Off the Page appears regularly on the Magazine Awards blog. Today we catch up with Mark Reid, editor of Canada’s History, winner of the 2012 National Magazine Award for Words & Pictures.
NMAF: Canada’s History (formerly known as The Beaver) is one of this country’s oldest publications, six years away from its centennial. What do you consider the mandate of the magazine to be, and has this changed much in the past 94 years?
Mark: The mandate is to turn as many Canadians as possible on to their history, and to convince them that our stories are as interesting, entertaining and engaging as any other nation’s. This mandate has changed immensely over the years. In 1920, the magazine began as an in-house newsletter for the Hudson’s Bay Company. As years passed and the fur trade died, the magazine became more of a nostalgia magazine for the “days of yore” on the trap lines, telling stories of the Far North. By the in the 1980s, it had changed focus again, becoming increasingly a “history magazine.” And in 2010, we changed the name to reflect our current focus, going from “The Beaver” to “Canada’s History.”
NMAF: At last year’s National Magazine Awards Canada’s History won Gold in the category Words & Pictures, for “On Thin Ice,” an illustrated memoir of the 1972 Summit Series by Terry Mosher (a.k.a. Aislin), who covered the iconic event as a young political cartoonist. As an editor, what attracted you to this story? And what was the significance for you to have it win a National Magazine Award?
Mark: The ’72 Summit Series is a touchstone moment in our collective cultural history. This Cold War moment is one of a handful of “where were you when” turning points for a generation of Canadians. When I learned that Terry Mosher had travelled to Russia to cover the event as a cartoonist, I knew that we needed to share his story with our wider audience of history lovers.
I asked Terry to colourize the original cartoons he produced in 1972, and share the behind the scenes tales that inspired them. After viewing them, I realized that one cartoon was missing from the story – an image of Paul Henderson scoring the winning goal. Terry’s final cartoon, with Paul Henderson memorialized on a Canadian version of Mount Rushmore, was perfect.
The Canada’s History team was collectively thrilled to work with Terry’s fantastic art, and to share his story with Canadians. For the package to win a National Magazine Award was just icing on the cake — an exciting endorsement from our peers that we received with gratitude, and that we dedicate to everyone with a passion for the past.
NMAF: You recently launched a micro-site called Destinations. How did this project come about, and what do you hope to achieve?
Mark: While Canada’s History is our flagship magazine, our History Society is engaged in myriad programs. Canada’s History Society is a small Winnipeg-based non-profit that also produces a kid’s history magazine, and runs a host of awards and educational programs for students, teachers and community groups.
Our Destinations site is the latest attempt to reach a new audience of history lovers, in this case, history lovers who combine this passion with travel. Our hope is to work with museums, archives, and tourist sites to help them share their stories with a wider audience. It’s all part of our multipronged approach to encouraging and strengthening interest in our collective past.
NMAF: 2014 figures to be a big year for Canada’s History, with the hundredth anniversary of the start of World War I on the minds of many Canadians. What do you think is the significance of this milestone for Canada, and can you tell us a bit about how the magazine will be covering the anniversary?
Mark: The start of WWI is certainly a huge part of our publishing plans. Our key publication will be a coffee-table book on the subject, titled Canada’s Great War Album. It will be published by HarperCollins Canada, and features essays on all aspects of the war by the country’s top historians and writers, along with photos and artifacts relating to the war that have been sent to us by our readers.
Our goal is to commemorate the courageous men, women and children who lived, loved, fought, served and sacrificed during that difficult time. It will be available for sale in the fall of 2014. On the magazine side, we are also working on a special package of articles that will examine not only WWI, but also WWII, which will mark the 75th anniversary of its start in September 2014. It’s an exciting time to be publishing history, and we look forward to bringing Canadians many more great articles and publications in the months and years to come.
Mark Reid is the editor-in-chief of Canada’s History magazine, published by the History Society in Winnipeg, which also publishes Kayak: Canada’s History Magazine for Kids. Follow them on Twitter @CanadasHistory and @MarkReidEditor.
More Off the Page interviews with NMA winners
Canada’s History in the National Magazine Awards archive
Submissions for the 37th National Magazine Awards
Images courtesy CanadasHistory.ca and National Magazine Awards Foundation.
Friday, January 10, is the early-bird deadline day for National Magazine Awards submissions.
This means that in order to submit at the discounted rate of $95* for most entries, you need to complete the online registration of all of your submissions (including uploading a PDF of each entry), and either pay by credit card (via Paypal) or select the option to pay by cheque and receive your invoice by email.
