Hi from Sabeena – the new Tilted Axis intern

Well the search for an intern is finally over and I’m happy to announce that the kind folk at Tilted Axis chose me! So let me tell you a little bit about myself.  I’m Sabeena, I blog about books by PoC and I’m passionate about books. But not just books for books sake. I believe that Anglophone readers deserve international literature, including beautiful, creative translations and nuanced representation. In part, it’s why I’ve wanted to work within the publishing industry for a long time, and as a publisher (perhaps rather patronisingly) once told me, ‘be the change [I] want to see.’

 Simon and Sabeena with the first copies of   One Hundred Shadows  .

Simon and Sabeena with the first copies of One Hundred Shadows.

As a young mum however, the opportunities to do so always felt few and far between. Like so many, I couldn’t afford (in any sense of the word) to offer 6 months’ unpaid time to a publishing house and didn’t have any meaningful contacts to get a foot in the door.  Instead I focussed my passion for books into a number of volunteer roles within the publishing industry and as a book blogger. As a blogger, I’ve attended many events often to be congratulated on ‘mastering English’ or my personal favourite, to mistakenly be welcomed with open arms as Ayisha Malik, author of ‘Sofia Khan is not Obliged’ (and yes, that’s happened more than once!) Publishing’s lack of diversity and international authors only further fuelled my desire to join an original and inclusive publishing house.

  Definition screen shot from my friend's dictionary!

 Definition screen shot from my friend's dictionary!

And now, thanks to Tilted Axis’s paid internship, I have.  So much of the publishing world is closed off to people like me and if publishers are sincere about diversity, they should follow TAP’s suit. After all we cannot be 'the change we want to see' if we can’t get access. I’m looking forward to my time at Tilted Axis, traditional books have for too long felt parochial and typecast; it’s time to say goodbye to universality and exoticism and I hope to play a small part in promoting creative and innovative books. In Arabic the word Muharrir, meaning writer, is the same word for liberator and I’m hopeful that Tilted Axis might just help me take a step towards finding liberation in literature.