For those browsing the magazine shelves in their local bookstore, they can come across a few magazines that deal with history, including History Today and BBC History Magazine. But a US-based magazine that targets the crowds interested in medieval and Renaissance fairs offers another interesting resource for medievalists.
Renaissnace Magazine has been publishing since 1996 which, in the difficult world of magazine publishing, represents a considerable success. The magazine focuses on contemporary renaissance faire experience, often with feature articles on events throughout the United States. Readers can also find articles on medieval and renaissance history, and reviews of books, music and movies that are medieval (a better term would be pre-modern) related. Examples of medieval history articles include: “Medieval Healthcare: Leeches, Boiling Oil and Maggots” and “Making Good Scents: Frangrance in the Middle Ages and Renaissance”
The magazine was founded by Kim Guarnaccia and her husband in 1994. She explained that it was their plan to have a renaissance-style wedding that led her to starting this project: “When I began to organize the music, decorations, costuming, and entertainment, I was amazed by the lack of reference material available to the mainstream public. After attending a few faires and making many phone calls, we pulled off a memorable evening, but without a comprehensive source for renaissance information, planning the event was difficult and time consuming. It was then that my idea for a Renaissance Magazine germinated.”
The magazine soon found an audience among those people who attend and participate in Renaissance and medieval fairs, as well as those involved in re-enactment groups such as the Society for Creative Anachronism. Mrs. Guarnaccia explained in an interview from 2005, “Over the last 10 years the number of festivals has doubled. When we started the magazine, vendors were saying we had hit the peak, but it hasn’t even begun to hit the mainstream’s consciousness yet.”
As of 2008, Renaissance Magazine has a print run of 30 000 copies which are distributed throughout the United States and Canada. The magazine is published six times per year, and occasionally has specially-themed issues including one that will be devoted to medieval and Renaissance style weddings.
Tom Hauck, the current editor of Renaissnace Magazine, adds that, “we are continually updating our columns and content based on reader feedback. New columns recently introduced include Living History, Castle Kitchen, Feasts and Holidays, Ren Faire Friends, Crossword Puzzle, and more.”
For those interested in writing for the magazine, the editors accept brief queries and full submissions of non-fiction articles. Feature articles focus on culture and lifestyle, and can go up to 1800 words, while shorter articles meant for their columns sections are at 600 words maximum.
Renaissance Magazine Website – official website; allows readers to see previews of the current and previous issues, and order them, but has very little content
Renaissance Faires – their blog, which focuses on fairs and events. Updated often
Facebook page – has over 1600 fans
Jess Hartley – website of own of their authors
Alice the Cook – website of another writer who provides medieval recipes for the magazine
Behind the Burlap – this blogger posted about her difficulties with the magazine over a prize she won
Medieval History Magazine – some articles from the short-lived Medieval History Magazine, which are similar in style to those found in Renaissance Magazine