You do NOT have to submit the cheque, nor submit required hard copies, by Friday, January 10, in order to receive the early-bird rate.
All required tear sheets, photocopies and entry forms must be received (not just postmarked) by 5pm EST on Wednesday, January 15. Cheques not accompanying entries must be received by January 24 or entries may be disqualified.
If you enter some submissions before the early-bird deadline and some after:
- You will be charged the early-bird rate for entries submitted online by midnight EST Jan 10;
- You will be charged the regular rate for entries submitted online between Jan 11-15;
- All required tear sheets, photocopies and forms must be received in our office by 5pm EST on Jan 15.
Make your cheques payable to: National Magazine Awards Foundation
- All Categories
- Magazine of the Year
- Best New Magazine Writer
- Best New Illustrator or Photographer
- Guide to Entering Digital Content
When you’re sending in your hard copies–after you complete the online registration–be sure to note our new address:
National Magazine Awards Foundation
2300 Yonge Street, Suite 1600,
Toronto, ON, M4P 1E4
* Plus HST. Certain full-book categories have an early-bird fee of $150. The regular entry fee (between Jan 11-15) is $120/$175. For Best New Magazine Writer and Best New Illustrator or Photographer the entry fee is $25 through January 15.
For the 2013 National Magazine Awards, original content published in a magazine tablet edition or on a magazine website (companion site of a print title or an online-only magazine) is eligible in most written, visual and integrated categories. Check out the digital magazine section of our FAQ for more information.
There are also 5 categories, generously supported by the Government of Canada, which are open specifically to digital content in Canadian magazines:
TABLET MAGAZINE OF THE YEAR
Open to: Any single issue of a Canadian tablet magazine published in 2013.
Criteria: The award for Tablet Magazine of the Year will go to a single issue of a Tablet Magazine that successfully fulfills its editorial mission by representing the highest journalistic standards and effectively serving its intended audience by maximizing the possibilities afforded by the medium of tablet publishing.
Entry Fee: $150 (early-bird by Jan 10); $175 (regular by Jan 15)
Meet last year’s finalists
Last year’s winner: Canadian House & Home
MAGAZINE WEBSITE OF THE YEAR
Open to: Any Canadian online-only magazine or companion website of a print title.
Criteria: The award for Magazine Website of the Year will go to a magazine website (either a companion site or an online-only magazine) that successfully fulfills its editorial mission by representing the highest journalistic standards and effectively serving its intended audience by maximizing the possibilities afforded by the medium of web-based publishing.
Entry Fee: $150 (early-bird by Jan 10); $175 (regular by Jan 15)
Meet last year’s finalists
Last year’s winner: Hazlitt
EDITORIAL PACKAGE – WEB
Open to: Any original package of related or thematic editorial content produced by a Magazine Website.
Criteria: Maximizes the potential of web-based publishing and reflects collaboration by editors and content creators. Elements may include but are not limited to web design, written content, blogs, video, photography, infographics, illustration, social media and user-generated content.
Entry Fee: $95 (early-bird by Jan 10); $120 (regular by Jan 15)
Last year’s winner: The Grid (“Are you going to eat that?“)
Open to: A single video produced by a Magazine Website or Tablet Magazine.
Criteria: Eligible content must have been published during 2013, be clearly relevant to the magazine’s editorial mandate, and be part of an editorial process.
Entry Fee: $95 (early-bird by Jan 10); $120 (regular by Jan 15)
Meet last year’s finalists
Last year’s winner: Hazlitt (“Pagelicker 01: Irvine Welsh“)
Open to: A regular series of original written content by one or more authors produced by a Magazine Website that has a recognizable unifying voice or theme.
Criteria: Eligible content must have been published during 2013, be clearly relevant to the Magazine Website’s editorial mandate, and be part of an editorial process. Entrants must submit the blog’s main URL and then up to 3 sub-URLs linking specific content for the jury’s attention. The jury will be instructed to review the provided URLs as well as navigate other areas of the site, though only written content is evaluated.
Entry Fee: $95 (early-bird by Jan 10); $120 (regular by Jan 15)
Last year’s winner: Science-ish (Maclean’s)
Read our interview with last year’s winning blogger Julia Belluz
Finally, the category Magazine Website Design is open to submissions from all eligible companion sites and online-only magazines. This award goes to a magazine website with the most successful and original overall combination of visual and graphic design elements with functionality and user experience, including ease of navigation, readability of content, successful integration of audio/visual elements and a clear distinction between paid content/advertising and editorial content. More info.
