The 42nd annual National Magazine Awards gala will take place May 31st at the Arcadian Court in Toronto. This year, we are honoured that Marcey Andrews and Wenting Li partnered to create the visuals that will help define our celebration of Canadian magazines.
We recently spoke with Marcey and Wenting about the stunning cover they created for the gala program, and how this year’s art direction compares to that of previous years.
NMAF: As the winner of several National Magazine Awards, including more recently for Cover Grand Prix, and a member of the 2018 Jury, how does it feel to be taking over art direction for this year’s NMAs?
Marcey Andrews: Intimidating, to say the least! But also a great honour. Between my experience with the 2018 Jury and the art direction of this year’s NMAs, I’ve really come to appreciate the enormity of this event and just how much dedication it takes to make it happen. Émilie, Barbara and all the volunteers and sponsors that make this possible, they are all a source of inspiration.
NMAF: Could you tell us about the direction you’re taking? How does it stand apart from—or perhaps complement—that of other years?
Marcey Andrews: When Wenting and I partnered up, our goal was simply to carry the torch high and create a look that honoured the significance of these achievements! Stories, and those in magazines in particular, have always been a source of cinematic wonder for me — a byproduct of my active imagination — and so we wanted to give the artwork that same larger-than-life feeling. We know how much effort and passion goes into every piece and so we wanted the nominees to be able to take a moment and appreciate the grandeur of their accomplishments.
Marcey Andrews is the art director of New Trail, the University of Alberta’s alumni magazine. She is also the Senior Graphic Designer in Marketing and Communications in University Relations. She has won five National Magazine Awards.
NMAF: Your illustration for this year’s NMA program is beautiful. Does it have a title?
Wenting Li: Thanks so much! It’s called Awards Night.
NMAF: What was your inspiration for creating this piece?
Wenting Li: I was hoping to show the glitter and solemnity of a celebration, but also make it a bit unusual. So, boats taking creators toward a party inside a giant magazine!
NMAF: Your work has appeared in such Canadian publications as The Walrus, Canadian Living, Quill & Quire, Reader’s Digest Canada and The Globe and Mail. What do you enjoy about creating illustrations for stories and magazines?
Wenting Li: Whenever I’m paging through a publication I can’t help but look first at all the images. Getting to think of drawings that might make others flipping through stop on a particular page is kind of thrilling. I also love being transported by a story, and then getting to share this feeling visually.
Wenting Li is a Toronto-based illustrator. Her work is preoccupied with colour and shape, and the subtleties of complementing story with picture. Learn more about Wenting and her work by visiting her website.
With excitement and anticipation, the NMAF is calling for nominations for the Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement. This is our most prestigious award, presented annually to an individual whose work in, and contributions to, the Canadian magazine industry exemplify innovation and creativity. Creators, editors, publishers, art directors, circulation experts, and others are eligible, and previous winners have included Joyce Byrne, Penny Caldwell, Kim Pittaway, Kim Jernigan, Michael Fox, Stephen Trumper, Heather Robertson, Stephen Osborne, Jean Paré, and Sally Armstrong.
Anyone working in Canadian magazine may submit a nomination, which should include:
A letter of nomination, including a brief bio of the nominee and a summary of their career achievements;
At least two (2) supporting letters from other individuals in the Canadian magazine industry or colleagues of the nominee.
Materials can be emailed to email@example.com. Note that March 1, 2019 is the nomination deadline, and that there is no cost to submit a nomination.
At the 42nd annual National Magazine Awards gala, we will proudly present the OA winner with their award. More information can be found at magazine-awards.com/oa.
Publisher Grand Prix
With this award, the NMAF strives to recognize the publisher whose brand best delivers on their editorial mandate through numerous platforms. Eligible platforms are various, and may include websites, special issues or other publications, mobile apps, social media platforms, television shows, podcasts, events, merchandising, or any other initiatives or forms of audience engagement. Entries are due by March 1, 2019. The inaugural recipient of this special award will also be announced at the spring gala. Click here for further details.
Missed the early bird deadline? Fear not: you can still enter submissions for the 42nd National Magazine Awards until midnight (ET) on January 18th, 2019. There are 29 categories, honouring everything from investigative reporting to portrait and lifestyle photography. Browse through the full list of categories here.
Freelancers, don’t forget that the support fund offers a discounted entry rate of $50.00 per submission. After the early bird deadline, this rate jumps to $62.50.
Small magazines, take note that our rebate is offered on a first come, first served basis. Get your entries in now to secure a free second entry (offered to magazines whose annual revenue is $200,000 or less).
Got questions? Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll get you answers. You can call us, too, at 416-939-6200.
If you’re looking for digital categories, head on over to digitalpublishingawards.ca. The DPAs are accepting entries until January 31, 2019. B2B mags, you’ll be happy to hear that we’ve launched a new program, the National Magazine Awards: B2B. The deadline for submitting entries to that program is February 1, 2019.
A recipient of the 2017 CJF-CBC Indigenous Journalism Fellowship, Julian is a correspondent at Real America with Jorge Ramos, contributing editor for Canadian Geographic and a freelance writer. His work has appeared in The Guardian, The Nation, The Paris Review and many other publications. He is a proud member of the Canim Lake Band Tsq’escen and a descendant of the Lil’Wat Nation of Mount Currie.
Your article on the Tribal Canoe Journey mentions traditional oral histories. You make an interesting comment of how calling these stories legends or fables “infantilizes” them. Do you think this undermines the culture?
