Happy Pride, GLLI readers! June 1st saw the kickoff of Pride festivities around the world. In celebration, June’s “Publisher Spotlight” posts will feature publishers of LGBTQIA+ literature in translation. First up: the prize-winning activists at Feminist Press.
Feminist Press, or FP, is an educational nonprofit at City University of New York (CUNY) that built its reputation fearlessly highlighting literature by authors from marginalized communities. Nearly forty years after the press’ creation, its staff remains dedicated to the original mission to “advance women’s rights and amplify feminist perspectives.” Today, Feminist Press is at the forefront of social justice activism in English-reading literary communities, providing English-reading audiences with modern feminist titles on topics such as equity, sexuality, and gender identity.
FP’s four decades of backlist is as diverse as it is vast: there are academic, sci-fi, theory, fiction, folklore, mystery, poetry, and nonfiction works, among others. The press’ style spectrum is equally immense, ranging from starred new releases, such as Michelle Tea’s Against Memoir, to FP Classics, like I Love Myself When I Am Laughing by Zora Neale Hurston. The addition of English-language translations to the FP catalog has grown the press’ global presence, allowing it to acquire important English-language debuts (examples: Beijing Comrades—“the first gay novel from mainland China”—and Behind Closed Doors: Stories of Sicilian Women in the Early Twentieth Century). Feminist Press’ continued expansion of international acquisitions serves as evidence of its devotion to developing understanding of international social justice issues. With this in mind, the anticipation of FP’s seasonal catalogs never fails to make me wonder which global author will be published next.
Speaking of FP’s next global author, the press’ latest English-language translation is La Bastarda: a Novel, written by Trifonia Melibea Obono and translated by Lawrence Schimel. This coming-of-age novel holds the distinction of being “the first novel written by an Equatorial Guinean woman to be translated into English”, and has earned early praise from Asymptote and Publishers Weekly. The tale of orphaned tomboy Okomo’s quest for family—both biological and chosen—delves into issues of culture, tradition, and queer identity from an Equatorial Guinea perspective. At its heart, La Bastarda is about seeking freedom from societal expectations, about yearning to live true. I suggest ordering this book for collections immediately.
Read about the history of Feminist Press below:
Founded in 1970, we began as a crucial publishing component of second wave feminism, reprinting feminist classics by writers such as Zora Neale Hurston and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and providing much-needed texts for the developing field of women’s studies with books by Barbara Ehrenreich and Grace Paley. We publish feminist literature from around the world, by best-selling authors such as Shahrnush Parsipur, Ruth Kluger, and Ama Ata Aidoo; and North American writers of diverse race and class experience, such as Paule Marshall and Rahna Reiko Rizzuto. We have become the vanguard for books on contemporary feminist issues of equality and gender identity, with authors as various as Anita Hill, Justin Vivian Bond, and Ann Jones.
By Chelsey Slattum