Spark Translation Prize
About the Spark Translation Prize
The Spark Translation Prize is Alternating Current Press’ annual book award to recognize an unpublished manuscript of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, play script, or hybrid work in translation, with an emphasis on important social justice topics and themes that impact the world around us. We especially want to hear from marginalized and underrepresented people and languages, and we are an LGBTQUIA+ safe-space.
Submissions open: MAY 1, 2024
Submissions close: AUG 31, 2024
Winner announced: OCT 2024
Submissions for the 2023 reading period were due on August 31, 2023, and are now closed. We are currently reading through manuscripts and will select a 2023 award winner by the end of October 2023. The 2024 reading period will open on May 1, 2024.
The winner receives $1,000 (upon publication), our gold Spark Translation Prize digital medallion, a certificate, and book publication on Alternating Current Press, which includes distribution through Ingram and all major online retailers. Publication is in hardcover*, paperback, and ePub formats, with possible audiobook publication, as well, and includes 5 complimentary hardcover copies*, 20 complimentary paperback copies, a complimentary digital copy in all formats, and 50% net royalties. Publication also includes our standard publicity package, including a press kit, a book club reading guide, a press release, multiple mailing-list email blasts, social media, review and contest copies, and more. Runners-up may also be offered book publication and receive our silver and bronze digital medallions. (*Hardcovers are available for full-length books only; if a chapbook is selected as the winner, it will not be available in hardcover.)
- Translations can be from any language but must be translated into English. Dual-language and side-by-side language translations are considered, as long as one of the languages is English.
- Manuscripts must be geared toward an adult readership. We are not interested in translations for children.
- The translation must be carefully and professionally done by someone with a grasp of both presented languages. Please provide any credentials or background that you may have in translating between the languages in question. All work must be the authors’ own. Single work by multiple authors considered. If the translated author is still living or if the original work is not in the public domain both in the United States (first publication in or before 1927, or if copyright has expired) and in the country of origin, then permission to publish the translation must be given by the original author, family of the author, press, or copyright holder. We do not consider AI-generated works.
- Translations may be of any length in any genre, including poetry, fiction, nonfiction, plays, or hybrid styles.
- Manuscripts are read incognito. DO NOT PUT YOUR NAME OR ANY IDENTIFYING MARKS INSIDE THE FILE, including headers, footers, cover pages, acknowledgments, and file names. If you do leave your identifying marks inside the file, the submission will be read as-is, but the reader may disqualify the submission if he knows you on any personal level.
- If you need to adjust a submission, please use the Request to Edit option through Submittable. Please don’t request to edit for minor flaws, however—all accepted work will go through an editing process and will have the chance to be updated before publication, and your work will not be disqualified for a missing comma.
- All authors (including translated authors, unless their work is in the public domain) must be at least 18 to submit.
- Simultaneous submissions allowed. Please withdraw your manuscript through Submittable if it is accepted elsewhere.
- ACP and The Coil staff may submit work for publication consideration, but they are ineligible to win prizes while on our staff (including volunteers).
- Collections that contain previously published pieces are considered. Don’t include acknowledgments in the file.
- Submit via Submittable only. We do not accept email submissions.
- Straight or scholarly nonfiction should have citations.
- There is an $18 fee for each manuscript submitted. You may submit as many manuscripts as you’d like, but each one must be submitted separately with a separate fee. The fee helps us with needed administration and book production costs, but it’s not meant to be too inhibitive. If you are unable to pay, please email us for an alternative submission method.
- Each paid submission comes with a digital copy of our latest published anthology, And If That Mockingbird Don’t Sing: Parenting Stories Gone Speculative ($9.99 value). There is an additional option to purchase the winning Spark Translation Prize print book as an add-on for a deep discount ($7.99 off the final cover price, shipped free worldwide).
- We will send a response and notification of the winner to every submission by the end of October. Form response only, unless we are interested in publishing your book. We are regretfully unable to provide feedback.
- If you’re ready to submit, head on over to Submittable.
Selection & Judging Process
We subscribe to the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) Contest Code of Ethics: “CLMP’s community of independent literary publishers believes that ethical contests serve our shared goal: to connect writers and readers by publishing exceptional writing. We believe that intent to act ethically, clarity of guidelines, and transparency of process form the foundation of an ethical contest. To that end, we agree to 1.) conduct our contests as ethically as possible and to address any unethical behavior on the part of our readers, judges, or editors; 2.) to provide clear and specific contest guidelines—defining conflict of interest for all parties involved; and 3.) to make the mechanics of our selection process available to the public. This Code recognizes that different contest models produce different results, but that each model can be run ethically. We have adopted this Code to reinforce our integrity and dedication as a publishing community and to ensure that our contests contribute to a vibrant literary heritage.”
- We take submissions through Submittable and use its tools and our own to accept incognito submissions. The editor-in-chief has access to the information, but she does not read or accept submissions. While the editor-in-chief determines what is published on our press, she does not make judging decisions for awards.
- We ask submitters not to include their names, contact information, or any identifying marks within the documents, titles, and file names of submissions.
- Staff members of Alternating Current may have pieces published on The Coil or submit pieces for incognito submission consideration, but staff members are not eligible to win award prizes while serving on our staff. This includes volunteers while they are volunteering for our staff.
- For all awards, the editor-in-chief compiles a spreadsheet of all the eligible pieces, makes sure everything is stripped of any contact information, and sends that spreadsheet to the translation editor. The translation editor ranks the selections to choose the top finalists. The incognito judging decisions are final.
- While the manuscripts are read incognito, the editors are asked to recuse themselves from judging if there are any submissions that they may recognize as posing a personal conflict of interest. Once selected, we will reveal the winner’s name privately to the readers before announcement to clarify that there is no conflict of interest. Should there be a conflict, the next finalist in line without conflict shall become the winner, or judges shall recuse themselves from the ranking tallies. Conflicts of interest are defined as: close friends, relatives, students, and former students of the judges. We do not consider workshops to be disqualifying factors, unless the judge personally feels there is a conflict there. We leave the discretion of conflict identification up to the judges. Submissions that pose a conflict of interest may still be eligible for publication, even if they are ineligible for prizes.
- The winner is notified prior to announcement. The results are publicly posted online at The Coil and on the press website.