Asymptote second annual contest for emerging translators

Asymptote’s hugely popular translation contest ‘Close Approximations’ is now open to submissions! The contest is aimed at translators at the beginning of their careers, and invites translations in three genres: poetry, fiction, and literary nonfiction.

The winner and runner-up of each category will walk away with 1,000 USD and 500 USD respectively.

In addition to winning some serious prize money, they will also be featured in our April 2016 issue, joining an exceptional roster of translators published in our pages, including J.M. Coetzee, Lydia Davis, Susan Bernofsky, Robert Chandler, Ros Schwartz, Daniel Hahn, and Howard Goldblatt.

To enter, submit between 5 to 10 pages of translated poetry or between 10 to 25 pages of translated fiction or nonfiction via the ‘Contest’ option of our Submittable page (, in the appropriate category.

We are thrilled to welcome this year’s panel of expert judges:

Michael Hofmann (Poetry) has translated numerous works from German, including Franz Kafka, Joseph Roth, Wim Wenders, Herta Muller, Thomas Bernhard, and Wolfgang Koeppen, and has published six books of poetry. He reviews for Poetry and the London Review of Books.

Ottilie Mulzet (Fiction) translates from Hungarian and Mongolian. Her translation of László Krasznahorkai’s Seiobo There Below won the Best Translated Book Award in 2014, and in 2015, she shared the Translator’s Prize with poet and fellow translator George Szirtes for László Krasznahorkai’s lifetime achievement Man Booker International Prize.

Margaret Jull Costa (Nonfiction) has been a literary translator for nearly thirty years and has translated works by such writers as Eça de Queiroz, José Saramago and Javier Marías. She has won various prizes, most recently the Marsh Award for Children’s Fiction in Translation for Bernardo Atxaga’s The Adventures of Shola. In 2013, she was invited to become a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and in 2014, was awarded an OBE for services to literature.

For full submission guidelines, please visit

Deadline for entries is December 15th, 2015.

Category: News and Events


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