There are many metaphors for translation, but our current favorite describes it as dancing with the original author, all the while trying to stand on her feet. Now, we're not sure whether that sounds painful or fun, but the reason we mention is that we'd like to have some more people join our dance, join us in bringing world literature to the world. The video below explains who we are and why we do what we do that has already been picked up by The New Yorker, The Paris Review, BBC, andTosho Shimbun. Think you have something to contribute? Check the available volunteer positions below and get in touch!
We seek permanent team members (and in some cases, interns) to take up positions (10-15 hours a week) in the following:
The Blog Editor will be working closely with our existing Blog Editor to ensure a daily stream of great content at our blog. The job will mostly consist of planning, commissioning and editing new translations/writing related to world literature.
Have a great idea for a monthly or fortnightly column related to translation or world literature? Pitch it to us, with writing samples. Queries welcome.
Section Editor, Writers on Writers
Since our debut in January 2011, we have published more than 60 essays under the aegis of our Writers on Writers (WoW) Feature connecting readers to deserving writers that have largely been overlooked by the English-speaking world. The new WoW Editor will continue this tradition by commissioning and editing high-quality WoW essays about authors from all corners of the world. Only applicants with editing experience and good literary taste need apply.
Section Editor, Criticism
Our Criticism Section has been home to many eloquent reviews, essays on translation, and even academic essays. As with the WoW editorship, applicants for this position must possess relevant experience and sharp editorial acumen.
We recently added new editors-at-large for Argentina, Australia, Nepal, Norway and the UK (see current masthead here). We'd like to extend our network even more to ensure a constant stream of quality content from underrepresented regions. We welcome applicants from other parts of the world especially but not limited to: Africa, the Middle East, Australia, Latin America and Southeast Asia. Editors-at-large also help to promote our journal locally, explore partnerships with local journals and even organize events (though the last is not a necessary requirement).
The Graphic Designer (or Intern) will work closely with our editor-in-chief and communications team for any graphic design needs, including liaising with each issue's guest artist on illustrations. Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator skills (as well as access to the actual programs) required. Please submit a portfolio along with your application.
Communications, Marketing and Outreach
The Communications Manager is responsible for generating all external communications (including but not restricted to press releases, mailers and media kits). The applicant should be meticulous and possess an instinct for good copy.
The Marketing Manager (or Intern) will promote Asymptote globally, via strategic ad placements and partnerships with literary journals, bookstores and other institutions from around the world. He/she will also look for ad buyers for the aforementioned blog.
Video Production Assistant
The Video Production Assistant will help our current Video Producer to conceptualize and produce the video trailer for each issue as well as other videos (e.g. website primer, videos for an Indiegogo campaign). Examples of past videos can be found here. Please submit some video samples along with your application.
An important part of Asymptote's operations is organizing events and bookstore partnerships in the "real world" to promote international literature. Applicants for the position of Director, Outreach must be resourceful, knowledgeable about the literary scene and passionate about our cause, and most crucially: have the ability (and time) to stay on top of things.
Assistant Director, Outreach
The Assistant Director helps the Director with all Outreach efforts.
The two $1,000 winners of our first-ever translation contest, Close Approximations, judged by Eliot Weinberger (Poetry) and Howard Goldblatt (Fiction), will shortly be announced in our January issue. As we enter our fourth year, we are looking to hold a second edition of Close Approximations. The Contest Coordinator will liaise with both judges and participants (prospective or actual), take care of administrative matters related to the Contest and work with the Communications team to promote the Contest.
English Social Media Manager
The English Social Media Manager is responsible for generating social media content for the journal on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Riffle; he/she will establish a unified public "voice" for the journal. The applicant should have experience with or show aptitude for generating exciting copy.
Spanish Social Media Manager
Same as above, but in Spanish.
Chinese Social Media Manager
Same as above, but in Chinese.
The Fundraiser will help with any and all fundraising activity (at Events, through our annual Indiegogo campaign, and via appeals to grant-giving organizations) and will receive a small commission for any funds he/she successfully raises. We prefer to work with connected fundraisers with some level of experience under their belt. Send us a query if you would like to know more before applying.
By mid-2014 we will be unveiling a breath-taking new project that is fully aligned with our goal of stimulating the transmission of literature. We seek a business developer (ideally with some experience in Internet-related publishing) to help us conceptualize and implement a sustainable business model for this side project; this will enable us to keep Asymptote free to our readers after the next year.
All Asymptote staff work from home and communicate via email and gmail or Skype chat.
