At Nine Worlds, I purchased a copy of Zen Cho’s beautiful collection entitled Spirits Abroad, published by the Malaysian press Buku Fixi. I was struck by the publisher’s manifesto, which appears on the back of the flyleaf. In this manifesto, the publisher states:
We will not use italics for non-American/non-English terms.
The publisher then goes on to say: “Nasi lemak and kongkek are some of the pleasures of Malaysian life that should be celebrated without apology; italics are a form of apology.”
Reading this and considering italics as a form of apology, I find myself thinking of writers coming from countries that have endured colonization, from countries where English is an imposed tongue. I find myself asking: do we really need to explain everything to the imagined Western reader? I think of italics, apologies and explanations, and the connecting line between these words.
If we have read and consumed work from writers from the West without complaint, if we have gone that extra step to fully engage with that work, surely we can trust that those who seek out our stories will also take that extra step to meet us halfway. Movements: Translations, Mother Tongue, and Acts of Resistance by Rochita Loenen-Ruiz (via gayperson)