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Spark Translation Prize

About Alternating Current’s 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The Spark Translation Prize is Alternating Current Press’ annual book award to recognize an unpublished manuscript of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, play script, or hybrid work in translation, especially with an emphasis on rarer or underrepresented languages and cultures. The winner is announced each summer from our translation manuscript finalists, selected by our translation editor, to receive publication, publicity, a monetary award, and other incentives from our press. If there are close contenders, we may publish silver and bronze finalists, as well.

Award Process and Guidelines

Council of Literary Magazines and Presses Contest Code of Ethics

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.

Alternating Current’s Selection & Judging Process

1.) 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.

2.) We ask submitters not to include their names, contact information, or any identifying marks within the documents, titles, and file names of submissions.

3.) 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.

4.) 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.

5.) 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, 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.

6.) The winner is notified prior to announcement. The results are publicly posted online at The Coil and on the press website.

Current 2021 Prize

The winner receives $300 (upon publication); publication of the manuscript at Alternating Current Press in paperback and ebook formats; 20 complimentary print copies; complimentary digital copies; competitive backend royalties at 50%; an award medallion for use on book covers and websites; a certificate; and 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.