Dedicated solely to queer feminism, Oomzicc is an independent publishing company that took its first step in 2015 with just two members, co-chief editors Roh Yu-da and Na Naz-zam. They started to publish books independently on this specific topic because of the limitations they had experienced while working with traditional book publishing industries.
“At the time we started our company, almost none of the other publishers showed sensitivity toward queer feminism,” Roh said. “Other editors also seemed to have a bias that books on queer feminism could not reach the break-even point, but we didn’t give up our author and editor careers. Rather, we used our talents as a form of protest and created our own publishing company where we can present books that we think deserve attention.”
The two editors explained how the name of the publisher “Oomzicc” comes from the pure Korean word for verb.
“We wanted to name our company based on Korean not only because of our interest in pure Korean words but also for its meaning,” Na said. “Verbs are not only for physical movements but also involve writing, reading, drawing and other art forms. We want to use our verbs to make another movement: a step towards change.”
When asked how the company finds the books they want to publish, considering the topic of queer feminism to be relatively rare, they explained that they mainly investigate books by feminist authors that they respect. However, they recently published a type of book that has a different gist compared to their previous books for a change.
“In August, we released Queer Astrology for Women by Jill Dearman,” Roh said. “This book is unlike other books that deal with serious issues about gender inequality or prejudice toward the queer community. Rather, it is mildly humorous and practical as it talks about fortune telling while focusing on women. We thought that it could help the readers cheer up and break away from reality for just a moment. We also wanted to show that there is a wide spectrum of genres in queer feminism.”
Running a company with only two members can be a challenge. However, the two claim that despite the hefty workload, every moment is precious to them.
“Because we are doing what we truly want, every moment is meaningful to us,” Na said with a smile. “Not being able to work is our worst nightmare. We find meaning in our job especially when our readers come up to us and show their support.”
Even though they are firmly pursuing their goals of publishing queer feminist books, they showed concern over how this topic is often considered as a mere trend.
“We don’t think that queer feminism should be considered “special” because it is an identity, just like that of anyone else,” Roh said. “If this identity is solely consumed as content and nothing more, it may be discouraging in the long-run.”
However, by introducing these books into the Korean publishing industry, they aim for a change of perspective.
“We think that if more people keep reading our books, they will have more people to discuss how their perspectives have changed or their own relevant issues,” Roh said. “We hope that this small change will bring about a bigger one in which the world becomes a better place for women to live.”