We know of many activist periodicals, but much less of young publishing houses that commission or translate literature and essays, which convey politically-active imaginaries. The three editors behind the Toulouse and Paris-based métagraphes tell us how they do it and what their goals are.
Translated from French by Nadia El Hakim.
Métagraphes is an independent and non-profit publishing house. We are three 26 year-old Black, Arab and white women, feminist and queer. We publish literature (novels, poetry, theater, etc.), as well as political essays.
We made the choice of situating ourselves and encourage the authors we seek to do the same. Indeed, we favor an epistemological approach focused on points of view and situated knowledge. We assume that, even in narratives, neutrality doesn’t exist. We always tell and relate stories from a specific place and context, and social relations influence our perceptions. In a context where minorities have first been made invisible in arts and society, and then exposed to be better stigmatized and exoticized, the reappropriation of our narratives is a major challenge. It’s about telling our story with our own words, images and codes.
We chose an association status as a legal framework for the publishing house to exist, to allow time for the books we publish to find their way to the literary landscape. Working as a company would not allow us to be consistent with our commitments since we would have to chase after figures: reach a certain number of publications per year, run the race for profits, distinguish the subjects that sell and those that don’t.
We don’t want to feel overwhelmed and caught up in a system. It’s difficult enough to thrive within capitalism, especially if we want to prioritize human relations: no hierarchy between the actors behind the books, full freedom of creation to the authors with whom we work, etc. We don’t ask for public subsidies so that we can avoid all forms of control and imposed ways of thinking. In the same logic, we don’t use crowdfunding, although we don’t necessarily have a fundamental problem with this process.