The 2013 National Magazine Awards are now open for submissions at magazine-awards.com. The deadline for all entries is January 15. Enter by the early-bird deadline of January 10 and save.
The National Magazine Awards Foundation acknowledges the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Periodical Fund of the Department of Canadian Heritage.
La série Off the Page paraîtra périodiquement dans notre blogue. Cette semaine, nous découvrons quoi de neuf avec l’illustratrice Isabelle Arsenault, lauréate de 2 Prix du magazine canadien et de 2 Prix littéraires du Gouverneur général.
FNPMC: Nous vous félicitons de gagner récemment votre deuxième Prix littéraire du Gouverneur général (illustrations, jeunesse, français). Votre livre, Jane, le renard et moi, écrit par Fanny Britt, raconte l’histoire d’Hélène, une jeune fille qui fait l’objet d’intimidation par ses condisciples, se sent inférieure et dont le seul plaisir est de lire Jane Eyre. En quoi cette histoire a-t-elle une résonance chez vous, et comment avez-vous créé l’image d’Hélène?
Isabelle : Le personnage d’Hélène est une jeune fille discrète qui se retrouve sans amies à un âge où l’appartenance à un groupe prend de l’importance. Sans avoir été moi-même victime d’intimidation, je me suis inspirée de souvenirs de ma propre jeunesse, de scènes dont j’ai été témoin et d’impressions que ces souvenirs m’ont laissé.
J’ai décidé de représenter Hélène comme étant une fille sans style particulier, plutôt neutre et effacée à laquelle le lecteur puisse facilement s’identifier.
FNPMC : Plus tôt l’année 2013, vous avez remporté un Prix du magazine canadien, votre deuxième, pour une série d’illustrations dans Québec Science, dans le cadre d’un article intitulé « Organes recherchés ». Quel processus créatif utilisez-vous lorsque vous illustrez un article de magazine? Puisez-vous votre inspiration exclusivement du texte, ou d’autres sources?
Isabelle : Je puise mon inspiration dans une variété de sources; livres, magazines, internet, nature, etc. J’aime bien lire le texte à illustrer plusieurs fois afin de bien m’en imprégner, pour ensuite faire quelque chose de complètement différent comme prendre une marche, faire du ménage, une sieste, du yoga.
Ça m’aide à m’aérer l’esprit et à laisser entrer les idées.
FNPMC : De quelle façon le fait de remporter un Prix du magazine canadien, ou un Prix du Gouverneur général, comme vous l’avez fait l’année dernière pour Virginia Wolf, a-t-il contribué à l’avancement de votre carrière en illustration, ou a-t-il été une source d’inspiration pour cette carrière?
Isabelle : Les prix sont une forme de reconnaissance qu’il est toujours apprécié de recevoir. Pour ma part, je travaille de façon plutôt solitaire et ce, particulièrement lorsque je planche sur un projet de livre. Recevoir ce genre d’honneurs me donne l’impression d’aller dans la bonne direction et m’encourage à continuer, à me dépasser, en plus d’être une belle carte de visite.
Isabelle Arsenault est une illustratrice canadienne lauréate dont le travail a été publié dans Québec Science, L’actualité, Explore et d’autres magazines, ainsi que dans 10 livres. Son livre le plus récent est Once Upon a Northern Night, une méditation poétique sur l’hiver. Découvrir plus au isabellearsenault.com.
Plus Off the Page
Inscriptions pour les 2013 Prix du magazine canadien (date limite 15 janvier)
The National Magazine Awards Foundation wishes you a happy holiday season. Don’t forget to enter your submissions for the 2013 National Magazine Awards. Please note that, while our office is closed until January 2, you may still submit the online submissions registration during the holidays. The final deadline for entries, including all required hard copies, is January 15.
The National Magazine Awards Foundation (NMAF) is now accepting applications for two (2) paid Administrative Internship positions for the National Magazine Awards (NMAs) and the Kenneth R. Wilson Awards (KRWs) in Toronto for Winter/Spring 2014.
Contract Duration: January 20, 2014—June 30, 2014; 15 hrs/week on average.
Description: The successful candidates will be reporting to and working in consultation with the NMAF/KRW Communications Coordinator and Special Projects Manager and specifically will:
- Assist with the day-to-day operations of the NMAF/KRW office, including support for the submissions process, judging process, and awards production;
- Handle some of the office-related communications and outreach with the Canadian magazine industry in both English and French—including but not limited to initiating and responding to phone calls and general email;
- Assist with the research and production of content for the NMAF blog (blog.magazine-awards.com);
- Copy edit and fact-check NMAF/KRW communications materials and publications, including newsletters, press releases, website copy, gala programs and related material;
- Assist with ongoing projects to promote the NMAF/KRW and its various initiatives;
- Attend regular staff meetings.
