The Best Literary Translations 2024 Anthology: Call for Submissions from Deep Vellum
Submissions open: October 15, 2022, to January 2, 2023
~ for translations published during 2022
~ early submissions encouraged
At midnight on October 15, Deep Vellum will begin accepting nominations for the inaugural edition of an exciting new anthology initiative: The Best Literary Translations 2024. The co-editors are honored to showcase literary translators’ work to make possible literary encounters from around the world for the English-language reader. This anthology will be an annual edition.
The Best Literary Translations (BLT) has arisen out of a tangible public demand for inclusive and transparent cultural conversations. The past couple of years have brought an urgent emphasis on listening to underheard voices from cultures around the world, acknowledging who speaks and how, and naming the people who make our global literary conversations possible. BLT will offer the best of global literature in English-language translation, presenting an opportunity to expand the audience for world literature. It will deepen public knowledge and understanding of the translation process and give translators working today the recognition they deserve. This anthology will help redefine the canon of world literature and challenge the perception that only Anglophone literature matters in the cultural conversation.
For this anthology, the co-editors are seeking works of poetry, short fiction, literary essays, and hybrid-genre texts, translated into English from any language(s) and published online or in print in a US or US-affiliated literary journal or magazine during 2022. Journals and magazines are invited to nominate for consideration up to seven pieces that they have published in this time frame while individual translators may nominate up to two of their own pieces published in the same period.
The BLT co-editors are grateful to all literary journals and magazines that nominate translations; there will be a list of nominating journals included in the anthology.
Unpublished or self-published translations, translations that have appeared only in book form, and translations published outside the US or US-affiliated publications are ineligible. (Please see FAQ #11, below.)
The co-editors have a broad definition of “translation” and admire both “traditional” translations (those rendered so seamlessly into English that they seem to have been first written in it) but also more conceptual or experimental approaches to translation, especially where they reveal the often fraught and complex relationships between languages and cultures.
The co-editors especially welcome translations into English from underrepresented languages and work by women, LGBTQ+, and BIPOC translators, as well as from literatures that represent languages, cultures, and communities that have been minoritized.
Please make your nominations through Submittable. The Submittable page will also ask you to complete a questionnaire (Google form) that is a required part of your submission. Both are important to completing your application. Thank you for your interest in and support for the Best Literary Translations 2024.
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FAQ – The Best Literary Translations 2024
- What is Best Literary Translations?
BLT is a new and exciting project that aims to showcase the best of literary translations into English from around the world, annually in book format. It is co-edited by Noh Anothai, Öykü Tekten, Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún, and Wendy Call. The inaugural guest editor for BLT 2024 is poet, essayist, and translator Jane Hirshfield.
- Who can submit to the Best Literary Translations? What kind of work is eligible for consideration?
For the inaugural issue of The Best Literary Translations in 2024, the co-editors seek works of poetry, short fiction, literary essay, and hybrid-genre texts translated into English from any language(s) and published in US literary journals during 2022. Prose submissions are limited to 3,000 words. Drama, graphic, and illustrated works are not eligible. Translations that have already appeared in book form or are scheduled to appear in book form before June 15, 2024, are not eligible.
Journals can nominate up to seven pieces, while individual translators may nominate up to two of their own pieces for consideration. (Please see complete submission details at Submittable, and below in this document.)
The co-editors have a broad definition of “translation” and admire both “traditional” translations (those rendered so seamlessly into English that they seem to have been first written in it) but also more conceptual or experimental approaches to translation as well, especially where they reveal the fraught and complex relationships that languages and cultures often have between them.
- When will the Best Literary Translations be published?
Publication by Deep Vellum is currently scheduled for Spring 2024. That date is subject to change.
- How will submissions be selected for the anthology?
The four co-editors will consider all submissions, creating a longlist, which will then be given to Guest Editor Jane Hirshfield, who will make final selections for the inaugural edition.
- Will translators be compensated for their work appearing in the anthology? What rights will the translator and author retain?
Each translator will receive an honorarium of $150. Original authors will not be compensated, as this anthology is intended to celebrate the art of translation and originals will not be published. Translators will be responsible for communicating with authors to secure permission for the English translations to appear in the anthology. Contributing translators will receive one copy of the anthology and can buy additional copies at a discount.
- How often will the Best Literary Translations be published?
The inaugural edition will appear in Spring 2024, and the co-editors intend for it to be an annual publication.
- Can I submit unpublished translations or translations that appeared in book-form?
No. For this project, the co-editors require only submissions that have been published in a US-based serial publication (print or online), but not in book form.
- Do I need to secure rights from the author of the original work before being selected?
The co-editors work from the assumption that the translator, having already published their translation, has previously secured English-language translation rights to the original work if it is not in the public domain. The editors will not be able to assist the translator with securing copyright permissions.
- Will the original author of the work be compensated?
The compensation for publication will be to the translator. See earlier question about securing rights.
- Is the Best Literary Translations affiliated with World Literature Today or the American Literary Translators Association?
No, BLT is an independent project published by Deep Vellum. World Literature Today’s editor in chief, Daniel Simon, has generously served as consulting editor for this project. The American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) has formally endorsed this project – for which the co-editors are very grateful!
- Why the focus on “US” translators and publications for BLT? Who is considered “US” or “US-based/affiliated”?
Since one of the objectives of this project is to encourage US journals to publish more and/or more broadly in translation, as well as to increase recognition for translators in the United States – where less than 3 percent of books published annually are from other languages – the co-editors are focusing on US-identified translators and US-based/affiliated journals.
However, the editors are not dogmatic in their definition of what it means to be “US.” Submitters may decide for themselves whether they identify as a “US translator” – this might be based on where they live or have studied/worked. It is certainly not based on “legal” or “official” nationality.
To be considered a US-based/affiliated journal, it should have at least one member of its masthead or editorial team identify as a “US editor” and should have a significant US readership.
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Complete Submission Guidelines
Poetry, short fiction, literary nonfiction, and hybrid-genre works translated from any language(s) are eligible for submission.
Early submissions are strongly encouraged!
Acceptable file formats are .DOC, .DOCX, or .RTF.
Only two works may be self-nominated / submitted by each translator. Up to seven works may be nominated / submitted by each literary periodical.
Honorarium payments and contributor copies of the anthology can only be sent to US accounts/addresses.
Translators will need to confirm that they have permission from the author to publish the submission, should it be chosen, in this anthology. For chosen works, translators will need to secure the written permission of the author or their estate, or provide evidence that the work is in the public domain.
Unpublished or self-published translations, translations that have appeared only in book form, and translations published outside the US are ineligible.
Final selections for the first volume will be made in mid-2023, and selected translators will be notified shortly thereafter.