A few months ago, we sat down with Liza St. James to talk about why we're starting a nonprofit publishing house in Oakland. Along the way, we nerded out on the importance of international literature, with loving nods to the incredible authors and translators we'll be publishing: Andrés Barba, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, Carlos Yushimito, Carol Bensimon, Lisa Dillman, Valerie Miles, and Beth Fowler. You can read the interview in full today at Guernica Daily. In the time since that conversation, Liza has joined the Transit crew as an editorial and marketing assistant. If you read her thoughtful introduction, you'll see why we're so glad to have her on board.
Guernica: What is Transit and how did you arrive at the name?
Ashley Nelson Levy: Well, that could either be a long story or a short one. The idea was born while we were still living in New York. I was writing and Adam was translating and we were noticing this kind of partition between two types of readerships: those who read domestic literature and those who read translation. In other words, those who knew Chad Post and those who didn’t. We were interested in the separation of those literary spheres, and began to wonder how to bridge the gap between them. When we moved to Oakland and the press was officially born, we chose a name intrinsic to our mission, which is to publish books that carry readers across borders and communities, through both American and international literature.
Adam Z. Levy: Embedded in the word transit, etymologically, at least, is that idea of carrying across. It’s one of the things we loved about the name. It suggested something beyond a movement between languages.