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 Feature
Indian Language Literature Feature
Our January 2017 issue will unveil our first Special Feature on Indian language literature! We seek previously unpublished English translations of Indian language work by contemporary writers who are disenfranchised and underrepresented by the hegemonies within Indian society.
Ever since its last general election in 2014, India has been subsumed by heated political arguments about the rights and systematic persecution of minorities and minoritized voices. Writers have been victims as well as dissidents in this conflict. Karnataka and Maharashtra saw targeted attacks on “rationalist” and Dalit writers. In Tamil Nadu a writer publicly declared he’d give up writing, when his book faced right-wing demands for censorship. Across the country, from Punjab to Gujarat to Kerala, writers returned their national honors in protest.
Our goal, for this Special Feature, is to honor the social and political agency of Indian language literature, and create a space for the ideas and literary talent of those writers that have been historically marginalized by India’s patriarchal, caste-based narrative. We are looking for works translated into English from any Indian language, on any topic, by any writer who resists or is excluded from this narrative due to caste, gender, sexuality, religion, or geography.
We welcome up to 15 pages of single-spaced poetry and double-spaced prose (fiction and nonfiction), and up to 20 pages of drama (one-act or excerpted). Although it is impossible for one special feature to fully represent the astonishing breadth of Indian languages, cultures, politics, and landscapes, we hope in this small way to celebrate the diversity and dissent within Indian writing.
All submissions should be sent via Submittable under “Special Features” or, only if this is not possible, via email to India Editors-at-Large Poorna Swami and Naheed Patel. Please read the general guidelines below before submitting work or contacting us with questions. Spread the word!
Deadline: November 1, 2016
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.
We publish reviews of (usually recently published or forthcoming) titles translated into English. If you are interested in reviewing for us, please email firstname.lastname@example.org suggesting some potential titles, and links to your previously published work. We also publish essays by translators about their experience translating a particular work, and occasionally essays about translation or world literature more generally. These should be between 1,500 and 3,500 words, and can be submitted via Submittable, along with a short biographical note. 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:
- The original work and the translation (where applicable).
- A statement granting us permission to publish both the original work and the translation online, as well as declaring that you are in a position to grant us such rights (i.e., that you have the author’s permission—or the translator’s, if you are the author—and his/her publisher’s, if required).
- Biographical notes, written in the third person, for both author and translator(s), beginning with the name, no longer than 150 words per bio.
Optional, but highly encouraged:
- A short write-up providing context and discussing the challenges of this particular translation; fewer than 300 words.
- An MP3 recording of a reading of the original non-English-language text (for poems and shorter pieces) or an excerpt of the original text (for longer work).
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:
- Criticism and essays about world literature and translation
- Writers on Writers Features
- Our English Fiction Feature (usually in our April issue) and our English Poetry Feature (usually in our October issue)
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.