The Moon Alphabet was invented by Dr William Moon in 1843 and is a typeface for blind or partially sighted people. Moon uses letters made from curves, angles and lines, instead of using a system of dots like Braille. Over half of the letters in the Moon alphabet resemble those in the Roman alphabet and so Moon is particularly suitable for those who lose their sight later in life.
Moon Mag is the only national publication in Moon for adults in the UK. Some seventeen issues have been published since the first copy, in October 2008, and the magazine now goes to 52 readers. This is a relatively small number – but there are probably fewer than two hundred adult Moon readers in the UK as Moon has not been promoted or supported for many years.
There are Moon Mag readers all over Britain, with a cluster in the Peterborough area – perhaps because of promotion by DeafBlind UK in that area.
The great majority of adult Moon readers are elderly and/or have additional learning difficulties. Most adult Moon readers need a slim publication for ease of handling with short articles for less confident readers. Moon Mag contains short articles, puzzles, jokes and stories of popular interest, usually related to a theme which changes with each issue. Recent themes include Gardens, Sleep, Schooldays, and the Theatre. The text is also included in print, so that other family members can help the touch reader with any difficult words or numbers.
Moon Mag is published by the Moon Forum, with funding provided by Linden Lodge School. Editorial, production, database and mailing are currently undertaken by Marion Ripley, on a voluntary basis, on behalf of the ClearVision library.
The magazines are set out, embossed and bound at HMP Garth, who charge a modest fee. No charge is made to the reader, although occasional small donations are received which are used to cover the costs of packaging (approx. 50p per copy).
Feedback on the magazine has always been positive; one reader said in a letter that reading Moon Mag had ‘opened up her world’; another reported having read the jokes aloud to his neighbour. One of our oldest readers died last year at the age of 103. Her daughter rang to notify us and told us ‘towards the end of her life, reading Moon Mag was pretty much all my mother could do without assistance.’ We know how much the magazine is appreciated and hope to be able to continue to produce it for as long as it is needed.