A zine is a small, independently-published magazine.
I have been making zines consistently since the early 1990s. I may be quite unusual in this respect. I have made about 40 of my own zines as well as lots of collaborations. I have lost count of my contributions to other zines. I prefer to make zines that are very cheap, sometimes I make more substantial zines, I occasionally put zine content online. I hand zines out wherever I go and have some distribution networks. I like creating text-based and narrative zines, something good to read and think about.
The most prolific queerziner of the last few years has been Charlotte Cooper, who has produced ten issues of her frequently jaw-dropping Kink and numerous autobiographical sheets. These can be sweet, filthy, unnerving, heart-warming and shocking, sometimes all at once. […] Recently – in the wake of Ladyfest – there’s been some new riot-style grrrl zines by people much too young to have been around for the first wave, but no-one’s doing anything quite like Charlotte. I want an army of Charlottes, a thousand fearless zinesters littering the streets with filth. Let’s see action!
Thigpen, H. (2008) ‘British Queer Zines’ in Bronson, A.A. and Aarons, P. (eds) Queer Zines. New York: Printed Matter, Inc. 147.
Read my zines
I have an online shop where you can buy some of the zines I have made: charlottecooper.bigcartel.com
My zines are mostly out of print, though The British Library and The Women’s Library in the UK hold full and partial sets respectively, and you can download copies of some of them from the Queer Zine Archive Project (QZAP). If you go to a zine library, a feminist library, an autonomous space, a queer archive anywhere else, it’s quite likely you will come across something I have made.
Everything I have ever made:
all right (1992)
I got into zines by writing scripts for comics, making a two-issue zine with Simon Murphy called All Right. This consisted of silly jokes that made us laugh.
Writing for other people
It took me a while to develop the confidence to make my own zines and comics, but by the mid-90s I was encouraged by Lee Kennedy, FaT GiRL, ByPass and GirlFrenzy, all of whom published my work. Later I wrote for other zines, including Unskinny Bop, Homocrime, and Size Queen. More recently I have written for Shape & Situate, Remembering Who We Are, EatMe, Homocrime and Qunst. I have been a regular contributor to Poor Lass, and have had work published in other queer feminist working class zines such as Hard Femme and Working Class Queers.
Best Friends (1993?)
My first attempt at making a comic of my own. It’s all about some of the intense friendships I had when I was a kid. I ripped-off the folded A3 format from Girly, a publication produced by Simon Murphy also known then as Mona Compleine.
I produced ten issues of Kink. It started out as a queer grrrl sex zine, and ended up as a repository for odd little pieces of writing that I was doing. Again it used the trusty folded A3 format and was given away for free.
Story Zines (1997-present)
This was a series of simple, one-off stories about things that interest me. Again folded A3 and free. Some are autobiographical, others are not. The main series ran January 1997 – October 2002 but I also published Recycled in 2010 and Poly in 2011, Report in 2012, and will probably continue from time to time. The full list, alphabetically: Beefer, Dad, Dead, Dumb, Found, Fuck, Junk, Love, Norge, Nut, Play, Poly, Report, Scott, Sing, Spa, Spice, Stratford, Teeth, Versace, Village and Womyn. Parts of Village were included in Jason Barker’s 1999 film Subterranean Homesick Blues, in which I appeared.
Very small folded A4 zines.
- Bad Poetry for Pro-Lifers (2013) A zine about anti-abortion crusades and non-violent resistance.
- Homophobic Cat (2013) A little comic made with Kay Hyatt.
- Fat Stuff (2006) A zine to protest my college’s Obesity Awareness Week.
- any woman can be a lesbian (2005) and You Are A Lucky Man (2006) Zines to accompany performances.
- Safety Pinz (2002) A zine made to go with a fancy dress outfit.
- Cakey (2002) The cakes of Naples.
Collectively made one-offs.
- Lost (2003) A zine made with a workshop of students at Leeds University
- We Are The Charlotte Cooper (2007) About a bunch of gals who share the same name.
- Things That Help Us Feel Good (2007) In August 2007 I devised and facilitated a workshop about bodies with 13 and 14 year old girls for The Wellcome Institute.
- Working With Transgender Clients (2007) A zine by and for trans people and therapists/counsellors.
- Big Bums (2008) Bill Savage, Kay Hyatt, Simon Murphy and I made a fat zine, partially-funded by a grant from NOLOSE.
- You’re Not My Dad! (2016-2017), a collaborative zine with Simon Murphy about autistic culture in the UK. It was a paper zine but we also made digital copies:
You’re Not My Dad! 1 November 2016 (.pdf, 5.2mb)
You’re Not My Dad! 2 March 2017 (.pdf, 5.5mb)
You’re Not My Dad! 3 July 2017 (.pdf, 7.6mb)
You’re Not My Dad! 4 October 2017 (.pdf, 6.1mb)
Higher page-count and production values, funded or sold.
A Queer and Trans Fat Activist Timeline (2011), find out more about this project.
How to Get Shit Done (2013), a zine for the avoiders and procrastinators, the non-finishers, the inert, the moribund, and the people who dwell on fear and anxiety.
Fat Activist Vernacular (2016), a hefty zine, a list of words and definitions from a subversive point of view. An invitation for others to see the world through the eyes of fat people.
Encounters with Nature (2016), an autobiographical zine with stories told through my otherwordly encounters with creatures.