The Sujet Verlag, grown and continuously blooming on Bremen soil is the success story of publisher Madjid Mohit. Fleeing from the Islamic Republic of Iran in the early 90s to live in exile in Germany, Madjid Mohit settled in Bremen where he founded the Sujet Verlag. He was acknowledged with the prestigious Hermann Kesten Award by the international association of the PEN (Poets, Essayists, Novelists) Centre in 2015. Furthermore, Mohit received the Bremen Diversity Award in the category ‘diverse public persona’ in 2018.
“Sujet” is Persian for “topic” and therefore serves as an ideal name for a publishing house which has set itself onto addressing taboo topics of Mohit’s home country, such as politics, sexuality, and modernity. The Sujet Verlag publishes volumes of poetry with a focus on modern Iranian lyric, as well as novels and non-fiction books.
However, the publishing house’s distinctive characteristic is “aerial-root literature” – a poetic expression for transgressive literature which can not and does not seek to be pressed into narrow definitions or terminologies.
In contrast to the negative connotation of the term exile-literature, ‘aerial-root literature’emphasises the enriching aspects of living in exile. Instead of a wistful, melancholic view on home and lamentation, it centres around personal experiences of life in different cultures. ‘Aerial roots’ do not adhere to borders, but grow beyond themselves, not anchoring themselves in one place, but many. They are alive, versatile, and interact with their surroundings.
People take ‘aerial roots’ too. They travel, emigrate, and flee. People leave their home countries behind in order to find a new home. As they do not belong to just one place only any longer, but multiple, they grow a more complex cultural identity. The term “aerial-root” combines global movement with native rootedness. What on the surface seems to be oppositional is closely related and represents authors lived realities, who shape a form of literature which has ‘aerial roots’ itself. ‘Aerial-root literature’ authors do not live between cultures but within them. Their literary work functions by means of cultural communication and seeing things differently. Thus, ‘aerial-root literature’ offers the reader a change of perspective and invites them to a transgressive, creative, and unique approach to other cultures.