Asymptote’s Winter 2018 issue celebrates the journal’s 7th year and 100th language! This edition includes a Microfiction Special Feature full of glittering allegory, along with uncompromising fiction confronting today’s grim realities.
Winner of the 2015 London Book Fair’s International Literary Translation Initiative Award, Asymptote is the premier site for world literature in translation. We take our name from the dotted line on a graph that a mathematical function may tend toward, but never reach. Similarly, a translated text may never fully replicate the effect of the original; it is its own creative act.
Our mission is simple: to unlock the literary treasures of the world. (Watch a video introduction of Asymptote here.) To date, our magazine has featured work from 105 countries and 84 languages, all never-before-published poetry, fiction, nonfiction, drama, and interviews by writers and translators such as J. M. Coetzee, Patrick Modiano, Herta Müller, Can Xue, Junot Díaz, Ismail Kadare, David Mitchell, Anne Carson, Haruki Murakami, Lydia Davis, Ann Goldstein, and Deborah Smith.
In our five years, we have expanded our offerings to include a daily-updated blog, a fortnightly newsletter, a monthly podcast, and educational guides accompanying each quarterly issue; we’ve also organized more than thirty events on five continents. In 2015, Asymptote became a founding member of The Guardian’s Books Network with “Translation Tuesdays”, a weekly showcase of new literary translations that can be read by the newspaper’s 5 million followers. This means that Asymptote is the only translation-centered journal that can boast of a genuinely international readership – reaching beyond niche communities of literary translators and world literature enthusiasts.
Always interested in facilitating encounters between languages, Asymptote presents work in translation alongside the original texts, as well as audio recordings of those original texts whenever possible. Each issue is illustrated by a guest artist and includes Writers on Writers essays introducing overlooked voices that deserve to be better-known in the English speaking world, as well as a wildcard Special Feature that spotlights literature from certain regions or cutting-edge genres such as Multilingual Writing and Experimental Translation. To catalyze the transmission of literature even further, Asymptote also commissions translations of texts into languages other than English, thereby engaging other linguistic communities and disrupting the English-centered flow of information. All the work we publish is then disseminated for free via eight social media platforms in three languages, through a dedicated social media team as well as our ever-expanding network of editors-at-large in six continents.
George Bernard Shaw famously said, “If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange those ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.” It is in this spirit of sharing ideas that Asymptote invites readers to explore work from across the globe.
Incorporated neither in America nor in Europe, unaffiliated with any university or government body, Asymptote does not qualify for many grants that other like institutions receive. If you enjoy our magazine, help us continue our mission by becoming a sustaining member at just $10 a month. In return for pledging at least a year’s support, you’ll receive an Asymptote Moleskine notebook!