Why You Should Submit Arabic Literature (in Translation) to ‘The Offing’

Ron Charles of The Washington Post recently profiled the new Los Angeles Review of Books-spinoff literary journal The Offing in “Who Needs Another Literary Journal?:

offingCharles asks, in part: “You say you ‘support work by and about those often marginalized in the literary conversation,’ but are such people (women, people of color, LGBTQIA) actually marginalized in the literary community in which your journal exists?”

And then later, he asks: “Can I challenge your definition of ‘marginalized’? Eileen Myles is a Guggenheim fellow. Francine Harris is published by Alice James. James Hannaham is published by Little, Brown and lauded in The Washington Post. And Juan Felipe Herrera — well, don’t get me started. These are not marginalized people, are they? They’ve very successful.”

You can read editors’ answers here. In any case, I suppose if The Offing were only interested in Anglophone literature from celebrated US authors from oppressed communities, then it would be moving into a relatively well-trafficked space.

But according to The Offing translations editor Amanda DeMarco, the magazine has a particularly strong commitment to publishing a very-much marginalized literary form: translations.

What about translations from beyond the triumvirate of French, Spanish, and German?


As far as translation “beyond the triumvirate” goes specifically, my philosophy is extrapolated from the general Offing approach: we believe that the right thing to do is to produce a diverse magazine; but it’s also the best thing to do in terms of quality. You don’t get the best submissions by ignoring large groups of writers, even and especially if those groups are often ignored elsewhere. I want to produce a magazine that I feel ethically and aesthetically 100 percent positive about, and on both accounts I want the broadest range of submissions possible.

Why should this venue be of particular interest to Arabophone writers and Arabic-English translators?

I think we’re an attractive venue for Arabic-language writers and their translators for exactly the same reasons that we’re attractive to English-language writers. I would encourage them to check out the amazing pieces we’ve already published, all of the great people associated with our editorial staff and advisory boards, the strength (after just one week!) of our social media presence, and our affiliation with LARB—it’s a great package!

A new round of submissions opened April 1. For more, visit the website.