A cartoon rejected by The New Yorker didn’t discourage Los Altos native Amanda Legge from getting published. Along with Erica Messner, Legge founded The San Franciscan, a local independent arts and culture magazine.
After meeting at a book club in San Francisco, the two became friends over their passion for literature, their creativity and their love for the city. Legge, a digital designer, and Messner, a research and policy analyst, were inspired to start a magazine as a way to dive into their new community, bridging their work experiences with creative expression.
When launching The San Franciscan in November 2018, Legge and Messner said they were heavily influenced by a magazine they are both big fans of – the aforementioned New Yorker – even though it rejected Legge’s cartoon, which was published in The San Franciscan’s first issue.
Employing a similar magazine aesthetic, they wanted to share local stories in an accessible manner.
“It’s a subtle nod to The New Yorker, but West Coast-style,” editor-in-chief Messner said. “I think The New Yorker is a publication that both of us respect very highly, and we wanted to take some of the pieces of that, but make it more accessible to the local community and expose more local stories rather than global.”
The San Franciscan began as a side project, with friends and families contributing to the magazine, but soon after the first issue came out, a Reddit post about the magazine prompted it to sell out. With each issue, the number of copies printed and sold has increased.
“With each issue that we publish, more people reach out to contribute,” creative director Legge said. “We love opening the network and allowing new people to share their stories and make this bigger.”
Legge, a Pinewood School graduate, and Messner appreciate their contributors and the growing audience for their biannual publication.
“I love the earlier stages of working with writers and just hearing their story and shaping it into something for a wider audience and finding the really special core of what they’re trying to say and helping them throughout the editing process,” Messner said. “Our goal was to bring San Franciscans a little bit closer together, to connect the Bay Area, to provide a community for writers and artists, and to tap into the community that already exists here.”
The San Franciscan is sold in bookstores throughout San Francisco and also at Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park. They also offer a yearly subscription that includes early access to the magazine issues, access to all digital issues and invitations to events.
For more information on The San Franciscan, visit thesanfranciscanmagazine.com.