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Philosophy in demand: new magazine launches



13 August 2013

Wake up!

A new magazine on philosophy, launched at Byron Bay Writers' Festival to record crowds on the weekend, has proven that niche print publishing is still alive and well.

New Philosopher, created by University of Sydney alumni Zan Boag (BA French major) and Antonia Case (BEc Hons), and sponsored by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, was the bestselling title at the literary festival, outselling such heavyweight writers as Peter Carey and DBC Pierre.

And despite the launch issue containing some of Australia and the world's most prominent philosophical thinkers such as Angie Hobbs, Peter Singer and Clive Hamilton, literary editor Antonia Case sees the magazine being about more than just notable "great minds".

"Sure, we have interviews with professional philosophers like Noam Chomsky and John Searle," she says, "but at the same time we also have an interview with an American who runs a philosophy group in Paris, an Australian adventurer, an unknown artist, a young designer and a famous portrait photographer - weaving philosophy into their life and work."

Case argues that we have "an amateur philosopher in all of us, the inner voice asking "why are we here?" "how should I live?" "what is the point of all this?".

"To draw out that inner philosopher," adds editor Zan Boag, "we need to show people just how fascinating - and worthwhile - philosophy is to their lives."

With a secured distribution across 2,000 news agencies in Australia and New Zealand and circulation in book shops, cafes, delis, art galleries, boutiques and museums, it will be easier for people to access philosophical ideas, so the reception of New Philosopher at Byron Bay Writers' Festival is not to be disregarded as a singular success.

Sweetened as it was by the launch performance of local singer Kyle Lionhart and a lively discussion on philosophy in everyday life chaired by Channel 7's Ross Coulthart, the magazine has also garnered interest from a number of teachers looking to share the philosophical ideas with high school students.

"We see this as a fantastic opportunity to inspire the next generation", says Zan. "The true aim for us is for people to get to the end of the magazine and feel inspired".

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Contact: Kate Mayor

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