About Major Books
Who we are
Major Books is an independent publishing company dedicated to bringing Vietnamese literature to the English-speaking world.
Our name, Major Books – devised by our brilliant friend Alina Martin – speaks as a clear, bold, and audacious resistance against the “minor” status attributed to certain languages and their literature in the global publishing scene.
Our hope is to contribute, no matter how little, to growing awareness that there are no ‘lesser’ voices in world literature.
With the acute awareness of translation as an art form bearing immense potentials and challenges, our primary goal is to offer translations that are not only faithful but also true to the essence of the source book. Our translators, editors and illustrators, being mostly native speakers themselves, are committed to preserve the integrity and convey the originality of the author’s work.
We take immense pride in providing our authors, translators, and all stakeholders with fair and equitable compensation for their invaluable contributions, with the hope of fostering a thriving Vietnamese literature and creative ecosystems.
Between literary treasures that have been overlooked or worse, poorly translated, and brilliant pieces yet to be written, we will bring a curated selection of works from a variety of authors, periods, and genres. Ranging from critically acclaimed post-war fiction, national epic poetry, to contemporary LGBTQ+ writings, we hope to present a well-rounded portrait of Vietnam and our diverse voices.
Our team and collaborators
We consider a privilege to work with such talented individuals who share the same passion for spreading Vietnamese literature. Should you seek literature specialists, writers, translators, editors or illustrators, do not hesitate to get in touch with them!
Joshua Black is a graduate of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, where he earned degrees in Southeast Asian Studies, Languages and Literatures of Southeast Asia, and a PhD researching queer identities in Vietnamese literature of the early 2000s.
He has worked at universities in the UK and Vietnam teaching courses related to Vietnamese language and culture, British and American literature, and translation studies. He has also worked as an interpreter and translator for agencies in the UK and the USA as well as for the charities Bail for Immigration Detainees, Medical Justice, and Human Rights Watch. Other projects that he has undertaken include providing linguistic services for art exhibitions, documentaries and, most recently, translating and editing a multi-volume text on the history and culture of Vietnam.
In addition to being passionate about Vietnamese literature, Joshua’s research interests include gender and LGBTQ+ issues and refugees and forced migration. He has travelled extensively in Southeast Asia and enjoys learning new languages.
Major Books Works:
Deborah Smith yearns to support and participate in literary cultures that are liberatory, not complicit in structures of violence. This desire informed her founding Tilted Axis Press and translating from Korean, but also subsequently quitting both. These days she is feeling her way tentatively, in the uneven rhythms and nonlinear trajectories of neurodivergent living. She is grateful for every opportunity to do this work relationally.
Major Books Works:
If you you have an interest in helping us provide a more fair representation of minor literature, we would be delighted to hear from you.