The Emerging Writers’ Festival work, learn and play largely on the land of the Kulin nation, and pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

EWF celebrates the history and creativity of the world’s oldest living culture.

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Q&A with Leon Powell

Born and raised in Melbourne, I have travelled many paths to become who I am today. From State Schools are Great Schools, no more free higher education to highest levels of unemployment, I feel privileged for what I have been able to achieve and grateful to those who have encouraged me to keep scribbling away. Trained and educated in Graphic Design and Communication, I have been lucky to work with great creative studios and education institutes and thankful I didn’t waste my potential by working in the advertising industry. Now residing in Singapore, as a primary carer for my daughter, I spend each day listening to the stories of a seven year old and reminiscing about my own experiences as fuel for adventurous and compelling tales to be written, drawn and shared. Hopefully, I’m making people happy.

When and why did you start making zines?

Fascinated by the hand-made promotional flyers, placed within record shops across Melbourne in the mid-1980s, created by bands and artists, I soon started creating my own flyers and postcards and leaving them wherever I could. Somewhere around 1990, as a teenager, I was contacted by a t-shirt producer who had picked up one of my postcards in a video store and we collaborated on the production of five illustrated t-shirts for his surf shop in Hawaii. From there I produced whatever and whenever I could for local indie bands and Melbourne radio station 3RRR. Fast forward a few decades and I still produce whatever and whenever I can. With a focus on narrative and story telling, I continue to develop illustrated pieces to amuse and delight (whether it’s for myself, my daughter or others, I always aim to make the reader think).

What is your favourite thing about zines?

As a seasoned career professional in graphic design, having produced numerous commercial big budget press productions, I truly appreciate the creativity and simpleness of the craft of self-publishing zines on an almost non-existent budget. For me, the thought and craft involved in self-producing a story, comic, or narrative expression always wins out against the big budget press productions consisting of over-sized paper, high gloss and super-embossed with all the gold trimmings!

Do you have a favourite zine (aside from your own!)? What is it and why do you like it?

I have collected various Zines over the past 25 years, many obtained from Sticky Institute in Melbourne plus various Zine fairs in Asia. I guess I’m always looking for a great story or an interesting production (the more you can do with a photocopier, some string and environmentally friendly paper the better!).

You can view Leon’s zine This Time Today here