Asalam-a-laikum and bula, friends! Welcome to The Djinn Reader!
My name is Shafiya Mū, although I’m also known as Yon Nyan over on my original blog, BiblioNyan. I’m an Indian-Fijian, Muslim-Buddhist, Queer, Trans Nonbinary, neurodivergent human that absolutely adores books of all sorts, especially #OwnVoices Asian literature. Even though I currently run a semi-successful space for bookish and otaku content, there were two main reasons that eventually led to my choice of beginning anew with The Djinn Reader. I’d like to share them with you today, along with my plans for this book blog moving forward.
Firstly, I am extremely passionate about diversity in literature and I felt that the message of what diversity means to me as an individual of various marginalised backgrounds was starting to become buried underneath the vehemence of pop culture offered at BiblioNyan. I don’t regret what BiblioNyan has become because it has helped me to evolve my pursuits while also embracing my many interests without apology. It’s also helped me to come out of my introverted shell to make new friends, while teaching me how to be a constructively critical thinker with an open mind. Nonetheless, I felt that it was time to start fresh and try something a bit closer to what I would like to accomplish one day professionally.
This brings me to my second reason; I needed to build a semi-professional portfolio of my writings for submission to any and all M.A. and M.F.A. programmes that I shall be applying to within the upcoming year or so. Since blogging has become somewhat of a forte of mine, using a blog platform seemed like the best way to create this portfolio. Since I am obtaining a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in English Literature with a minor in Asian Studies and my current aspiration is to get my graduate degree in Literature or Creative Writing, having a dedicated platform for Diverse literatures became the most appealing option.
With regard to why I shall only be focusing the content offered on The Djinn Reader to #OwnVoices diverse books, including Queer literature only, well, it’s simple really: as a Queer, Asian person, having authentic representation in literature of my culture, beliefs, heritage, and more is indescribably validating and incredibly important, and makes me understand how extremely vital such representation in literature is for all sorts of individuals. It is something that I would like to celebrate and continue to promote as much as possible in publishing. While the number of diverse books are growing year by year, the offered titles are still significantly low when compared to other groups, or they all fit specific expectations from non-diverse readers. For example, Asian individuality doesn’t abide via a single monolith of identity. There are many different sorts of people who identify as Asian with innumerable experiences, including the experiences of Asian diaspora and Queer Asians. Raising awareness for our existence and advocating for Queer and Asian equity in literature is a life-long passion of mine. It’s why I’m studying the subjects that I do in the pursuits of the degrees mentioned. The same exact thing can be said for Black, Polynesian, Indigenous identities as well, just to name a few.
I also hope to become a published author of #OwnVoices Queer and Asian narratives myself, as well as an educator of Asian cultures and literature. Being able to think and speak critically about these books and being able to have healthy discourse about it in the classroom with students and fellow educators is a critical step towards that dream of obtaining equal representation within the publishing and academic worlds, as well as within local communities within these marginalised groups.
I hope that you will join me on my journey of travelling on magical and enlightening narrative adventures via diversity in fiction. As I’ve mentioned, this is a professional portfolio for my Master’s applications, but it is also very much a project that is near-and-dear to my heart and everything that I am as a Queer, Asian-Polynesian person. Let’s read together and celebrate the differences that make us all so unique and vibrantly beautiful.
There was originally going to be a blog schedule for The Djinn Reader, however, with current University obligations and being overwhelmed with professional projects, there is currently no set schedule for this blog. My ultimate goal is to create a consistent posting timeline in the upcoming Summer to Autumn seasons. Thanks for being patient with me while I finalise this element.
All thoughts and discussions shared here shall be my own, unless otherwise stated or noted. Since I am a Muslim-Buddhist and being both of these things are very important to me, I may occasionally have discussions about my faith on this space, especially if they relate to books that I have been reading (an example would be musings on Islam after completing The Daevabad Trilogy by S.A. Chakraborty, or feelings on Buddhism after reading The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa, to name a couple). This also extends to discussions on mental health as I am a neurodivergent human (I’m on the Autism spectrum and I have mental health conditions; I’m relatively open-minded about these things, so if you’d like to chat about mental health, whether for advice or comfort, please don’t hesitate in contacting me at the e-mail address listed below), and raising awareness for mental health is something I am also quite passionate about.
If you have questions or concerns, and don’t want to drop them in the comments below, please feel free to e-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org (thedjinnreader at gmail dot com).
Thank you so much for taking the time to visit me today and for reading through my welcome post! I look forward to sharing diverse content with you all.