- Exceptional communication skills;
- Familiarity with the Canadian magazine industry;
- Ability to work independently and on deadline with goal-oriented projects;
- Solid writing and editing skills;
- Knowledge of French an asset;
- Career aspirations in the Canadian magazine industry or similar;
- Strong interest in fulfilling the mandate and vision of the National Magazine Awards Foundation.
Terms and Remuneration: The length of the contract will be from January 20, 2013 until June 30, 2014. The average weekly commitment may range from 10 hours per week (Feb-Mar; Jun) to 20 hours per week (Jan; Apr-May). Working hours are flexible except at specific times, and most work may be completed remotely.
Interns will be paid a stipend of $1500 for the duration of the internship, plus receive two (2) tickets to the National Magazine Awards gala on June 6, 2014.
Applications: Candidates should submit
- A cover letter demonstrating their specific interest in the internship;
- A resume;
- And at least one letter of reference from a professor or career mentor.
Please send applications by email to NMAF Communications Coordinator Avary Lovell at staff[at]magazine-awards.com.
Deadline: Tuesday, December 31, 2013.
Off the Page is an interview series that appears regularly on the Magazine Awards blog. Today we catch up with Brett Popplewell, editor of The Feathertale Review, winner of the 2012 National Magazine Award for Best Single Issue.
NMAF: The Feathertale Review has been dubbed the “illegitimate love child of Mad Magazine and The New Yorker.” We just saw your latest issue, no. 11, double in size to 128 pages. Is this a signal to readers that the child is growing up? And if so, where is it headed?
Brett Popplewell: It’s definitely a sign that the child is growing up. Where it’s heading, I have no idea.
Truth is our entire team has grown up since our launch in 2006. We were just kids back then who felt there was an absence of high- and low-brow humour magazines in the Canadian market and thought we could be the cork to plug that hole. Lee Wilson, Feathertale’s co-founder and art director, and I wanted to create something that would feel fresh and cutting edge but that would hark back to an age when magazines leaned entirely on illustration to bring their words to life. We’re the ones who started calling our creation the “illegitimate love child of Mad Magazine and The New Yorker” because it felt like the best way to describe it.
We really started to grow up with our fourth issue (summer 2009). I finally started writing editorials to help nail a raison-d’etre for each issue and we began interviewing interesting people (David Rakoff, Stuart McLean, Patrick deWitt, Lynn Coady, etc.) in the magazine, using those interviews to try to answer some of life’s greatest questions, like: “What does it actually mean to be funny?” All of this added a creative depth to what we were doing.
By that point Lee and I were both working fulltime with mass-market magazines and had a much better understanding of our industry and Feathertale’s place within it. We began wanting to use Feathertale to challenge what we and others thought a magazine actually was. That’s how we came up with the idea for Feathertale 9. That issue, which looked, read and felt like it was lost in time, was modeled after 250-year-old magazines in order to show readers how far magazines had evolved and changed since their initial creation back in 1731. I think the moment we started thinking about Feathertale on such a bold scale was when it grew up and became more than just the bastard love child of Mad Magazine and The New Yorker.
We didn’t have it in us to make Feathertale 10 as crazy an innovation as its predecessor. So we sought instead to create a “swan song” issue that resembled some of our earlier issues and served to book-end a chapter of our lives.
After Feathertale 10 we had time to reflect on what we’d accomplished and assess what we thought was working and what wasn’t. We had contemplated ending the print product and concentrating on Feathertale.com, the online companion to the Review. Our $10 cover price hadn’t been doing us any favours on newsstands and our online readership had always outstripped our printed circulation. But we still believed in producing beautiful printed products and decided to double down on that belief. That’s when we started thinking about making the Review look less like a magazine and more like a book.
From a design standpoint, this made sense. We were starting to publish some much longer stories and Lee felt the long features would read better if we changed the design. So we shrunk the page size from the 8”x10” we’d been using for the first 10 issues to 5”x8”. We then doubled the length of the book to make sure it would still pack the roughly 35,000 words we’d been publishing in our previous issues. In the end, the adjustment made good business sense as well.
