The Chicago Zine Fest is an independent event creating an outlet for small press and independent publishers to showcase their work. Our goal is to make DIY zine-making accessible, highlight the talents of self-published artists, and give independent artists a chance to interact, and swap skills through tabling, community events, and workshops.

What is a zine?

A zine (an abbreviation of the word fanzine, or magazine; pronounced “zeen”) is most commonly a small circulation publication of original or appropriated texts and images. More broadly, the term encompasses any self-published work of minority interest usually reproduced via photocopier on a variety of colored paper stock. A popular definition includes that circulation must be 5,000 or less, although in practice the significant majority are produced in editions of less than 100, and profit is not the primary intent of publication. Zines are written in a variety of formats, from computer-printed text to comics to handwritten text (an example being Cometbus). Print remains the most popular zine format, usually photo-copied with a small circulation. Topics covered are broad, including fanfiction, politics, art and design, ephemera, personal journals, social theory, single topic obsession, or sexual content far enough outside of the mainstream to be prohibitive of inclusion in more traditional media. The time and materials necessary to create a zine are seldom matched by revenue from sale of zines.


Chicago Zine Fest 2015 was sponsored by The University of Chicago Library, Quimby’s Bookstore, 826CHI, CHIRP Radio, the International School of Comics, and the Chicago Publishers Resource Center. Our 2015 print sponsors were Perfectly Acceptable Press and InoPrints. We’re very grateful for their support!

To embody the spirit of community that zines foster, the Chicago Zine Fest sought out a select group of stores and organizations to back us with non-monetary means. These sponsors agreed to work with us to make the zine fest a success by helping promote the fest, organizing events that tie into the fest, and giving access to advice and resources. This model of valuing human connection over US currency is one that runs through the very core of the zine fest.

You can support the Chicago Zine Fest by donating through Paypal, contacting us about an in-kind donation, or volunteering!

Check out our awesome past sponsors and donors here.