The Broken Pencil Zine Awards


Celebrating international zine and self-publishing excellence

brokenpencil zine awards poster medium

Announcing the Broken Pencil Zine Awards!

Broken Pencil Magazine is excited to announce that we will be rewarding the most creative and cutting-edge zine creators with the Broken Pencil Zine Awards 2017!

For the first time ever, Canada’s magazine of zine culture and the independent arts will be accepting zine submissions from all over the world in search of the finest underground publications in a variety of genres.


We will be rewarding fabulous zinesters for their eminence in five different categories:

Political zine – zines dealing with issues of oppression, activism, organizing, political identity, intersectionality, feminism, anti-racism, queer struggles, political histories and resistance

Perzine – author series, diary zines, personal reflections & essays, thought bubbles, etc

Art/comic zine –  indie/underground comix, mini-comics, silkscreeny/risographed/special printed zines, design-oriented stuff, illustrations, photography, 3D and conceptual, artbooks etc

DIY/how-to zine – teach me to love! Or at least how to home make gummy bear molds or how to repair my bike chain. Recipes, fermentation, home mechanics, crafts, hacking, maker vibes, gardening, farming, traveling, guides, skillshares, etc!

Literary zine – poems, stories, flash fiction, serializations, chapbooks, literary experiments, post-literature, text as art and all that stuff

We wanted to acknowledge a range of zines while also comparing them to their peers, so we developed these categories.  Of course, not all zines fit in categories smoothly — some might contain elements of more than one, and some might not fit any of these at all. When it comes time to submit, please pick the closest matching category you see! We will not be adding any more categories this year.

ENTRIES may come from anywhere in the world! We will do our best to accommodate differences in language, with the understanding that our primary working language is English.


How to submit

Step 1. Pay your submission fee

In order to pay and submit your zine(s),
go to the Broken Pencil Submittable page.

Select Broken Pencil Zine Awards 2017 and select your price.  The entry fees for the BPZA go squarely to prizes, honoraria for judges, and administration.

You can submit up to three zines!

The first zine submitted has an entry fee of $20, which includes a subscription to Broken Pencil magazine (international entries will receive the digital edition of Broken Pencil)!

~ Got more than one zine? You can also add second and third submissions for $8 each. There’s a maximum of three zines per person.

~ Existing Broken Pencil Members submit their first zine for $10 and get their second and third submission FREE!

~ If the price of entry is a barrier for you, please contact about accessing a sliding scale entry fee.

You’ll be prompted to select one of the five zine categories for each purchase.

By entering the contest, entrants agree to be added to the Broken Pencil weekly email newsletter list. Entrants may unsubscribe at any time.

Step 2. Submit your zine

There are two ways to get your zine to us.

You can either send us an electronic copy by attaching a PDF to your Submittable order, or you can mail us some zines.

If you want to mail them to us, here’s what to do:

1. When you pay on our submittable page, it should generate a unique receipt.  

2. Save and print this receipt!

3.  Send this receipt along with 4 copies of your zine in the mail, addressed to

Broken Pencil Zine Awards, PO Box 203, Stn P, Toronto ON M5S2S7

Unless requested otherwise, all entries will also be considered for review and excerpt as part of Broken Pencil’s ongoing review of zines from around the world.

Step 3. Wait while judging magic occurs!

Our team of judges from across the zine creator spectrum, with support from Broken Pencil’s editorial team, will deliberate over the zines and select winners in each of the five categories. They will judge each category based on their content, form, creativity, talent, innovation and general merit.

In the case that there is one zine which clearly takes the cake, the judging panel may also decide to award one overall Zine of the Year Award to one of the category winners.

Step 4. Finalists are announced!

There will be 5 finalists in each category. Finalists will be notified by September 1st if they have been selected, and will be announced on the Broken Pencil website! Excerpts from our finalists will also be featured in the Canzine issue of Broken Pencil, released in October.


The Zine Awards will be awarded live and in person in Toronto on Friday October 20th, as part of The Canzine Festival of Zines and Underground Culture 2017. The ceremony will take place at a nearby venue that same weekend, including local entertainment and zines on hand.

We unfortunately cannot provide travel or accommodation funding for our nominees at this time.

Step 6. Grand Prize?!!

Each of the winners will receive a trophy, $200 cash, a lifetime subscription to Broken Pencil and everlasting glory! Should the judges deem one of the winning zines the Zine of the Year, the creator will win an additional $400! Winners will also be profiled in Broken Pencil Magazine and on along with excerpts from the winning zines.

Any questions or concerns can be directed to Broken Pencil’s Editor, Jonathan Valelly, by emailing him at

Amazing poster art by Rebecca Kirby!