Sunday Submissions: Essays Introducing Writers Unknown in English

This past week, Asymptote Journal announced a new contest, judged by J. M. Coetzee, that “invites essays introducing a writer working in a language other than English whose 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.” These prizes include, they write, Asymptote Book Club subscriptions.

The winning essays — which must be between 1,000 and 4,000 words — will also be featured in Asymptote’s Winter 2020 issue.

Essays should be sent in through the magazine’s Submittable page by October 1, 2019. They are charging an entry fee of $10 USD.

From the guidelines:

We ask that submissions be limited to introductions of writers who have not yet been translated widely into English but are generally available in their native tongue. As an example, Sappho is considered to be widely published in English so an essay on Sappho would fall outside our remit. In contrast, an author (or a poet, or a dramatist, or a creative nonfiction writer) with only a small fraction of his or her work published in English translation (or none at all) would be a perfect subject for the contest.

Submissions should not consist of reviews of any one title by the chosen subject; instead they should offer a survey of the writer’s distinctive oeuvre with an eye to piquing the interest of our readers.

Translations of the subject’s original work may be featured in the essay to give a flavor of the work, but they are neither a necessary component of the essay nor will they form a significant basis of the judging.

More details are available on the Asymptote website.