The first all-female fanzine was STF-ETTE, published by Pogo (Mary Corinne Grey) of LASFS in September 1940 (there was a second issue in July 1941) and not as previously stated here the one-off BLACK FLAMES (January 1946) edited by Virginia 'Jim-E' Laney, also of LASFS. The latter apparently qualifies as the first anthology of SF stories by female writers.

cover by Fay Dishington

Virginia Laney (photo John L. Coker collection)


Ethel Lindsay's reminiscences about being a woman in UK fandom in the 1950s can be found here.


FEMIZINE was launched at SUPERMANCON, the 1954 Eastercon, held that year in Manchester. The idea of an all-female fanzine had been bubbling up for a while and several letters had passed between Frances Evans, Joan Carr, and Ethel Lindsay shortly before the convention in which they decided it was time. Carr volunteered to edit the zine and the first issue duly appeared in time for the con. As can be seen from the photos below (taken at the event by Eric Bentcliffe) there was a certain amount of excitement among female fans at this finally happening:

Shirley Marriott, Frances Glynn, Frances Evans, Ethel Lindsay, unknown.

Ethel Lindsay, Frances Evans, Frances Glynn

Unfortunately 'Joan Carr' did not exist. She was created as a hoax to be played primarily on the Nor'west Science Fantasy Club (NSFC), who then met regularly in Manchester. Frances Evans was in on it from the beginning, but no one else was. Hiding behind that pseudonym was a man - H. P. 'Sandy' Sanderson, who even (with her agreement) used photos of a female cousin to further his subterfuge.

'Joan Carr'

FEMIZINE soon developed a life of its own, becoming a rallying point for female fans in the UK during the 1950s. This was the decade in which women first really began to assert themselves in the hitherto male-dominated SF fandom of these isles. In this context FEMIZINE is a fanzine that is both historically and culturally significant. FEMIZINE ran from 1954 to 1960 and saw fifteen issues in all, plus mini versions bound into a couple of combozines.

The Joan Carr hoax was eventually revealed in issue nine and seems to have taken the wind out of the sails of the UK's female fans, despite Sanderson having bowed out with issue six, and it would be over two years before the next issue appeared.

Note: As with most fanzines that are many decades old you will occasionally encounter words and attitudes that would be unacceptable today. Decades from now similar warnings may well be considered necessary for today's fanzines as social attitudes continue to evolve.

This is a contemporary gallery of many of those who contributed to 'FEZ':


Sheila Ashworth

Daphne Buckmaster

Pamela Bulmer

Frances Evans (Varley)

Joy Goodwin (Clarke)

Irene Gore (Potter)

Ethel Lindsay

Ella Parker

Dorothy Ratigan

Ina Shorrock

Bobbie Wild (Gray)

Madeleine Willis

OVERSEAS - (US except where noted)

Elinor Busby

Christine Moskowitz

Anne Steul (Germany)

Bjo Wells (Trimble)

Below is a listing of all the issues with links to each:

Issue 0
Issue 1
Issue 2
Issue 3/4
Junior FEZ
Issue 5
Issue 6
Issue 7
Issue 8
Issue 9
Issue 10*
Issue 11
Issue 12
Issue 13
Issue 14
Issue 15
Easter 1954
Summer 1954
August 1954
December 1954
January 1955
February 1955
April 1955
Autumn 1955
March 1956
May 1956
September 1958
May 1959
Autumn 1959
Spring 1960
Summer 1960
September 1960
Contributor Index (issues 1-3 only)
*called Distaff.
'Joan Carr'(H. P. Sanderson) editor (issues 1-6), Joy Goodwin editor (issue 7), Pamela Bulmer editor (issues 8 & 9), Ethel Lindsay editor (issues 10-15).

Bobbie Wild (by then Bobbie Gray) took over the editorship from Ethel Lindsay but never actually piblished any issues.

Related material:

Ella Parker:

Madeleine Willis:

Ina Shorrock:

Joy Clarke:

Daphne Buckmaster:

Ethel Lindsay:

For those interested, Ethel published a memoir in SCOTTISHE of her time as a nurse in the pre-NHS British health system. It ran in the 'Natterings' column from #23 - 42. Link to first installment here. Observations about her work as a nurse in the NHS - which she was during the entirety of the time she published it - are also scattered throughout SCOTTISHE.

Anne Steul:

  • FANTUM - second fanzine by an individual German fan **
  • WETZCON - first German SF Convention

** Previously believed to be the first, but German fanhistorian Rainer Eisfeld confirms this was in fact YKS from Klaus Unbehaun a couple of months earlier. He also provided more info about Anne Steul:

"When I started writing on Gerfandom's first years, I made it my point to do more justice to Anne than had hitherto been the case [...] Anne may have been droll, but she was also well-off. After her brother's early death, she had become majority shareholder of a construction company (still in existence today in Solms near Wetzlar). She might, in writing, mention quite casually that, after Kettering, she had toured the UK for three weeks, spending some 500 marks. Need I add that, during the early 1950s, that was quite beyond the reach of even many adult West German fans? In spite of her misgivings, Steul joined the SFCD [Science Fiction Club Deutschland] as Member No. 353. The SFCD fanmag ANDROMEDA had, in 1957, three pages by her on the upcoming London Worldcon."

Elinor Busby:

Bjo Wells (Trimble):

Articles of interest:

FANAC History Zooms:

More here (click on cover):