I discovered Asymptote, an international journal dedicated to “literary translation and… the best in contemporary writing,” in 2011, when it launched. And I’ve been a fan of this quarterly publication ever since. Issue after issue is full of never-before-published work by established and emerging writers and translators. In four years, Asymptote has published stories, essays, poetry, drama, reviews, and conversations from 95 countries and in 67 languages.
Asymptote was conceived in Singapore. Founding editor Yew Leong Lee is a writer and video artist who has lived in the United States, France, and China. He is the author of three hypertexts. The print version of one of them, “Gross Domestic Happiness”, won the 2003 James Assatly Memorial Prize for Fiction at Brown University. He also holds an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School. Currently he is translating a book of poems by Jing Siang Hai, as well as finishing On a Scale of 1:∞, a collection of poems. Do not miss his 2007 New York Times Magazine Lives essay, “Cold Currency.”
Asymptote‘s Indiegogo campaign is currently ongoing and the journal is only 35% towards its goal of US$25,000. I made a contribution this weekend; will you? Funds will be used to bring readers more in-depth coverage of world literature, develop an educational arm so that teachers around the world can incorporate Asymptote into their lesson plans and cultivate a love for world literature in the next generation of readers (excites!), support a new podcast, and organize more events around the globe to promote world literature and translation.
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New York City friends, you might want to check out Asymptote’s fourth anniversary celebration, “Why Retranslate the Classics?”, on January 17 at The New School. Three contemporary literary translators will discuss their work retranslating the classics of Western literature. Susan Bernofsky (Kafka’s The Metamorphosis), Edith Grossman (Cervantes’s Don Quixote), and Damion Searls (the Paris Review Daily’s language columnist) will consider why new translations of classic texts are needed.