We recently caught up with Sarah Plant who told us all about her non-profit illustration and creative writing zine.

Ferment is an illustrated literary zine put together by Paul Askew, James Weiner and myself, Sarah Plant. For each issue we ask sixteen writers and illustrators to contribute.

Every issue we choose a theme, the theme is widely interpreted by our invited contributors.

Initially writers respond to the theme, then illustrators respond to those writers’ poems or short stories. We pair the illustrators and writers, then publish the work as a 12 page black and white newspaper printed by The Newspaper Club.

Ferment began because we wanted to do something creative together that we had control over. Outside of the 9-5, it was fun to make something for other people to enjoy and an experimental project for us. Never a profit making project, the cost of producing zine is covered by selling it locally in Oxford & on our website.

Our themes have ranged from Naked, A Single Letter, to Cities and Upside Down with covers illustrated by Al Murphy, Mister Mourao & Matt Blease.

Illustrators and writers sometimes surprise us by taking the theme in interesting and bizarre directions like ‘Potatoes’ in issue 3- Food. Once the pairings are all in, its my job to set the layout of the zine and the tone for that issue. This is my favorite bit of Ferment, as the contributors’ work is so good and bloody funny.

Recently, as well as producing the zine, we have been playing with the idea of Ferment Mini. Poems & stories printed using miniature printers like Bergs Little Printer.

James custom made a mini printer to print some of our poems & short stories. The result, pocket sized pieces of poetry with illustrations to keep or give to friends.

Ferment mini is playful and interesting, but there are some downsides. Its narrow column length (receipt sized) means some stories end up over a metre long! We don’t intend to offer Ferment mini as a service at the moment, nevertheless its an interesting addition to the Ferment story.

If you are interested in contributing to Ferment, email us & you can buy issues of the zine here.

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Find more zines we’ve featured here.