Feathertale is still a magazine of course, but our current issue (and our next one for that matter) does look a lot more like a book than a mag. I don’t know how that format will serve us on newsstands. We have one of the thicker spines out there right now, and I think we’ve got some pretty appealing covers but we don’t take up nearly as much space on the magazine rack. That said, our subscribers seem to be enjoying the new forma, which is encouraging. It’s also substantially cheaper for us to print the smaller layout and from what we’ve seen at festivals, people are more inclined to pay $10 (or even $15) for the new format. We’re under no pretense of being the first to come out at this size, but so far it makes sense for us.
NMAF: In addition to winning the National Magazine Award for Best Single Issue (for issue no. 9), Feathertale has also won NMAs for Humour and for Best Magazine Cover; remarkable achievements for any magazine, no less a young literary one. What impact have achievements like these made on Feathertale and its writers and artists?
Brett: The accolades have certainly helped us stay motivated, but this has never been a vanity project. Our first win for Best Magazine Cover of 2010 came as a shock, both to us and I think to others in our industry. That cover was really special to us. It was illustrated by a young artist in Oshawa named Dani Crosby. She had just graduated from Sheridan and didn’t have a huge portfolio when we handed her our magazine and told her to do as she pleased with it. There aren’t many magazines that will hand over that kind of opportunity to such a young and relatively inexperienced artist. When we won best cover, we were really just humbled and honoured to be recognized by our peers.
After our first NMA a lot of illustrators and writers who hadn’t really been looking at us started submitting work our way. It definitely helped us grow and added some more established voices to our ever-expanding list of contributors. I guess you could say that award helped us beef up subsequent issues, including Feathertale 9, which won Gold for Best Single Issue last year. I was surprised when we were nominated for that award as well and I was ecstatic when we won. I think what I’m most proud of about that issue is that we pulled it all together on a $7,000 budget. I can’t really explain how it feels to have published and edited a magazine on that kind of budget and then see it nominated alongside magazines that are easily 100 times our size.
Feathertale was probably the smallest magazine nominated for any awards last year, so to win one of the evening’s most prestigious was an unexpected honour, something Cathal Kelly (one of our frequent contributors) touched on when he tweeted that watching Feathertale win that NMA was, financially speaking, “like your home movies winning an Oscar.”
There were 37 contributors in that issue and each of them was integral to its success. I can’t speak for any of them, but I can say that I am extremely proud to have worked with each of them on that issue. I’m equally as proud of Cathal for picking up silver in the Humour category last year. We’ve always said we’re a humour magazine, and Cathal’s award and work helped validate that claim. He’s probably the most naturally gifted writer I’ve had the privilege to work with.
NMAF: You’ve spoken elsewhere about the early success story of Feathertale, where start-up funds from a successful anti-bullying comic-book venture seeded the start of the magazine, and support from Canadian arts funding has helped you grow. What lessons have you learned about publishing a literary magazine in Canada that might benefit other publishers, writers and artists out there?
Brett: The biggest lesson I’ve learned is you have to believe in the value of what you’re doing because you won’t necessarily see any benefit from your labours in your bank account. Canada is such a small market that it’s very hard to make a profit with this type of venture. Financially, Feathertale is subsidized by grant money and sales of Lee’s and my anti-bullying comic books. But aside from that, this whole thing survives on the passion of its creators. That passion comes and goes. There are times when each of us have wanted to run away from Feathertale but the longer we spend working on the project the more we realize that it’s like a child that deserves a shot at growing up and becoming a fully functioning adult. It has definitely grown up and matured, but it’s still not ready to feed itself or change its own diapers.
Publishing, especially in the 21st century, is a very fickle industry. Lee and I wandered into it without any real experience. We had some spectacular success early on with our anti-bullying comic books and have no regrets at having used that success to launch The Feathertale Review. We are fortunate to now have support from both the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council. I think it’s important for every Canadian to understand that if the Arts councils ever pulled out of funding literary journals in this country the entire industry would likely die, or at least cease to print.
NMAF: Who is D’Artagnan, really?
Seriously though, he’s the blue monkey who appears on all things Feathertale. We used to think of him as our Alfred E. Newman or Eustace Tilley, but he’s become more than that. He’s our face in this world. What’s his story? Why is he blue? We’ve been asking ourselves those questions for a long time now but still haven’t figured it out.
Brett Popplewell is the editor of The Feathertale Review, as well as a National Magazine Award-winning writer — he won Gold in the category Sports & Recreation at the 2011 National Magazine Awards for “The Team that Disappeared” (Sportsnet). Follow him on Twitter @b_popps.
Images courtesy Feathertale.com and National Magazine Awards Foundation.
Submissions are now being accepted for the 2013 National Magazine Awards. Deadline for entries: January 15.