To apply for any of these unpaid positions, please send a cover letter explaining why you'd like to join our team and a copy of your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org, with "APPLICATION:" and the position you're applying for in the subject line. Take note that all positions will start out as 3-month orientation 'internships,' during which they will get to know the journal and their fellow team members. After this orientation period we will evaluate their performance together and determine their future role with Asymptote.
If you're driven and passionate about international literature, send in an application today!
15 Oct 2013
CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS TO HELP WITH THIRD ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS IN JAN 2014
DEADLINE: 1 Dec 2013
Our third anniversary is coming up in Jan 2014 and we are looking to celebrate in a royal way! Our second anniversary saw a global celebration in eight cities across seven countries, featuring such wonderful writers and translators as Cole Swensen, Reif Larsen, Adam Sorkin, not to mention our very own contributing editors Howard Goldblatt and Aamer Hussein.
For Jan 2014, we already have confirmed events in these following five cities: New York City, Boston, Zagreb, Taipei and Berlin. But we want to do more!
We are looking for passionate volunteers to help us plan an Asymptote celebration in your city. You would work closely with our dedicated Events crew to shape an event centered on translation or world literature. The event can be large or small, feature multi-speaker panels, present an academic talk or a reading, be a dialogue between one speaker and the audience and/or even include live music and video in a casual environment. You get to have a say in what your city will see!
Responsibilities for event volunteers include brainstorming, coordinating, and communicating with Asymptote staff for the selection of a venue and speaker(s), among other logistical necessities. On the day of the event itself, you will have to be present to oversee its smooth functioning. The rewards are limited only by your own passion and imagination.
If you currently live in the following cities, we especially want to speak to you:
Los Angeles/San Francisco
That said, we are open to volunteers from any large city. To enquire further, please contact us at email@example.com. We look forward to hearing from you!
15 Aug 2013
ASYMPTOTE WELCOMES NEW STAFF MEMBERS
We would like to extend a warm welcome to all our incoming team members.
Aaron Kerner (former editor of Dalkey Archive Press) will join our staff as Special Feature (“Writers on Writers”) and Criticism editor. Brother Anthony of Taizé (translator of Ko Un), Ellen Elias-Bursac (translator of Dubravka Ugrešić) and Francis Li Zhuoxiong (Golden Melody Award winning lyricist behind the Mandarin 2010 World Cup song) will be joining as Contributing Editors. Seasoned staff member Florian Duijsens is now our Senior Editor. Tara FitzGerald (former Reuters correspondent) is incoming Managing Editor (Content).
József Szabó (co-editor of WritersNoOneReads.com) is our new Technical Manager, and Susan Lin (former art director at Eleven Eleven) is our new Graphic and Web Designer. Taking on executive assistant roles (in English and Chinese) are Alex Sham (English) and Charlie Ng Chak-Kwan (Chinese). We are also thrilled to welcome Lauren Burchfield (USA) as our Events Planner.
Apart from these new appointments, we are pleased to announce an important new role on our masthead: Editor-at-large.
Editors-at-large, with their fingers on the pulse of local literary scenes everywhere, act as radars for the best new content (especially from underrepresented regions and languages) to introduce to Asymptote readers. As well, these far-flung ambassadors of our magazine will be cementing Asymptote’s presence in local communities via outreach events (such as readings and panel discussions) as well as through bookstore and journal partnerships. These activities are aligned well with our mission to raise the profile of world literature everywhere at the same time as we bring about a more inclusive “world literature”.
New editors-at-large joining our team this year are:
Daniel Medin (Paris), the senior editor of The Quarterly Conversation and a director of the Center for Writers & Translators at the American University of Paris, where he co-edits the Cahiers Series;
Christina E. Kramer (Macedonia), the translator of Goce Smilevski’s award-winning Freud’s Sister, and recipient of a NEA Fellowship for her translation of The Path of the Eels by Albanian writer Luan Starova;
Ágnes Orzóy (Hungary), founder and editor of Hungarian Literature Online, the main portal providing English-language coverage of the Hungarian literary scene.
Julia Sherwood (Slovakia) translator of Daniela Kapitáňová’s Samko Tále’s Cemetery Book and co-founder of “Slovak Literature in English Translation.”
Rahul Soni (India), translator of Shrikant Verma’s Magadh and founder of Pratilipi Books.
Alex Cigale (Central Asia), poet and translator, just returned from a two-year post at the American University of Central Asia in Kyrgyzstan.
