Aunt Lute Asks is a series that features voices in our Aunt Lute family. Today we are talking to María Mínguez Arias, the Operations Director of Aunt Lute Books.
When did you join Aunt Lute?
I joined Aunt Lute in February of 2019 when I answered a call for an Operations Director on Twitter. Yes, I got my job on Twitter. Which still blows my mind. I had just joined social media because I had published my first book the year before, and I just wanted to get out there and really support my work right. Twitter has changed my life in many different ways and this has been one of them. I was looking for a part-time job to support my writing work, but also my family life. I had been looking into education and translation and it had never occurred to me to look into publishing because English is my second language, so I never thought there would be anything I could contribute to a publisher because I don't have a perfect or superb language skills, until I saw this operations director post. I said, "Wait a second, I don't need to have a flawless command of the English language to support a press from the operation site." What I didn't anticipate is how both of my work, my jobs, have been feeding on each other. I didn't know to what point they were going to intersect. For example, working as an Operations Director at Aunt Lute is making me a better writer, but working as a writer, it's making me a better team member for Aunt Lute. I think I have a lot more to offer now. Here's like a little fun fact. I love coming to work here. Our press is based in the Mission District in San Francisco right? I work around the corner from when my mother grew up. My mother grew up... I think it's a two-minute walk from here. Immigrated to Spain in her mid-20s, had her family there, I was the firstborn. I immigrated to this country in my mid-20s, and now I am working around the corner from where she grew up so I feel like I connect to this work in this place in many different levels. I connect obviously intellectually ethically morally, but also very emotionally too because of where I'm sitting right now. So that's pretty special. How do you see literature's role in the social justice fight? I see literature as the place where we reflect on what it means to be a life, and I think that the view of that experience has been very, very narrow historically. I like to think that with my job at Aunt Lute, and also with my work as a queer woman, and a writer, and a mom writing in Spanish out of the United States.... I like to think that I'm opening up spaces for new voices and new experiences to break free from the European, white, heterosexual, male narrative and status quo of literature. Who was your Aunt Lute? I think my mother was an Aunt Lute to quite a few people. I saw the effect that she had on youth, particularly on girls and and young women. I think she's been an Aunt Lute to quite a few women. I think I can think of her as my Lute. I don't have an Aunt Lute, I have my mother Lute. What is your favorite part of radically reading or radically writing or both? Because I like to focus on the positive and the possibility for change, my favorite part of writing from spaces that have been historically underrepresented... I actually find it very freeing because I think you have no expectations when it comes to content or form or anything because you don't owe anything to anyone. You can just sit down and write and create. I think it's very freeing, and it's very liberating. I think it's very creatively inspiring. That's when it comes to writing. Now when it comes to reading work that comes from underrepresented spaces, I think what happens is, first of all I love it, I am exposed to new stories and new ways of telling stories that I've never seen before. I think through that exposure, I think my understanding of what is possible in the world becomes much richer. So it's making me better but I think it's making the world a better place too.
What are your Aunt Lute memories?
As part of our anniversary celebrations we'd love to hear your Aunt Lute memories. Whether it's a book that meant a lot to you or an event that you can't stop thinking about, share with us here.
We'll be sharing these memories as part of our anniversary celebrations.