kaya publishes books of the asian pacific diaspora




Readymade Bodhisattva: The Kaya Anthology of South Korean Science Fiction, edited by Sunyoung Park and Sang Joon Park

I Even Regret Night: Holi Songs of Demerera (The Gulf Between Us) by Lalbihari Sharma, translated by Rajiv Mohabir

Song of Arirang: The Story of A Korean Rebel in Revolutionary China by Kim San and Nym Wales, co-edited by George O. Totten III and Dongyoun Hwang, with Arif Dirlik’s new forward

Farewell, Circus by Woon-Yeoung Cheon

Announcing Kaya Press’s releases for Fall 2018.

About Readymade Bodhisattva:

Readymade Bodhisattva: The Kaya Anthology of South Korean Science Fiction presents the first book-length English-language translation of science and speculative fiction from South Korea, bringing together thirteen classic and contemporary stories from the 1960s through the 2010s. From the re-imagining of an Asimovian robot inside the walls of a Buddhist temple, a post-apocalyptic showdown between South and North Korean refugees on a faraway planet, to a fictional recollection of a disabled woman’s struggle to join an international space mission, these stories showcase the thematic and stylistic versatility of South Korean science fiction writers in its wide array. At once conversant with the global science fiction tradition and thick with local historical specificities, their works resonate with other popular cultural products of South Korea—from K-pop, K-drama, to video games, which owe part of their appeal to their pulsating techno-cultural edge and their ability to play off familiar tropes in unexpected ways. Coming from a country renowned for its hi-tech industry and ultra-speed broadband yet mired in the unfinished Cold War, South Korean science fiction offers us fresh perspectives on global techno-industrial modernity and its human consequences. The book also features a critical introduction, an essay on SF fandom in South Korea, and contextualizing information and annotations for each story.

Part of the new Kaya Press imprint MAGPIE focused on Korean literature in translation.

About I Even Regret Night:

Award-winning Indo-Caribbean poet Rajiv Mohabir (The Cowherd’s Son) brings his own poetic swagger and family history to a groundbreaking translation of Lalbihari Sharma’s Holi Songs of Demerara, originally published in Guyana in 1916–the only known literary work written by an indentured servant in the Anglophone Caribbean.

The text was originally published as a pamphlet of spiritual songs in the style of 16th century devotional poets in a the Bhojpuri dialect. Sharma, originally from the village of Chapra in the current Indian state of Bihar, left his home and was bound to the Golden Fleece Plantation in British Guyana. The poems in this book address both the daily hardships of “coolie” life on the island, and the aching feeling of separation from a spiritual Beloved, that could be read as God, lover or even a distant homeland. “From abroad Piya sends no word. / I’m listless in the month of Phagun without my love. // I’m overcome by this distance between. / He stole away to another country without telling me.”

A major historical and literary discovery, I Even Regret Night: Holi Songs of Demerara gives us first-hand insight into the emotional lives of the indentured servants that the British brought from India to the Caribbean in the late 1800s. Mohabir, whose own ancestors were contracted for work in Guyana in 1885 and 1890, allows his knowledge of the language, culture and folk structures Sharma was working with to infuse the poetry and in a powerful Translator’s Note, turns this collection into a major stand against the erasure of this often-overlooked community. An introduction by Gaiutra Bahadur (Coolie Woman), who found the manuscript in the British Library and passed it onto Mohabir, gives important historical context.

About Song of Arirang:

Song of Arirang tells the true story of Korean revolutionary Kim San (Jang Jirak), who left colonized Korea as a teenager to fight against Japanese imperialism and fought alongside Mao’s Red Army during the Chinese Revolution. First published in 1941, this remarkably intimate memoir (as told to the American journalist Nym Wales aka Helen Foster Snow) brings to vivid life some of the most dramatic events of the period. With its first-hand account of early twentieth century guerilla insurgency and radical cross-pollination, this rare, behind-the scenes look into what Wales describes as “the psyche of a dedicated and thoughtful revolutionary” gives vivid voice to the brutality, betrayal, and alliances that rocked East Asia at the beginning of the last century and that continue to shape the region–and the world–today. Kaya’s edition of Song of Arirang includes the writings (both literary and in essay form) of Kim San himself, translated into English for the first time ever, as well as contextualizing notes by George O Totten III and an introduction by Arif Dirlik. Edited and with an afterword by Dongyoun Hwang.

About Farewell, Circus:

Woon-Yeoung Cheon’s haunting novel Farewell, Circus takes us into the rarely portrayed underworld of foreign picture brides in South Korea.

When Inho, a mute man of modest means, is unable to find a wife, his mother contacts an international marriage agency and tasks his brother, Yunho, the only person who can understand Inho’s mangled speech, to help him. Together they interview ethnic Korean women living in China who are seeking the precious visa that will enable them to move to South Korea. Eager to weed out those who might take advantage of his brother, Yunho stages an interrogation. But when he discovers his growing feelings for his new sister-in-law, Haehwa, he becomes trapped in a deep silence of his own. Meanwhile, deeply reticent Haewha has her own secrets and desires.

Told from the alternating perspectives of Yunho and Haewha, Farewell, Circus crosses borders and seas to dramatize the silence that lies inside people living between cultures and in a world of rapidly changing histories, identities and demographies.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

We'd love to know what you think.


“The most consistent intelligent wide-ranging committed press I know – Kaya is an example of how to turn ‘small’ books into literary arrows that shoot straight and true into the heart of our culture and (of course) ourselves.”

— Junot Díaz