OUR CAMPAIGN HAS ENDED BUT YOU CAN STILL SUPPORT ASYMPTOTE AT OUR DONATE PAGE HERE.
Goethe thought world literature important not as a mere cultural product but because it could "foster the true progress of mankind." Support Asymptote so that we can continue to back the translators who bring us world literature.
-- David Mitchell, author of Cloud Atlas
Asymptote is an online journal dedicated to bringing together the best in contemporary literature. Our mission is simple: to unlock the literary treasures of the world.
To date we’ve published authors working in 54 languages and coming from 75 different countries. These include familiar names (Haruki Murakami, Ruth Padel, Lydia Davis) and Nobel Prize winners (Imre Kertész, Czeslaw Milosz, José Saramago). We also bring you the work of great international writers who are only just beginning to be translated into English: these include Abdellah Taïa (2010 Prix de Flore), Jonas Hassen Khemiri (Obie Award, 2011) and Toh EnJoe (Akutagawa Prize, 2012).
We host poetry, fiction, drama, non-fiction, visual art, literary criticism, and interviews, and we even have a special section for essays in which overlooked non-English writers are concisely introduced. For instance, Mary Gaitskill wrote an essay for us on the Japanese crime writer Natsuo Kirino, which we then commissioned to be translated into Japanese so that Japanese readers could read it right next to the English original.
However, most of our work is in English translation, presented together with the source texts. Wherever possible we also host MP3 recordings of the original, so that our readers can experience not just the look of the original language but also the way it sounds.
“When I’m not busy saving ships from certain disaster, I’m usually translating for Asymptote Journal”.
-- Reif Larsen, author of The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet
Who We Are
Asymptote is run by a team of international editors across three continents, many of whom are translators themselves. (In fact one of our own, Howard Goldblatt, is the translator of the recent Nobel Laureate Mo Yan.) Though we don’t share a single physical office, our geographical spread gives us a breathtaking reach: we can pull the best new and undiscovered writers from every place that we are to present in our pages, issue after issue.
My name is Lee Yew Leong, and I’m Asymptote’s Taiwan-based Singaporean Editor-in-Chief. Also associated with many countries are our drama editor, Obie Award-winning Caridad Svich, born in the US to Cuban-Argentine-Spanish-Croatian parents, and our visual editor, acclaimed British visual artist Simon Morley based in South Korea.
“An almost unbelievably good international magazine.”
-- Forrest Gander, Pulitzer Prize Finalist 2012, National Book Critics Circle Finalist 2011
What We’ll Do With Your Money
As we enter our third year as a free online magazine, we are finding it difficult to continue delivering the best contemporary writing from around the world while still remaining completely volunteer-based. Our team has expanded to more than 30 people, and we need to turn semi-professional in order to coordinate all our efforts. We’ll also use the money we raise for the following purposes:
-- to hold a new international translation contest (to be judged by contributing editor Howard Goldblatt together with Eliot Weinberger, the esteemed essayist and translator of Octavio Paz, Bei Dao, and Jorge Luis Borges);
-- to partner with local literary journals around the world (such as Unitas in Taiwan, which has already worked with us to publish our recent "Sinophone 20 under 40" feature and to introduce the work of our contributor, the Lebanese author Dominique Eddé, to Chinese readers in its September 2012 issue);
-- to invest in farther-reaching publicity, so that our authors can reach even more readers;
-- to host more events and workshops around the globe (we began doing this in January, with a series of events in nine different cities around the world including New York, Barcelona, and Beijing);
-- and to fund, one day, our very own publishing arm.
What You’ll Get
By contributing to our cause, you will not only be supporting writing across linguistic and political borders, but you’ll also receive a range of our special rewards—limited-edition postcards, tote bags, unique "Famous First Lines" posters, art prints, and signed books—as evidence of our deep gratitude. We hope you have enjoyed the hard work we have put into the magazine over the past two years.
Support us by donating whatever amount you can spare or by spreading the word about Asymptote and our campaign. Help us to continue our mission in years to come!
Our most sincere thanks from Taipei, Berlin, Nijmegen, London, New York, St. Louis, Singapore, Seoul, Shizuoka, Padova, Philadelphia, Beijing, South Bend, Boulder, Ann Arbor, and Bergen.
Yew Leong Lee