Writer and Editor of Ponytail Zine, Róisín Conway tells as all about its beginnings:
I started Ponytail in the summer of 2010, with the simple idea of creating something I would like to read, something exciting that was filled with fresh voices. Like many creative careers and pursuits, it’s pretty hard to start out as a writer, there is a lot of self-doubt and rejection and it’s difficult (as cliched as it may sound) to get a foot on the ladder. I wanted to make something that was approachable for anyone to submit to, a sort of ‘lo-fi literature review’, that was firmly about literature without being stuffy or haughty. Also, rather selfishly as a writer, it made me start writing more myself as well as viewing my work with a more critical, editorial eye. I came up with the name Ponytail because all my other options were mocked into non-existence by my friends and at 3am in the morning, a pun on tale/tail seemed Wilde-ly witty.
I knew very little about running zines when I started out, and it’s definitely been a fun and rewarding learning curve in both an editorial and design sense. Each issue has a specific theme, and this has proven to be a really great way to curate a lot of different voices and ideas. Although originally, Ponytail started out as a short story zine only, over time I’ve opened up submissions to also include poetry, personal essays and comic strips which has definitely given more variety to the content. I suppose this has been inspired by my own discoveries and developing tastes for things like the personal essays of Lena Dunham and David Sedaris, a rediscovered folder stuffed full of Richard Brautigan’s poetry and the humour pieces in McSweeneys. On the design side of things, when all the zines are laid out side by side you can see how I’ve definitely faffed around with logos and visual identity a lot. Finally, with the latest issue (#4 The Food Issue), I’ve settled on a design I’m really happy with and I’ve started to hand-bind and risograph print them.
There are lots of exciting things happening in 2013 for Ponytail. The next issue (#5 “Brief Encounters”) should be out in February and there have been tons of brilliant submissions so far. I’m particularly excited about what is probably the best cover of all time by illustrator Will Daw. Other projects include a tie-in podcast with readings, interviews and other pieces, and a separate publication I’ve been curating since the summer called “No-One Understands Me” which is a collection of people’s embarrassing teenage diaries. As I’m moving abroad in a couple of weeks I’m hoping to distribute through a few more shops and distros in the UK and beyond. In the meanwhile, all issues are available to buy on the Ponytail blog.
Find more zines we’ve featured here.