kaya publishes books of the asian pacific diaspora


A Letter from the Kaya Press Publisher

Can you believe that in 2019, Kaya Press will celebrate twenty-five years of existence? That’s twenty-five years of publishing Asian diasporic literature. We want to kick off Kaya’s silver anniversary year with an annual drive campaign with a goal of $10,000.00 by Dec. 31st.

I’ve worked with Kaya Press in some capacity since 1994, and throughout these years, I have made it my life’s work and guiding principle to ensure that all the books we put out are the best that they could possibly be. This has meant endless hours discussing all the details that help create a book: word choice, sequencing, fonts, cover stock, and image quality and much more. In fact, if you think about it, every book is a kind of time machine, a small bound-paper object that collates the time that it takes to write the book, the time that it takes to edit the book, to finalize all of the details that transform this object into a pleasurable reading experience.

One of the first books I worked on at Kaya was Sesshu Foster’s 1996 City Terrace Field Manual, an incredible snapshot of the city of Los Angeles, where Kaya Press is now located—proof positive of the potential for books as projections into possible futures! Just this past year, we published another Sesshu Foster title, City of the Future, named as a Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year and one of Entropy Magazine’s Best Poetry Books of 2018. Another of our authors – Ed Lin – whose first book, Waylaid, we published back in 2001, will be publishing his first young adult novel with us in September of 2018.

Our enduring relationships with our authors reflects the staying power of Kaya’s mission—to continually seek and support Asian Pacific American and diasporic authors that lead us to imagine alternative possibilities of reading, writing, and living.

Since 1994, the press has published 45 titles, with Kaya editors and authors having brought their perspectives to tens of thousands of people through our publications and participation in hundreds of events. For an independent press, this history of persistence is incredibly significant, but what’s more exciting to me is our future. We continue to push for innovative works that have never been seen before. In 2019, Kaya will be publishing a number of groundbreaking works:

Magpie Series: This new series of books opens new horizons in Korean literature in English translation by introducing exciting literary voices from Korea, past and present. On March 1, 2019—the 100th anniversary of the Korean Independence Movement—we’ll launch the first two titles, Song of Arirang, a hands-on first-person account of a Korean revolutionary in 1930s China; and Readymade Bodhisattva, the first-ever English-language anthology of South Korean science fiction anthology.

I Even Regret Night: Holi Songs of Demerara: Originally published in India in 1916, this book of songs by Lalbihari Sharma, an Indian indentured servant in British Guyana, is the only known literary work written by an indentured servant in the Anglophone Caribbean and has been translated into English for the first time by award-winning poet Rajiv Mohabir.

• Skullfuck: The Brutalist Cinema of Jon Moritsugu: Continuing our dedication to celebrating Asian and Asian American film auteurs, this dynamic memoir tells the story of Japanese American filmmaker Jon Moritsugu’s meteoric rise from angsty teenager in Honolulu to a take-no-prisoners director with a serious attitude problem. Filled with flyers, scrawled notes, film stills and more than 100 color images, this book is a surprisingly sweet peon to the power of love.

• David Tung Can’t Get a Girlfriend Until He Gets Into an Ivy League School: Kaya’s first YA novel by Ed Lin follows a New Jersey high school student as he navigates the stress of multiple social circles (regular school in an upscale, Asian-majority burb versus weekend Chinese school in working-class NYC Chinatown), parental pressures to get As, and the fear he will die alone, whether or not he gets into Harvard.

I am so proud to have been here to build Kaya Press for a quarter of a century. Looking forward, however, this coming year will be about securing a legacy for Kaya for the next twenty-five years.

A thriving independent press like Kaya needs the support of a community of readers, advocates, and donors. In short, we need you — our network of supporters — to help us continue to move diverse literature forward. Have you been inspired by progressive, experimental Asian American and diasporic literature recently? Do you feel that our mission of resistance is worth celebrating and supporting?

We are asking you to support Kaya Press today and help us reach our goal of $10,000.00 by Dec. 31st. Thanks to some early support, we’ve already raised $2000.00, and we need your help to get the rest of the way to our goal. Donate today and become a patron of outstanding independent literature.

Thank you,

Sunyoung Lee

Publisher | Kaya Press

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