At Tilted Axis Press we publish contemporary literature translated from Asian languages into a variety of Englishes. We started in 2015 and have released 20 books (and four chapbooks) since then, by authors from Japan to Uzbekistan, Nepal to Thailand. We’re not really confined to a genre or type and have published novels, short stories, poetry and essays. Next year we will publish our first non-fiction title, a memoir by journalist and activist Ito Shiori. In general, what we publish is work that we are excited to read. That’s where Tilted Axis started: from a desire to read more literature, translated from more languages.
Asian literature is hugely underrepresented in the English-language market — just think of bookshops, bestseller lists or prize longlists! As a publisher based in the UK, we’re conscious of how this country and its literary market contribute to structures that suppress, marginalise and other writers from Asia. We’re wary of dynamics that lead to a hierarchisation of certain languages and forms, including forms of translation, as well as cultural, narrative and visual stereotypes. Our catalogue can obviously only ever represent the tiniest fraction of the work published across Asian countries and languages — so far, we’ve published works translated from 18 languages. We’re excited about the many other publishers who are doing really inspiring work, such as Filipina feminist publisher Gantala Press or New Delhi-based Zubaan, who focus on literature on, for, by and about women in South Asia.
As a small press, we publish between five and eight books per year, some by authors who are hugely established in their home countries and languages, some by emerging writers. So far this year, we published three very different short story collections, ranging in style and content from speculative to social realist, translated from Japanese, Thai and Kannada. We’ve also focused more on poetry, with beautiful collections by the iconic Japanese writer Ito Hiromi (translated by Jeffrey Angles) and the brilliant Korean poet Lee Hyemi (translated by Soje Lee). For our translators, the books they publish with us is often their first book-length translation into English. Two of our translators have won the Translators’ Association First Translation Prize, which is shared with the editor: Janet Hong for her translation of The Impossible Fairytale (edited by Ethan Nosowsky and originally written by Han Yujoo in Korean), and Morgan Giles for a translation of Tokyo Ueno Station (edited by Saba Ahmed, originally written by Yu Miri in Japanese).
We’re particularly proud of Translating Feminisms, a chapbook series of (mostly) poetry by women and nonbinary writers, curated by writers and translators. The latest chapbooks, which we successfully crowdfunded this summer, focuses on writers from the Philippines and Indonesia and was curated and edited by Filipina press Gantala Press and writer, activist and academic Intan Paramaditha. These collaborations are meaningful to us because they centre the experiences and expertise of women of colour.
We take design and production very seriously. Our books are designed by our art director Soraya Gillani Viljoen, who takes lines from the works as inspiration and creates beautiful artwork for each of our titles. We love her covers so much that we’ve been thinking about turning them into posters — watch this space!