The 2017 Stack Awards were dished out in London last evening. I hadn’t attended previously but this third occasion was described by host and Stack MD Steven Watson as the largest scale event yet – an upsized venue (The Queen of Hoxton), a much increased attendance (more than 200 magazine-makers, generously plied with complimentary refreshments, at least until I left) and, most significantly, a record number of entries across the award’s eleven categories.
In fact the star prize, Magazine of the Year, attracted 107 entries. This is great news and, as category co-judge and, as magazine guru Jeremy Leslie observed in presenting the award, it’s remarkable that so many publishers are confident enough to pitch for the big prize. In case you weren’t aware, this year the bonkers genius of Buffalo Zine was rewarded for their fifth issue. The innovative US mental health magazine Anxy picked a couple of awards and last year’s overall winner, the peerless MacGuffin, also grabbed two more trophies for their mantlepiece, which clearly will need extending at this rate. Here's the rundown of winners:
Subscriber's Choice: Anxy
Student Magazine of the Year: Crumble
Best Original Non-Fiction: Rouleur
Best Original Fiction: Harvard Design Journal
Best Use of Illustration: Weapons of Reason
Best Use of Photography: Four & Sons
Cover of the Year: Eye
Magazine Art Director of the Year: MacGuffin
Editor of the Year: Macguffin
Launch of the Year: Anxy
Magazine of the Year: Buffalo Zine
Steven is a genuine hero for developing this idea, which oddly remains the only popular recognition of achievement in indie magazine publishing. He’s gathered substantial, clued-in sponsorship and provided some necessary focus for the great work that’s coming at us from all over the world at the moment. It’s something around which a movement (for want of a better word) can coalesce. The Subscriber's Choice category of the awards, voted by users of Stack's own subscription service, seems to me an important, inclusive idea because even in the indie sector things can become a little inward-looking. Without you, the people who buy magazines, we would all have nothing.