Place: Uganda

Summer 2018: Dear Reader, From Our Lives We Write to You in Your Life

Happy International Translation Day—Enter Our Raffle To Win $200 In Prizes!

The finale of our #30issues30days showcase, just in time for International Translation Day! A reminder: Applications to our $3,000 contest for emerging translators and final recruitment drive of the year close tomorrow, Monday. For instructions on how to enter our $200 raffle, scroll all the way below.

Spring 2018 brings the fifth Special Feature in a row I edited since our Travel Ban Feature. By now, I am badly in need of a break. Thankfully, Aditi takes over; I present a strong Summer lineup of fiction by emerging authors and established writers alike, drawn from the Middle East, Latin America, Asia, and Europe—all united by one common theme: insomniac (because unraveling) protagonists.

Due to the fact that we collaborate virtually, Asymptote section editors work to their own schedules and assemble their lineups independently of others. This fact might surprise many, since most our articles’ countries of origin do not overlap and our pieces resonate across sections as if curated by some invisible hand. To wit: Brazilian artist Tomaz Viana’s “King of Insomnia” echoes both the sleepwalking figures in the fiction section and Cristina Rivera Garza‘s essay on clay immigrants, which, along with Mildred K Barya’s first-person account of refugeehood in the same nonfiction lineup, speaks to the same urgent, present-day issue of human displacement that Mounira Al Solh’s important work addresses.


In my editor’s note, a collaboration with Communications Manager Alexander Dickow that sometimes takes as long as three weeks to crystallize, we surface the river of connections running underneath the pieces, i.e., we sell the issue as a set greater than the sum of its parts.

Wouldn’t releasing one new article every two days instead make more sense? someone once suggested to me. Perhaps that would be the strategic thing to do—and we would have no problem transitioning to such a schedule, since we are already publishing 45 articles every 90 days—but to what end?

As I pointed out before, an abundant table of contents such as the one that greets readers coming to our landing page for the first time better fulfills world literature’s promise of adventure: there’s the frisson of juxtaposition, for one. By letting pieces from different countries speak to one another, we also lay bare their universality at the same time as we advance our intercultural mission. Finally, there’s no denying that bigger issues are simply more effective vehicles of inclusivity with their greater bandwidth to accommodate underrepresented voices alongside bigger names. By dint of publication, I am inviting authors from underrepresented regions and languages to sit at the same table as their more dominant counterparts in the world literature canon. I am insisting: they belong. READ MORE…

Announcing the Summer 2018 Issue of Asymptote

Introducing our thirtieth issue, which gathers never-before-published work from 31 countries!

We interrupt our regular programming to announce the launch of Asymptote’s Summer 2018 issue!

Step into our bountiful Summer edition to “look for [yourself] in places [you] don’t recognize” (Antonin Artaud). Hailing from thirty-one countries and speaking twenty-nine languages, this season’s rich pickings blend the familiar with the foreign: Sarah Manguso and Jennifer Croft (co-winner, with Olga Tokarczuk, of this year’s Man Booker International Prize) join us for our thirtieth issue alongside Anita Raja, Duo Duo, and Intizar Husain, and our first work from the Igbo in the return of our Multilingual Writing Feature.


Weekly Dispatches from the Frontlines of World Literature

Your news from the literary world, all in one place.

This week, our Editors-at-Large bring us up to speed on literary happenings in South Africa, Central America, and Brazil.

Alice Inggs, Editor-at-Large, South Africa: 

South Africa has eleven official languages, a fact not often evident in local literary awards and publications, which generally skew towards English and Afrikaans as mediums. However, the announcement of the 2017 South African Literary Awards (SALA) has done much to change this perception.

In addition to including five contributors to narratives in the extinct !Xam and !Kun languages (drawn from the Wilhelm Bleek and Lucy Lloyd archives), a biography in Sepedi (Tšhutšhumakgala by Moses Shimo Seletisha) and poetry collections in isiXhosa (Iingcango Zentliziyo by Simphiwe Ali Nolutshungu) and the Kaaps dialect (Hammie by Ronelda S. Kamfer) have been shortlisted.