Asymptote publishes primarily translated works of fiction, poetry, non-fiction, and drama, but also runs criticism and Special Feature pieces that were originally done in English. The Special Feature changes for each issue, so please check the submission guidelines for details. For visual submissions, please email editors@asymptotejournal.com .

Where possible, we feature the works we publish in the original language alongside the translations. When using Submittable please submit the translation and in the cover letter state what you know about the rights to the original piece. Also be prepared to provide bios and a short translator's note about the piece.

For fuller submission guidelines or to submit via email, please go to http://asymptotejournal.com/submit.php.

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We’re thrilled to announce a new contest judged by J. M. Coetzee. Open to translators and non-translators alike, this contest invites essays introducing a writer working in a language other than English whose entire oeuvre deserves more attention than it currently receives from the English-speaking world. The winner and up to five runners-up will respectively receive 500 USD and 100 USD worth of prizes that includes Asymptote Book Club subscriptions.

In addition to receiving prizes, the winners will also be featured in our Winter 2020 issue, joining an exceptional roster of contributors that includes Mario Vargas Llosa, Herta Müller, Can Xue, Ismail Kadare, László Krasznahorkai, Stefan Zweig, Dubravka Ugrešić, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Anita Raja, and Sawako Nakayasu.


To apply, submit an essay between 1,000 and 4,000 words by 1 October, 2019, along with your entry fee of 10 USD. You can find the complete contest guidelines here.

“Only the hopeless things on earth are beautiful,” wrote the Yiddish poet Aaron Zeitlin in a translation of six bare, poignant lines by A. Z. Foreman, as if to reflect on the very enterprise of writing in Yiddish, a threatened language of perpetual displacement, of exuberant faith and joy. Not just a reliquary of immigrants and shtetlekh, Yiddish continues to forge its future. In addition to famous prose writers like Sholem Aleichem and poets like Abraham Sutzkever, Vidervuks (“regrowth,” a late 80s renewal of Jewish voices in Yiddish) writers such as Gitl Schaechter-Viswanath, as well as emerging post-Vidervuks writers like Haike Beruriah Wiegand, for instance, bear witness to the vibrancy of its poetry, even as its life as a language lies in continual doubt. Now spoken by perhaps two million people, this tradition amply deserves our renewed attention.

Perhaps Zeitlin also had translation in mind, another beautiful project of hopeless persistence. For our upcoming Yiddish Poetry Special Feature, Asymptote is pleased to partner with the Yiddish Book Center. We invite submissions of up to 15 pages of poetry in translation both from emerging contemporary voices, or rediscovered or established poets of the past. With your translation, please include proper documentation granting permission to publish with Asymptote. General guidelines (see below) apply. Direct queries to Special Feature co-editors Lee Yew Leong and Alexander Dickow via editors@asymptotejournal.com

Publishing new translations and daily writings on world literature and culture, the Asymptote blog looks for voice, spontaneity, and topicality in its postings. We welcome regular and one-time contributors, and publish essays, dispatches from international literary events, interviews, weekly new translations, and book reviews. Our regular features include a children's literature-in-translation column by M. Lynx Qualey, Florian Duijsens's Pop around the world, which takes a fresh look at pop music and translation, and essays about publishing literature in translation.

Variety is our bread-and-butter, so if you have something new you're itching to say, please send us a proposal. We'll get back to you with feedback within ten days: if we like what we see, we will let you know about a posting schedule shortly after that. 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.
You may include one or more works of short fiction or excerpts of a longer work translated into English, but please send no more than 5,000 words in total.
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.
For works of criticism, as well as interviews given by notable translators about the art of translation, we accept submissions written in English (although we don’t mind if an interview was conducted in a different language and then rendered into English).

Multilingual Writing Feature

Language didn't break, didn't fracture. It—stretched. It thinned out into a strange skin, translucent. It made you see the world differently. Or it thickened and reminded you you were in the thick of things: its terrors and delights, fraught agencies, cruel concentrations of power, its rivalries and absurd hierarchies. Asymptote is looking for poetry and nonfiction that explores languages such as these: plural, hybrid, rough, ab-normal, and counter-convention for a special feature in our Summer 2018 issue, slated for publication on 19 July 2018. We are interested in poetic and essayistic texts that embrace multilingualism and other forms of hybridity in genre, dialect, and register. These can be compositions in “mostly” English or translations into “mostly” English from a source text that is multilingual/hybrid. Translations as well as compositions that rely heavily on the work of others (for example, texts produced through an unconventional translation strategy) must be accompanied by a statement that appropriate permissions have been secured. General guidelines (see below) apply. Before submitting, you are encouraged to check out past Multilingual Writing Special Features in our Summer 2015 and Summer 2016 issues. Queries about this Feature can be directed to poetry editor Aditi Machado. Send us up to 15 pages of poetry, nonfictional prose, or hybrid writing by 1 June, 2018.


Writers on Writers

For our Writers on Writers feature in every issue, we continue to invite, as always, essays (written in English, passionately, in less than 2500 words) about a relatively unknown author writing in a language other than English that deserves more attention from the English-speaking world. All other requirements apply. Rolling deadline.

For works of literary nonfiction such as memoir and travel writing, submissions must be work translated into English. Despatch typically must involve some translation from a foreign language (e.g. excerpts from an interview). However, essays about translation may be written in English. We will also accept the occasional essay in English about literature that takes into account the global context we live in.


When submitting, please send a single document with the following materials in the following order: the original text, the translated text, and bios for both the author(s) and translator(s). And please use single-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font with non-indented paragraphs. 

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