Maureen Shaughnessy (Argentina), a translator of Hebe Uhart and Luis Nuño as well as an interpreter for the Foundation for Theory and Practice of the Arts in Buenos Aires.
Charlie Ng Chak-Kwan (Hong Kong), a doctoral candidate at the University of Edinburgh researching English literature.
Farzaneh Doosti (Iran), a correspondent for the Iran Book News Agency and a Persian translator currently working toward her English Language & Literature doctorate in Tehran.
Natalya Din-Kariuki (Kenya), the co-founder of the Oxford’s New African Writing Reading Group and recipient of a Rhodes Scholarship.
Nicole Idar (Malaysia), a graduate of the MFA program in Fiction from George Mason University and winner of the 2012–2013 Undiscovered Voices Fellow at the Writer's Center in Bethesda.
Ervin Felić (Croatia), graduate of University College’s Irish Drama and Literature program.
21 May 2013
ANNOUNCING ASYMPTOTE'S FIRST EVER CONTEST FOR EMERGING TRANSLATORS
Jonas Hassen Khemiri's inspiring message against racial profiling is currently the most tweeted document in Swedish history. It was first commissioned to be published in English in our current issue (see article here), and was afterwards the subject of a viral op-ed in the New York Times.
To get the message out to even more people, we asked Jonas if he would authorize us to get his 2000-word letter re-translated from the English into as many languages as we can find volunteers for. We will also undertake to look for newspapers all around the world to carry his rousing letter. (Important note: If the newspaper pays a fee, the translator can take half of it.)
We're now looking for translators to step forward for this project. If you yourself translate or know a translator who might be interested in participating, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with "JHK TRANSLATION PROJECT" as the subject line. Translators working with any language (except Swedish, Chinese, German and Finnish) are welcome!
1 May 2013
ASYMPTOTE HITS FUNDRAISING TARGET, THANKS TO YOU!
Our three-month long Indiegogo fundraiser ended on Apr 30 with a total of 20,184 USD in donations all in all coming from 231 contributors. We actually PASSED our target by 184 USD!
What this means is: we can keep going for another year, bringing you even more literature from all around the world. Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts. We couldn't have done it without you.
Please note that you can still toss us some coin at our Donate page. In fact, we would be very happy for any additional support.
A few members of the public have since stepped forward to offer backing at the 5,000 USD tier and above, with one patron even pledging to give us 5,000 USD every year. If more such patrons step forward, we will be able to secure our future beyond the next year while still keeping the editorial independence that is so important to us. Email us at email@example.com if you would like to become an official patron of Asymptote.
Goethe thought world literature important not as a mere cultural product but because it could "foster the true progress of mankind." Donate to Asymptote today so that we can continue to back the translators who bring us world literature.
4 Jan 2013
ASYMPTOTE CELEBRATES ANNIVERSARY WITH GLOBAL LAUNCH
As our second anniversary approaches, we are in the final stages of preparing a series of launch events covering eight cities and three continents. Readings and discussions are set to take place all over the globe, from New York to Beijing, featuring some of the very best contemporary writers and translators.
Reif Larsen, Asymptote contributor and author of the critically-lauded Selected Works of T.S. Spivet (soon to be a Jean-Pierre Jeunet film), heads our line-up in New York alongside poet Cole Swensen, a winner of the PEN USA Literary Award for Translation. In Chicago, Asymptote contributing editor and towering figure in Chinese translation Howard Goldblatt opens up about the challenges of translating Mo Yan's POW! in a one-to-one conversation with Paola Iovene. In Beijing, Asymptote's founder Lee Yew Leong has invited the editors of Chutzpah! (a magazine that has previously partnered with Granta) and new kid on the block Pathlight to discuss their mediating roles as editors between non-Chinese readers and the latest crop of Sinophone writers.
In other Sinophone regions, Asymptote will also be making its presence felt. In Taipei, Steve Bradbury (translator of superstar poet Hsia Yu), Darryl Sterk (Wu Mingyi) and Lee Yew Leong (Jing Xianghai) tell us about the difficulties and rewards of "Translating Taiwan". In Singapore, two gatekeepers of the local literary scene: Toh Hsien Min (editor, QLRS) and Lee Wei Fen (co-editor, Ceriph), a 2012 Singapore Literature Prize nominee (Leonard Ng) and three of the most internationally-recognized Singaporean writers (Cyril Wong, Alvin Pang and Desmond Kon) come together for a conversation about what a Singaporean 'national literature' might mean.
