Feb 10, 2020

In 2015, Faye Cura started Gantala Press, “an independent, non-profit, volunteer-run Filipina feminist press.” Since then, the indie publisher has released deeply feminist books by female authors that cover intersectional topics—from the lesbian comic anthology “Ligaw-Tingin” to the Maranao recipe book “Mga Tutul a Palapa.” In keeping with its activist bent, the press donates “part of [its] earnings to projects that support the dispossessed and other victims of state violence” and with all of their sales going to “publishing projects for long-silenced communities in the margins.”

Despite its success, it still does not have its own permanent workspace. This is why the publishing house has set up a page on crowdfunding site GoGetFunding to raise funds to build its first physical headquarters—and the first feminist bookstore in the country.

“In 2020, we were able to find a place in Cubao Expo, Cubao, Quezon City where we can set up what is probably the first feminist bookstore in the country in this millennium. We see this as a valuable contribution to the dwindling spaces of learning: here and elsewhere, less and less bookshops thrive. Only a tiny fraction of these bookshops cater to the needs of women and members of the LGBTQI community. In this shared space with another art collective, we also plan to draw up a program of creative activities for women,” reads the GoGetFunding page.

Opening its first bookstore is crucial not just to the press but to the lifeblood of small-time feminist creators. As Cura noted in a talk at the Southeast Asian Studies Summer Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2018, “in the Philippines, the consignment fee in small bookstores is 30 percent. The big stores will sell your product at 40 percent consignment fee or more. That is why alternative venues like small press expos or pop-up fairs that are organized by artists and creators themselves are truly important spaces for small publishers and independent creators because the majority or all of their earnings will go directly to them.”

Aside from being a place that sells books, the store will also be a venue for workshops, talks and exhibits, “especially activities that are oriented towards oppressed, marginalized, and discriminated women: peasant women fleeing the militarized countryside, union workers on strike or widows of victims of extrajudicial killings trying to survive.” It will also hold art exhibits as well as a resource center for feminist publications. “As women, we often struggle with finding and claiming a space of our own, where we can feel safe and secure, freely create and make choices, be ourselves and see ourselves in others. A feminist bookstore can be that space,” states the press’ GoGetFunding page. 

As of writing, the press has received P50,500 of its P500,000 goal. If you wish to donate, there are two tiers of donation rewards: one piece from the publication for P1,000 donations and either a “set of Gantala publications worth P500; may be donated in your name to a school of your choice; or a Feminista shirt” for P1,500 donations.


Featured photo courtesy of Kenny Luo on Unsplash

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TAGS: feminist feminist bookstore feminist publishing gantala press indie publisher nolisoli.ph