A Conversation with Vijay Shah

Inspired by the first day of the UPWeek blog tour that presented Q&A's with press staff members, we thought that it would be good time to check in with our new acquisitions editor Vijay Shah. Vijay, our newest colleague, has been at the Press since June. Below we asked him about his new responsibilities and how he's settling into his new surroundings in a new region. 

What is your role at UPM?
  • Mainly, I bring in books in Caribbean studies, African-American studies, media, literature, and comics. As soon as I joined the press, I attended the Caribbean studies’ conference down in splendiferous Grenada! With all the fine scholars that I met there, this conference is bearing much fruit.

    In addition, comics seem like such an exciting part of our culture today, the latest example being the new Thor film! So I believe it is the perfect to time to examine superheroes, graphic novels, and such. And given comic’s global scope, we are making these books quite international. 
What is your background in publishing?
What has it been like moving to the South?
  • Given my upbringing in Ohio, it has been an adjustment moving down here. Yet, without any links to the region, I believe that I am settling in, slowly but surely. So far, so good!
What experiences stand out in the state so far?
  • Well, I attended the Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference in July in Oxford, and literally live around the corner from Eudora Welty’s house. So I feel initiated into Mississippi in that sense. In addition, I have visited University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg and most recently Mississippi State University in Starkville. 
 What have you been working on recently?
  • I like scholarly publishing due to the delightful position of being in and out of academics at the same time! For example, I just returned from the American studies’ conference in Washington, D.C. There I met with scholars to discuss exciting projects which fit with our publishing strengths in African-American studies among others.
What are you excited about lately?
  • Actually, we just put into production the stellar edited collection Black and Brown Planets, which explores race and science fiction in a literary genre that often lacks people of color. There seems like more and more written about blacks in space, inspired by Octavia Butler’s imaginative fiction. I am eagerly anticipating our publication of this fascinating juxtaposition of Afro-futurism with indigenous and Latino science fiction!