwork had already been used by The Observer to advertise its monthly music magazine when he won a fanzine award for his site www.flipflopflyin.com in 2005. He said the awards didn’t make "a significant amount of difference".

Karen Lubbock won the lifestyle category with her A3 fashion zine, Karen, last year. She has self-financed a second issue, due out in March, and secured a national and international distribution deal.

A spokesperson for Emap said the company was "looking at developing the format into a broader initiative".

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