Editor's Notes Featured Issue 7

Editor’s Note: Minority Voices

If you are a reader who has followed Nabillera’s path since the first issue, you may have seen our one and only Instagram post that announced ‘Summer Issue: Minority Voices’. 

Well, I am writing this on Christmas Eve. And I am not based in Southern Hemisphere. I am in London finalising the drafts, and I was in Incheon, my hometown in Korea, while planning this issue. So dear readers, I owe you a big apology. Although I meant to publish the next issue sooner than now, as you can see, there has been a delay. What happened to the past half a year? What made me stop? Even I wonder myself. 

In a way, Nabillera was published in the summer. I was lucky to curate and moderate the Korean Literature Night event at Korean Cultural Centre UK (KCCUK) under the theme of Minority Voices. There, I talked to the speaker of the night, the poet Kim Hak Jung, who is also one of our featured writers for this issue. Thanks to the generous support of Korea Disability Arts & Culture Centre, Nabillera invited him to the UK to meet international readers. The audience was interested in sharing the poet’s thoughts about why writing with a disability in contemporary Korea matters. They applauded his affirmation of life and ideas despite physical difficulties, as he asserts in his first poetry collection Genesis. It was indeed a wonderful night, being in real time and space with others after the pandemic. Feeling inspired, I wrote on my phone on my home-bound train at Waterloo: I can’t wait to work on the other pieces with the contributors. Summer Issue must happen soon…! 

Then, life happened. 

I had my first covid in September. It was inevitable because I was staying in a budget hotel with my daughter and husband back then. I knew illness would come to me any minute as I was under tremendous fatigue and stress, but I didn’t know —and perhaps didn’t want to know—that I would continue that temporary life until November. We were buying a flat first time in our life, and I was ready to embrace the hurdles as people emphasised how impossibly draining it is to buy a property in the UK. When we were first informed about the delayed construction, I shrugged and said: well, this is good. I shall write in the lobby and enjoy the breakfast buffet every morning like I am a rich digital nomad! 

But as one month became two, then three, and then four, my body and soul gave up on the pathetic optimism. The process got tedious and more and more ambiguous, clearly not in our favour. My bank account dramatically went down; swamped in worry, it seemed impossible that I recover from the aftereffect of my covid. My two-year-old daughter’s dinner was the Kebab I bought to share. She had nothing to do but watch TV all day in the room. I was worn out after countless emails, forms/documents and exhausting dynamics between whoever was involved in the process. I couldn’t help but wonder if things would be different if I were in Korea, where people speak my language and hold the same passport as mine. I hate to interpret matters in that frame, but when you feel things are not going right for you, they are not. It’s time I accepted the truth. 

The truth that I am still an outsider in this country after ten years.  

There I was, a naive foreigner on the verge of losing all the money while only trying to buy a small flat. I was typing morning and evening for Nabillera and delivering online lectures at the hotel bar, but the mood that dominated me in reality was far opposite from what I had envisioned.

So, four months. Four months have passed since the planned deadline, and I am finally writing this in a place that I can call home. I still cough, but my head is a lot clear now. I’ve been thinking a lot about the theme of the minority. Through my own experience for the last half of this year, I can say I lived, or almost embodied, the theme. I sought solace in the warm words of the contributors and their beautiful translations of the featured writers’ stories. Reading the manuscripts, I saw one thing in common:


Living as a minor is not easy. But if you take a frank approach to it, if not with a bold affirmation for your life- your condition turns into a singular story and suddenly builds a great sense of connectedness with others out there.

Following the last issue, Nabillera again introduces range of accounts, including the novel, poetry, essay and webtoon. We present Kim Han Min’s personal account of living as a vegan in contemporary Korea. We offer Kim Mela’s melancholically witty story about a child whose body urges them to stay between sexes at a young age. We also have two crystal-clear autobiographical accounts of a disability by the poet Kim Hak Jung with low vision and the deaf webtoon artist Lee Soo Yeon.
Compared to the scale and depth of the featured stories on minority voices, what happened to me could have been just called ‘drama’. But I don’t know; I have this feeling that our readers will understand. Our readers can feel how I feel. After all, we outnumber the majority of the world in terms of social power. Together, we are the ‘connected’ majority, and our voice must be heard.

Winter 2022’s Authors

Kim Mela, Kim Hak Jung, Kim Han Min, Lee Soo Yeon

Winter 2022’s Contributors

Editor-in-Chief
Eugene Kim

Editors 
Chantelle Mitchell

Reviewers
Grazia Milano
Allison Cauldwell
Seth Warnick

Translators

Beth Hong
Eugene Kim
Ji Won Park
Seth Warnick

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