Asymptote welcomes submissions of translated poetry, fiction, nonfiction and drama; certain types of original English-language nonfiction, including literary and critical writing; as well as visual art. We also have two special features in every issue, with different requirements, specified below.
Upcoming Special Features
How to interpret the Vietnam War, and what is its legacy—fifty years on? For our Vietnamese Diaspora Special Feature in April 2015, we invite translated and original-English prose addressing this topic. We welcome both fiction and nonfiction—narratives that explore the war's legacy from a second generation point-of-view; hybrid and experimental works that test the conventions of war literature; or even writing that travels further back in time to before the conflict. Our mission is to reflect the linguistic and cultural diversity of the many Vietnamese scattered across the globe after the war and to bring to surface the many alternative literatures and histories left behind. All submissions should be sent as one Microsoft Word attachment via Submittable under “Special features” or, only if this is not possible, via email to our Vietnam editor-at-large, Hai-Dang Phan, at email@example.com. Maximum: 5,000 words.
For our January 2015 issue, we are seeking translated fiction for our Danish Fiction Feature. Our aim is to represent a spectrum of voices, from established authors to emerging new writers. The mandate is for literary writing that is revelatory, that manipulates the Danish language in unexpected ways, and most of all, important—work that deserves to be introduced to readers beyond Denmark. All submissions should be sent as one Microsoft Word attachment (as a .doc file, please) via Submittable under “Special features” or, only if this is not possible, via email to our Denmark editor-at-large, Katrine Øgaard Jensen, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please do not send us any work in Danish that has not already been translated into English, since a major part of the selection process depends on the quality of the translation. Make sure to read the guidelines below before submitting work or contacting us with questions. Maximum: 5,000 words.
Writers on Writers Feature
For the other special feature in these and all other issues, we continue to invite, as always, essays (written in English, passionately, in fewer than 2,500 words) about a relatively unknown author writing in a language other than English who deserves more attention from the English-speaking world. Rolling deadline.
The submission might include one or more works of short fiction or excerpts of a longer work translated into English. Please send no more than 5,000 words in total. Rolling deadline.
Please send up to 10 pages of poetry translated into English. If the originals are included in the submission, the length of the entire document may reach 20 pages (that is, a maximum of 10 pages of translated work accompanied by 10 pages of original material). Please start each poem or section of a long poem on a new page unless the work absolutely demands to be read without page breaks. Rolling deadline.
You may send a one-act play or an excerpt from a full-length play, in either case not exceeding 20 pages, translated into English. For full-length plays, send a brief synopsis first. Rolling deadline.
This includes genres such as memoir, despatch (reportage), travelogue and the occasional essay. Nonfiction submissions must be work translated into English, except for essays about translation, which may be written in English. To get a stronger sense of what we are looking for, go through the past articles that we have published. Send no more than 5,000 words in total. Rolling deadline.
Please send work, written in or translated into English, of no more than 8,000 words. We welcome a gamut of critical work, ranging from casual reviews to academic essays. Rolling deadline.
We welcome interview pitches. We ask that the interview be primarily about translation, or about the intersection of the issue of language and some other domain. Interviews must be in English or, if the original has been conducted in a foreign language, rendered afterwards into English. Rolling deadline.
Please inquire first, providing a URL to your portfolio website. Illustrators (including photographers) are encouraged to try for our guest artist positions by submitting a cover. (Guidelines to the cover contest can be found here.) Rolling deadline.
1. All submissions should be sent as one Microsoft Word attachment (as a .doc file, please) via Submittable or, only if this is not possible, via email to email@example.com. The Microsoft Word attachments must be labeled with the last names of the author and translator: authortranslator.doc.
2. For ease of reference, your email header should follow this format: SUBMISSION (Genre)-Submitter Name [e.g., SUBMISSION (Fiction)-James Frey]
3. Your submission must include the following:
Optional, but highly encouraged:
4. For poetry submissions, please format your submission so that each original work follows after its translation. [Translation 1, Original 1; Translation 2, Original 2, etc.]
5. Translations must not have been previously published, although the source text may have been.
6. Submissions in English (where permitted: see above) must not have been previously published.
7. Simultaneous submissions are permitted, but we ask in return that you notify us by email as soon as you learn of an acceptance elsewhere.
Asymptote is a journal that celebrates translation and world literatures. Therefore, we mainly consider work translated into English, particularly for poetry, fiction and drama. The exceptions are:
Providing the text in the original language and arranging all necessary permissions are solely the translator's responsibility. Submissions with uncertain rights issues will not be considered at all. Submissions with no source text or introductory material (for poetry) will be at a significant disadvantage versus those that do have them.
1. Rights to the work revert to the author and the translator after publication. We do hope to put out a print anthology one day (after we have recovered the costs of the website). Contributors who have been chosen for such an anthology will be queried for permission.
2. We try to respond to each submission within a reasonable period, but due to the volume of submissions we receive, we may not always be able to do so. Please query after three months if you have not heard back from us, and would like to know the status of your submission.
3. Our finances do not permit us to pay contributors at this time. If and when we obtain funding that exceeds the costs of website maintenance and the production of the print anthology, we will immediately commit to paying our contributors in future.
4. If you require further clarification on any matter, please send us a query (with the word "QUERY" included in the header) at the email address listed above.