Self-publishers have been in the spotlight these last few months, from the annual Chicago Zine Fest to the University of Chicago’s D.I.Y. Autobiography exhibition. This weekend, the Caxton Club and the Newberry Library continue to shine a bright light with their Symposium on the Book, Outsiders: Zines, Samizdat, & Alternative Publishing, co-sponsored by the Bibliographical Society of America. “The theme of this year's symposium was picked from many offered by the committee,” says Thomas Swanstrom, chairman of the Caxton Club Symposium Committee. “We were impressed with the fact that self-publishing, zines, and samizdat were among the few growth areas in the print world.” Scheduled programming is aimed at those new and those already familiar to the idea of self-publishing alike.
“By calling attention to self-publishing, the symposium should stimulate interest among club members and the many others we hope to draw to the event,” says Swanstrom. The symposium highlights self-produced books, pamphlets, and samizdat (self-publishing predominant in Russia) covering the past and present state of self-publishing. Speakers will address how self-publishing efforts were widely used in various regions throughout history to express individual voices. The historic path of zines and self-published books will be covered in the morning discussion with Lisa Gitelman from New York University and Ann Komaromi from the University of Toronto.
Early methods of printing have survived and evolved through the years, a notable feat in our modern technological age. “Self-publishing is a definite growth area as book sellers become more demanding and individuals who want their voices heard migrate back from the internet,” says Swanstrom. This fact is celebrated in the afternoon panel, “Self-Publishing as an Alternative Strategy.” The moderator, Alice Schreyer from University of Chicago Library is joined by panelists Jenna Freedman, curator of the Barnard Zine Library; Davida G. Breier of the zines Xerography Debt and Rigor Mortis; printmaker and book artist Johanna Drucker; and Anne Elizabeth Moore, local self-publisher and zinester.
Every aspect of the symposium supports the self-publishing community. Quimby’s bookstore, Chicago’s home for zines and self-published work, will be on hand selling publications. The symposium artwork was printed by Issue Press a Grand Rapids based independent publishing house.
The symposium will take place at the Newberry Library at 60 West Walton St. from 8:30am-1:30pm on Saturday, April 6 (with free coffee service in the morning!). The panels are free and open to the public.
Filed under: Uncategorized