The direct answer is I think that it can. Words matter, and the language we use to describe them affects the way we think about them. I’d like to view all sorts of stories, whether they be more traditional origin stories or masterful multi-volume novels, as all part of an interrelated practice of storytelling.
How important do you consider these traditional stories to Indigenous culture, in terms of understanding the culture and continuing it?
I think they’re obviously important, but so are new writers and novels. For example, Tommy Orange’s book There There. They’re all very important.
The story of the first symbolic canoe expo, coming out of a centennial celebration, and your description of it as “Thanksgiving in reverse” was also interesting. Canada recently celebrated its 150th anniversary, and there was much discussion in the Indigenous community about what that meant in their history. Do you think these moments in time, where there is a heightened lens on Indigenous issues, could be turned around to an advantage, like the examples in your article?
Yes. I think there’s a way of seeing these events as somewhat one-sided, but I think it’s often more complicated than that. If we look back at Canada 150, Canada’s celebration of its 150 years was, in comparison to other centennial celebrations in Canada, quite cautious and tepid. At the same time, Indigenous protests of and counter-narrative to Canada 150 was really powerful.
I do think that is ultimately what can happen, especially when we have such a strong Indigenous movement like we do today.
How have you learned to respond to? Your article features some inner monologue about how you would have liked to respond, but didn’t. Have these gotten any closer with experience?
I would say that it’s always sort of a process, knowing that is the climate and structure we are up against, but also becoming increasingly confident and comfortable in our own skin. And believing that despite forces aligned against us, we can come into these spaces and succeed. In the world of journalism, we can show up at newspapers and magazines, and write stuff just as good or maybe even better than our peers. We can go into the halls of power and political situations, into jobs and corporations, and do a kick ass job.
In that one instance, it was quite a challenging experience for me, even when I reflect back on it. But ultimately it also did prepare me for the next interview where that happens, the next situation where my race leads people to challenge me, question me, or undermine me in particular ways.
What was it like interviewing Connie Walker, who’s such a prominent Indigenous journalist, as a young Indigenous journalist yourself?
I think what’s really cool about journalism is that you get to talk to all these awesome people. Connie Walker was an awesome person to talk to, but there’s also been many other cool Native and non-Native people I’ve had the opportunity to talk to. That’s what I find really cool about journalism. That opportunity not only just to write the story, but to talk to people who are experts, who have lived the experience you are trying to relate to your readers.
In your interview, she mentions how she is almost now exclusively reporting on Indigenous issues, where ten years ago there was little to no interest. Do you agree it’s an opportune time for young Indigenous writers to have their voices heard?
Absolutely. [In that interview] we talked a lot about digital technology. There’s a lot more opportunity for entry. There’s more blogs, there’s new publications starting up all the time. There’s a lot of writers who get their start on Facebook and Twitter. For Indigenous writers, a community who has something to say and add to the conversation, that technology shift is a big opportunity to us.
On the flip side though, I worry sometimes that there is going to be, as Harold Cardinal [Cree writer and political leader] wrote about in the 60s and 70s, a “buckskin curtain”. That we will be confined to reservations of not just literal geography, but also of political discourse, of journalism, of career opportunities. That we will be constantly cast as Indigenous people who only talk about Indigenous issues.
And to me, on a continent that has taken so much from First Nations, everything is in some way an Indigenous issue. And Indigenous people should have a say on all of the issues of the day, whether that be the rights of our community, or questions of economic equality, justice or immigration. We clearly have something to say about all of these things.
Do you think Indigenous people have a certain responsibility to their culture? To learn it, and continue it. In a way that other cultures may not with the same urgency? And how would you suggest going about this? You’re an accomplished writer and activist, but how can anyone become involved?
I think all cultures have a lot to offer. I think culture is just fundamentally cool, and I don’t think that it is exclusively an Indigenous thing. Obviously, we have a particular history of our culture being under attack. So I think that creates a certain imperative to maintain, strengthen and carry forward our culture, but I think those cultures are constantly changing.
Our culture is not exclusively the traditions of our grandparents, or the generations before them. They’re also the things that Native youth are today with in Winnipeg with hip-hop, Native actors and directors are doing today in Vancouver, or any of the things our fantastic writers are doing with the written word. I think that it’s all of those things.
What are some of your next projects, or goals for the near future?
I have conversations constantly with different publications about articles that I’m writing. I recently got back from Paris where I spoke at the Festival America, which is a North American-focused literature festival. I’m writing a couple of pieces about that, about the history of Indigenous travellers in Paris, and Indigenous artists and writers passing through there today. Playing with the question of “What is Indigenous Paris”? And in the longer term, I’d love to write a book. I’ve been getting queries from publishers and agents, and I’m in the early stages of figuring out what that book would be about.
Julian Brave NoiseCatis a correspondent at Real America with Jorge Ramos, contributing editor for Canadian Geographic, and freelance writer whose work has appeared in The Guardian, The Nation, The Paris Review, and many other publications. He was a finalist for a National Magazine Award, Best New Magazine Writer in 2018. A proud member of the Canim Lake Band Tsq’escen and descendant of the Lil’Wat Nation of Mount Currie, he resides in Washington, D.C.
Interview conducted by Tobey VanWeston.
Submissions for the 42nd National Magazine Awards are now being accepted! Magazines and creators are invited to submit their best work of 2018 in 29 categories, including the prestigious Best New Magazine Writer category. The final submissions deadline is January 18, 2019. Click here to begin the submissions process.