The dreamiest zines for teens to read in quarantine

You don’t have to be a teen to read them really, we just love a rhyme.

by Roisin Lanigan
18 May 2020, 1:00pm

For many of us, ever since Miss Rona arrived on the scene, life has become significantly less hectic. Our hobbies and creative pursuits are far more important than they used to be: rather than something to squeeze in at the end of long days, they’re something to cherish, labours of love that can distract us (if only temporarily) from the sense of impending doom that’s come to define 2020. Some of us are photographing our lockdown lives, others are creating sourdough loaves and spending too much time looking after long-neglected succulents. Others are making zines. Luckily for us all, the latter is something we can all enjoy the fruits of (not that we don’t love looking at your sourdough starters and cacti on Instagram).

If you’ve managed to complete Netflix already, binged all of Normal People and used up all the plain flour in a 20 mile radius then now is the perfect time to tuck into some great zines instead. Here’s where to start with your new lockdown reading -- and writing! -- list.

Emo Diary 05
Something about being stuck inside all the time and having to chat to our friends using the internet is causing many of us to reluctantly regress to moody teenagedom. But Emo Diary 05 is revelling in that state-mandated nostalgia. Since launching back in 2018, the zine has been a treasure trove of obsessive teen standom, full of angst-filled diary entries, cherished ticket stubs and playlists full of noughties bangers. Its most recent iteration is suitably online; it’s just launched its own website, so you can get the full 00s zine experience without having to log off or get up. The site is a conclusive archive of an era that was emo’s heyday, and even features contributions from some of the genres biggest stars, including emo god himself, Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy. Someone fetch my studded belt.

The Fat Zine
Maybe you’d rather write something than read something. Maybe you’re also sick of the insidious body shaming and weight gain fear that is beginning to dominate the collective lockdown conversation. Sound about right? Introducing, The Fat Zine. Dedicated purely to celebrating fat people, and currently on the lookout for fat creatives to contribute to its first issue around the theme of “self-isolation”, the Instagram account alone is an antidote to targeted ads for weight loss products and the neverending Adele discourse that’s worn us all out already. Into it.

Also doubling down on moody loneliness in lockdown is ISOLATE ZINE, but don’t worry, it’s not as gloomy as it might first sound. Instead the photography zine’s name comes from the inspiration and creativity that isolation can inspire in photographers and creatives. Currently available for pre-order on issue one, the publication is also philanthropic in nature. All proceeds from zine sales will go to charities which support NHS workers on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic. A curation of work produced in lockdown and a result of a community of photographers coming together to support the NHS, ISOLATE ZINE is much more than a bunch of pretty pictures put together (although it is very much that too). Featuring submissions from Jordan Green, Jade Roche, Tonje Thilesen, Damien Frost and Caleb Stein among others, it’s also a snapshot of a historic, truly bizarre point in time, and explores the mental effects of quarantine. (And psst, submissions are still open!)

Wolfgang Tillmans. Warehouse Party, Brooklyn, 2015

Missing partying? Want some beautiful images to decorate your lockdown living quarters? Right this way to the aptly named Amazine 2020. Created in just under a week by Ben Kelway with works from just about every single photographer you admire -- Harley Weir, Jamie Hawkesworth, Brianna Capozzi, Durimel, David Sims, Nick Sethi… -- this zine is decidedly numerical. It costs £20, it supports 20 charities, it’s called 2020. And it was initially supposed to include 20 pages. But luckily for us, it’s now 72 pages instead. Each photographer has their own page within the mag, and the brief was open. It simply stated that the image makers had to submit something unseen or unpublished, or something new, created in isolation with limited means. The results are beautiful, and proof that there are some good and beautiful things coming out of the pandemic, if you needed a reminder (we definitely do, all the time).

emo diary