We are also proud to be hosting our first events in Pakistan, Germany and Spain. UK-based contributing editor Aamer Hussein flies to Islamabad for a panel entitled "Found in Translation: the very best modern writing in English and Urdu". Back in Europe, Soren Gauger joins fellow Asymptote contributors Christian Hawkey and Uljana Wolf, as well as Brittani Sonnenberg and Jane Yager for an evening of drinks and discussion in Berlin. In Barcelona, ten writers and translators (including Peter Bush) convene for a presentation of literature in English, Spanish and Catalan, accompanied by live music from Silver Lining.
The global scale of this launch is, we believe, truly unprecedented for a non-profit translation journal, and we hope you can join us in celebrating what promises to be our best issue yet.
We are looking for help with editing, proof-reading and uploading the content for our October issue as well as with publicity and fund-raising efforts. Experience with Photoshop, InDesign and HTML is helpful though not absolutely required. Enthusiasm for international literature a big plus. Interns will be working from home and communicating via email with the editors on a day-to-day basis. 15 hours a week for 3 months is the minimum commitment.
To apply for this unpaid position, send a resumé and a cover letter (explaining why you'd like to be part of our magazine) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
26 Aug 2012
ONGOING CALL FOR GUEST ARTISTS
DEADLINE: ROLLING DEADLINE
If you like our look and want to help us keep it exciting, spread the word!
We are seeking illustrators, photographers, or other visual artists to
provide artwork for our upcoming issues. If selected, you will be given 2 months
to provide 12 to 16 artworks to go with 12 to 16 articles. You may use already
completed artworks of yours or produce new ones for the article (we much prefer the latter, however). The artwork,
if not a literal illustration of the article's content, should at least relate
strongly to its mood. You will be asked to read through the
articles for inspiration. Click around our website (especially the fiction and nonfiction) to get an idea of
what will be expected of you. Each illustration will be credited; your name
will be prominently featured in our masthead and your URL linked
from our site. You will also get token gifts of appreciation
upon successful completion of the issue.
To be considered for this gig, design a cover for the magazine (boldly stamped with your aesthetic) following these guidelines: (1) The cover, at 855px by 583px, must
feature a Venn Diagram of two overlapping circles against a rectangular background. There should be no text anywhere. (2) Each circle
should contain the same object in each, but in a
different position, or form.
(3) The circles must overlap interestingly.
For the configuration of the circles, use our current cover as
Once you have your cover, submit it to us at email@example.com along with a link to your portfolio, and a brief bio. We will contact you if we find you suitable.
20 Aug 2012
GUEST ARTIST ANNOUNCEMENT
Everyone: our guest artist for the October issue is June Glasson, from the USA. We couldn't be more pleased to showcase her talent.
Her ink drawings, oil portraits and meat collages can be found on her website here. Enjoy!
16 May 2012
GUEST ARTIST ANNOUNCEMENT
It gives us great joy to announce that our guest artist for the July issue is Hong-An Tran, from the USA.
Those curious as to how the illustrations might look like can go to her photo-blog here!
20 Feb 2012
GUEST ARTIST ANNOUNCEMENT
We're thrilled to announce that the winner of our cover contest is Hugo Muecke, from Sydney, Australia.
Hugo gets to be our guest artist for the Apr 2012 issue. Check out his website here!
1 Dec 2011
ASYMPTOTE'S NOMINATIONS FOR THE PUSHCART PRIZE RELEASED
Eve Author: Allan Popa/Marc Gaba
First published in the Oct 2011 Issue
Mountain Night Author: Erika Burkart/Marc Vincenz
First published in the July 2011 Issue
Only In New York Author: Jonas Hassen Khemiri/Rachel Willson-Broyles
First published in the July 2011 Issue
GUEST ARTIST SHERMAN ONG HELPS ASYMPTOTE RAISE FUNDS
If you like the cover for the July issue, consider supporting Asymptote by buying a 60cm x 100cm fine art print of the photo used to create it which guest artist Sherman Ong is selling in an edition of five (with one artist proof). A percentage of the proceeds will go to Asymptote. Enquire within here.
As of July 2011, after more than a few appeals to various organizations, we have yet to recover costs for the website, let alone set aside money for a print anthology.
If you have enjoyed our new issue, consider donating to us at our Donate page, so we can grow as a magazine and in future even pay our contributors.
4 Jun 2011
ASYMPTOTE IS BIG IN JAPAN
An article about Asymptote was run today in Tosho Shimbun, the Tokyo equivalent of NYRB.