4 April 2014



DEADLINE: Rolling Deadline

Artwork by Ghada Amer, featured in our July 2013 issue

At Asymptote, we believe that translation is all about rediscovering the world through new eyes. Over the last three years, we have been widening the boundaries of our literary vision with fresh perspectives and a polyphonic choir of voices from all over the globe. Now we're looking again to expand. If you'd like to be part of a magazine has featured writers such as David Mitchell, J.M. Coetzee, and Lydia Davis, and that has been been picked up by The New Yorker, The Paris Review, BBC, and Tosho Shimbun, check out the available volunteer positions listed below and get in touch!

UPDATE (posted 2nd June 2014): Positions still available: Communications Manager, Marketing Manager, Graphic Designer, Director of Outreach, English Social Media Manager, Video Production Assistant and Business Developer.

We seek permanent team members (and in some cases, interns) to take up positions (10-15 hours a week) in the following:


Assistant Managing Editor

As the size of our team increases, so too do our management needs. We are thus looking for a second Assistant Managing Editor to manage our growing human resources. He or she may also be asked to lead special projects. Applicants must have at least two years' experience with project management.

Chief Executive Assistant

The Chief Executive Assistant assists the Editor-in-Chief, thus helping him (and Asymptote by extension) to become more productive. Work includes, but is not limited to: uploading content, maintaining the team’s personal dossiers, drafting communications, coordinating special projects, monitoring project deadlines across all areas of the magazine.


Section Editor, Criticism

Our Criticism Section has been home to many eloquent reviews, essays on translation, and even academic essays. Applicants for this position must possess relevant experience and sharp editorial acumen.

Section Editor, Visual

Our Visual Section showcases the best contemporary visual art that intersects with text. Applicants for the candidate of Visual Section Editor should themselves be artists or curators, with a strong interest and knowledge in this subgenre of art.


We recently added new editors-at-large for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ecuador, Israel, Italy, Slovenia, Sweden and the UK. 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).

Graphic Designer

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

Communications Manager

The Communications Manager is responsible for generating all external communications (including but not restricted to press releases, mailers, newsletters and media kits). The applicant should be meticulous and possess an instinct for good copy.

Marketing Manager

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.

Director, Outreach

By the end of April 2014, we would have organized more than 20 events over five continents. Moving forward, we will need a Director, Outreach to organize future events. As well, he or she is expected to lead the publicity efforts for these events through social media and other channels.

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.

Social Media

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.



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.

Business Developer

By the end of 2014 we hope to unveil a groundbreaking 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 editors@asymptotejournal.com, 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



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:

Cape Town/Johannesburg
Los Angeles/San Francisco

That said, we are open to volunteers from any large city. To enquire further, please contact us at editors@asymptotejournal.com. We look forward to hearing from you!


15 Aug 2013


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


Contest details here.

17 May 2013



DEADLINE: 15 Jun 2013


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 editors@asymptotejournal.com with "JHK TRANSLATION PROJECT" as the subject line. Translators working with any language (except Swedish, Chinese, German and Finnish) are welcome!


1 May 2013


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 editors@asymptotejournal.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


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.

Details of the various events here:

Barcelona (Jan 25)
Beijing (Jan 17)
Berlin (Jan 18)
Chicago (Jan 19)
Islamabad (Jan 15)
New York (Jan 20)
Singapore (Jan 18)
Taipei (Feb 1)

2 Dec 2012


when you have the benefit of hindsight
Author: Lutz Seiler/Alexander Booth
First published in the Oct 2012 Issue

Author: Bidel Dehlavi/Rebecca Gould
First published in the July 2012 Issue

The Generosity of a Matchstick
Author: Reif Larsen
First published in the July 2012 Issue

Author: Marek Bieńczyk/Benjamin Paloff
First published in the April 2012 Issue

The Mausoleum of Lovers
Author: Hervé Guibert/Nathanaël
First published in the October 2012 Issue

Natura Morta: A Roman Novella
Author: Josef Winkler/Adrian West
First published in the Apr 2012 Issue

28 Aug 2012





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 editors@asymptotejournal.com.

26 Aug 2012





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 reference.


Once you have your cover, submit it to us at editors@asymptotejournal.com along with a link to your portfolio, and a brief bio. We will contact you if we find you suitable.

20 Aug 2012



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



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



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


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

Knowledge Can Change Your Fate
Author: Lee Yew Leong
First published in the April 2011 Issue

Homer's Forge
Author: Dale Peck
First published in the October 2011 Issue

I'll Be In Trouble If I Die
Author: Yoshimichi Nakajima/Sim Yee Chiang
First published in the July 2011 Issue

1 Nov 2011


The Tree
Author: Torgny Lindgren/Erika Sigvardsdotter/Bradley L. Garrett
First published in the April 2011 Issue

Knowledge Can Change Your Fate
Author: Lee Yew Leong
First published in the April 2011 Issue

A Little Essay About a Lack of Memory
Author: Anthony Luebbert
First published in the April 2011 Issue

Du Fu in Kuizhou
Author: Boey Kim Cheng
First published in the January 2011 Issue

Maybe Borneo
Author: Pura López-Colomé/Forrest Gander
First published in Asymptote's January 2011 Issue

from A Poem in the Manner of Karacaoglan
Author: Meli Cevdet Anday/Sidney Wade/Efe Murad
First published in the January 2011 Issue

At the Locks of the Void
Author: Aimé Césaire/Clayton Eshleman/A. James Arnold
First published in the January 2011 Issue

Chants for Taming the Hedgehog Sow
Author: Doina Ioanid/Florin Bican
First published in the April 2011 Issue

from In the Wood
Author: Elisa Biagini/Eugene Ostashevsky
First published in the April 2011 Issue

from Nocturnal Conversations
Author: Elisabeth Rynell/Rika Lesser
First published in the January 2011 Issue

15 Jul 2011



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.



Click here for larger image.


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.


Thank you!

4 Jun 2011



An article about Asymptote was run today in Tosho Shimbun, the Tokyo equivalent of NYRB.