WHO WE ARE:
Gantala Press (gantalapress.org) is an independent, volunteer-run, non-profit feminist small press/literary collective that started in 2015 in Metro Manila, the Philippines. We publish books, chapbooks, and zines written by women; hold writing workshops with women from various communities; and organize women-centered discussions, exhibitions, and fairs. With other collectives, we also implement fundraising campaigns for peasants, workers, and their children. A significant part of the sale of our publications goes to the communities from whom the narratives are drawn and which they ultimately serve.
Among our works are:
- Makisawsaw: Recipes x Ideas (2019), a cookbook of plant-based foods with essays on food security and sovereignty, land reform, and others. Published in solidarity with the NutriAsia Workers Union
- Talinghaga ng Lupa: Mga Tula (2019), a collection of poetry in different languages of, by, and on peasant women
- Lupang Ramos: Isang Kasaysayan (2019), an anthology of life narratives by the women peasants living in the last genuine agricultural land in Dasmariñas, Cavite
- Mamumuo: Mga Akda ng Kababaihang Manggagawa ng NAMASUFA-NAFLU-KMU (2019), a zine featuring writings by women plantation workers of Sumifru Corporation in Compostela Valley
- Daloy: A collection of writings by the Filipino migrant women of Batis AWARE (2018), co-published with Batis AWARE and the Youth and Beauty Brigade
- Lawanen: Mga Alaala ng Pagkubkob/Mga Haraya ng Pag-igpaw (2018), a collection of essays and poetry by Meranaw women on the Marawi Siege
Our annual all-women art fair/small press expo began at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in 2018 and is now being brought to regions outside the capital, particularly to Davao City in September 2019 and Iloilo City in March 2020. We have witnessed the formation of all-women art collectives or individual ventures following or coinciding with the fair.
Meanwhile, our publications are included in several “Best Books” lists and, more importantly, are being taught in literature classes in universities. We take pride in publishing women whose voices are not usually heard, such as Muslim (Meranaw) women, migrant women, or lesbians; or suppressed, such as laborers or peasants. We are currently working on projects that tackle gender-based violence, the issues of indigenous women, and climate justice.
WHAT WE NEED:
Having no headquarters of our own for the past five years, space has always been a primary concern of our group. The lack of a physical store in which to sell our books takes away up to 30% in consignment fees from potential earnings, and shipping fees for online orders significantly increase the cost of buying our books. Table or booth fees in pop-up markets sometimes give zero returns and even result to loss. All of these make it difficult for us to keep our books as affordable to as many people as possible.
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.
- It shall serve as an informal yet important resource center for/on women in the Philippines, especially since we plan to open an archive of feminist small press publications collected from the annual Gandang-ganda sa Sariling Gawa! all-women art fair and expo.
- It will make the artworks of emerging and independent woman writers and artists, and art collectives, available to the public.
- It will allow us to organize more activities such as forums, exhibitions, and workshops, 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.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
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. n this shared space with another art collective, we also plan to draw up a program of creative activities for women.
Our books, workshops, talks, events, social media accounts have probably reached or affected at least 10,000 Filipinos so far -- readers, participants, audiences, collaborators, donors -- in the Philippines and abroad. If 1,000 people give a small amount of Php 500 each, or 500 people each donate their hard-earned Php 1,000, we will have reached our goal. Your support will go to the cost of operations for at least two years, during which we seek to facilitate income-generating activities to sustain the space and the feminist work that it is able to foster. Having our monthly expenses covered for at least that period will empower our small press/literary collective to create more books and projects. It is time for us to open a space, but being women, there are multiple burdens to carry. We appeal to our sisters and allies to heed our call for collective support and action.