Image: Rowan Bailey
A digital and print magazine for bookworms and culture vultures created by Magazine Journalism MA students launched last week.
The quarterly zine, book(ish), is a platform dedicated to all things related to books: film, art, music, podcasts, celebrities and much more.
The magazine was the winning concept for the Magazine Business module. The team pitched their idea for an original book-themed publication to a panel of expert judges: Claire Hodgson, editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan; Victoria Harper, features editor of the Telegraph; and Georgina Holt, managing director of Acast.
Students in the group were crowned the winners back in November 2020 and have spent the past five months developing their concept. As well as writing copy in-house, book(ish) will publish 60 reviews, listicles and shorter pieces and 35 features. They have just secured a budget from City University to create a 128-page print edition in May.
Editor-in-chief Ella Doyle added: “It’s gratifying to see how far we’ve come from when we first pitched the idea and best of all, most of our course has written pieces for us so it’s nice to see people engaging with our idea.”
Cara Laskaris, book(ish)’s features editor, said: “We’re very fortunate to have been given this opportunity.”
“We are running a lot more copy than last year’s team, so we’ve been ambitious. But we’re all so passionate about it so we thought we’ve got to just go for it”
Stories range from self-help books according to your star sign to a weekly column on the trials and tribulations of writing a novel for the first time. Crucially, each story is informal, entertaining and light-hearted.
“We are running a lot more copy than last year’s team, so we’ve been ambitious. But we’re all so passionate about it so we thought we’ve got to just go for it,” said Ms Laskaris.
book(ish)’s distinctive illustrations – conceived from a green, millennial pink, and cream colour palette – perfectly matches its young readership of book lovers. To pull this distinct look off, production and design editor Becca Challis commissioned over 40 illustrators.
Ms Challis explained: “I knew from the outset how difficult getting imagery for a magazine can be. A way around that is by incorporating illustrations so I approached different universities back in January with a design brief for their students. The work we’ve received has been incredible – we couldn’t have done it without them.”
In just two weeks, book(ish)’s Instagram account gained 352 followers, which includes indie musician Cosmo Sheldrake, whom Ms Challis interviewed for the magazine’s features section.
“It’s been interesting to see the demographics of people who engage with our content. I didn’t expect our followers to grow as quickly as they did”
Carina Murphy, book(ish)’s social media editor, uses Canva to mock-up visuals for Instagram and the Later app to schedule each social post. She added: “It’s been interesting to see the demographics of people who engage with our content. I didn’t expect our followers to grow as quickly as they did.”
The other members of book(ish) team are Narzra Ahmed, review and multimedia editor, and Catherine Entwistle, subsections editor.