Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Why You Should Support Stew Magazine

I’ve taken a break from the Stew Magazine short story I should be writing, because I wanted to talk about the Kickstarter campaign that’s just launched.

Stew Magazine is looking for £18,000 in crowd funding over the next month, to ensure the magazine’s survival and continued growth. That the magazine has reached the end of its first year is down, in no small part, to Ali Fraser. As editor and publisher, Ali’s vision and drive (together with the creative skills of the many, many contributors) have ensured that six terrific issues have reached hundreds of kids during 2014.

Here's where you come in, because we now need your help to continue into 2015 and beyond. I’d like to offer just a few reasons why you should pledge your cash to Stew Magazine:

  • It’s a lovely product
    I wish that this blog post could come (Willy Wonka style) with a free copy of Stew that you could hold in your hands. The magazine is professionally produced to the highest standards, with beautiful full-bleed colour layouts printed on thick matt paper. Every issue feels substantial and yet very accessible – you’ll want to read it and keep it. Ali has a great eye for selecting illustrators with a range of styles and then combining their illustrations with the text in imaginative (but not gimmicky) ways. And it even smells good!
  • It’s advertising free
    Stew is all content from cover to cover, so you can be sure your kids are getting brain food rather than being trained to be mini consumers.
  • It tackles difficult subjects in an accessible way
    Along with all the fun games and articles, Stew has taken a fearless approach to non-fictional topics like human rights and scientific ethics. Even though I write fiction, the magazine’s independent status has emboldened me to tread similar “edgy” ground. Just in the last year, Stew has included stories by me that address subjects like female empowerment, child labour, the end of the world (twice), the effect of technology on personal privacy and the secret conspiracy behind all those free gifts on other kids’ magazines (OK, that last one may be a tad more fictional than the others). As a writer, the freedom to explore the issues that matter to me (and by extension the reading audience) has been priceless.
  • It’s serious without being worthy
    Although Stew isn’t afraid to tackle difficult issues, its content is neither sugar-coated nor moralistic. Today’s kids are smart enough to consider the issues for themselves and make their own decisions. In fact, that’s the only way we can ensure the future is a better place than the world of today.
  • The contributors deserve to be paid
    Now, I’m not suggesting you should do this specifically to pay my wages – I have a decent day job and am lucky to be in a position to freely give my time to Stew. But many of the illustrators are students or recent graduates who I’m sure could really do with the money. And beyond the physical act of payment, there’s a moral imperative to protect and nurture creativity, to value our efforts in the face of outside pressure to devalue what we do. I know Ali has been keen for a while to start paying proper commissions, and this campaign will enable him to do that.

So, for all these reasons and more, please visit the Stew Magazine Kickstarter campaign and make a pledge, no matter how small. Your support will help us to publish many, many more issues of this excellent publication.