16 September 2020
We chat to Jackie McLean, the winner of the very first All About Stamps Competition which challenged collectors to create a one-page display on a subject of their choice.
How does it feel to win the first ever AAS competition?
I was excited to see my entry on the website during the last couple of weeks, and enjoyed looking at all the others - when I saw I had won it, I was so incredibly happy! We’ve had a tough time as a family over the last while, so getting good news like this has cheered us all up.
Is this the first time you have entered a stamp competition like this?
Yes - it’s the first time I’ve had any involvement at all in stamp-related activities. Like a lot of people, I rediscovered my childhood stamp collection during lockdown, and decided to look at building up a more 'grown up' collection.
Why did you choose the subject of books?
I’m a crime writer, so I’m interested in anything to do with books, literature and publishing. I had no idea there would be stamps related to books, but when I found the thematic guides on the All About Stamps web site, I was hooked.
I started searching for book-themed stamps and noticed there were a few coming up on World Book Year. When I read more about it, I thought it was an incredible thing to have happened, and I loved the positive message it gave about the powerful role of literature in promoting cross-cultural co-operation. I reckon we need a bit of that today.
Do you think you will enter more competitions now you have more experience?
I will certainly try to - it’s now become a project to put together a non-fiction book on the history of books and literature as shown on stamps, so years of research ahead! This competition gave me great motivation to get started with it, and I’ve put together a plan for the areas I’ll be looking at month by month (happy to share progress with it if that’s of interest).
Have you enjoyed the Summer of Stamps festival?
I’ve loved it. There’s been some fascinating stuff. I enjoyed watching the Punk Philatelist, and learning about the collections of the British Library and the American Philatelic Research Library.
Also, I had never heard of Tristan da Cunha before, so it was great to find out about that. I also strayed a bit from my book theme, and couldn’t resist the Queen and Rupert Bear stamps!