We have an opportunity when we work with local artists to work with the best and I always think that if my peer group thinks the magazine is good, that's my toughest audience.
—Meeka Walsh, editor
Some years it's the best magazine published in Canada. Some years it's just the best magazine in the West.
And Winnipeg's Border Crossings Magazine has done it again. Recently it won first prize at the Western Magazine Awards and it also won the award for Best Magazine in Manitoba.
"It's very nice because we're not competing only with cultural magazines, but with all magazines, so it was a very lovely award to receive," says editor Meeka Walsh.
But winning big prizes is old hat for Border Crossings, Walsh can't even remember how many awards the magazine has received over the years.
"Maybe six or seven years ago we did something that was unprecedented, if I can boast," she says. "We won Magazine of the Year first at the National Magazine Awards in Toronto and then three weeks later we won Magazine of the Year at the Western Magazine Awards, so we were the only magazine in Canada's magazine history to have won both awards."
Border Crossings is a made-in-Manitoba magazine that deals with culture, but primarily visual arts, locally, nationally and internationally.
"It's always been a reader's magazine," says Walsh. "In other words, I pay a lot of attention to language. I'm a writer, Robert Enright, who is the magazine's senior contributing editor is a writer, so we care a lot about language. Whatever the subject, it has to be well-written.
"The magazine office environment is probably the only place where four people can sit around for 20 minutes talking about whether or not it should be a comma or a semi-colon," she laughs.
"Set" 1966 (reproduction 2013) by Roy Ascott, featured in the latest edition of Border Crossings.(Courtesy artist and Plug In ICA)
Walsh says they work constantly and meticulously to achieve this level of excellence.
"You know how well Manitoba - Winnipeg - is known for its cultural community," she says. "We have an opportunity when we work with local artists to work with the best and I always think that if my peer group thinks the magazine is good, that's my toughest audience.
"This is a very rigorous group of thinkers and art makers," she continues. "And that's why Winnipeg is developing a reputation internationally for the art it produces."
The Border Crossings
team is obsessive about every detail of the magazine, including the quality of paper, colour, reproduction, layout and the feel of the magazine.
"It's interesting when you think 'perfectionist' is a critical term," says Walsh, "but I am a perfectionist and everything has to be right. Winnipeg has been a printing centre since the turn of the last century and we still have top, top people preparing the printing and the pre-press for the magazine. I've been working with the same designer since 1997 and he's as fussy as I am."
The latest edition of Border Crossings is now available.
Walsh has no intention of putting out an online version of the magazine any time soon.
"I'm not interested, no," she says, emphatically. "The linear way of reading that the internet offers is not what I want for Border Crossings
. It's an occasion to turn the pages, flip up and back and make correspondences among the pieces. I really think of the magazine as curated as much as edited, so there are resonances among the pieces and when you read closely, or even if you just turn the pages, you begin to find correspondences.
"Anyway, print smells so good," she laughs.
The latest edition of Border Crossings, Dimensions: 2 & 3
is now available on newsstands.
Related:Travelling food bloggers find divine morsels in Manitoba