“Any language, any person:” New literary magazine set to prioritize diverse voices

By: Yvette Lisa Ndlovu,  A&S Communications
May 23, 2017

“Death in the Afternoon,” a literary magazine launched this month, aims to feature the voices of students and non-students from across the globe and in any language. The magazine has an international, intercollegiate and interdisciplinary focus that will represent the intersection between different cultures, genres and mediums featuring diverse talents.

“As comparative literature students, we all spoke multiple languages and we all loved literature,” said Christopher-James Llego ’17, the co-editor-in-chief.

“So a literary magazine that published pieces both in English and in other languages became our pet project,” said Emma Craven-Matthews, the other co-editor-in-chief.

A majority of the current members are bilingual. This is a component that sets the publication apart from other on-campus literary magazines in that it focuses on translation studies. “Death in the Afternoon” accepts submissions in any language and from any university around the world. The non-English pieces will be accompanied by a translation by the author themselves or a collaborator.

The publication’s other founding members include Maëlle Piepenburg ‘17 as the managing editor; Giorgi Tsintsadze ‘17 as the president; Phoebe Ross as head of publicity and Rowena Chen as creative director. The publication’s editorial board includes students across various disciplines and class years: Troy Sherman ‘18, Hanna Welter ‘19, Emma Ianni ‘17, Jessica Reuter ‘18, Yvette Lisa Ndlovu ‘19, Shoshana Bressman ‘20 and Ara Hagopian ‘18.  

“Our goal is simply to publish fantastic writing from diverse voices,” said Craven-Matthews. “We’re confident that we’ve been able to accomplish that in our first issue and we’re so grateful to the talented people who have submitted to us and made it all possible.”

The publication accepts a variety of literary work such as flash fiction, short stories, screenplays, creative non-fiction, 2-D artwork and original works in any language accompanied by an English translation. The executive board and the editorial board meets on Tuesdays to debate the merits of each submission in a meeting moderated by the editors-in-chief.

“Death in the Afternoon” is named after a cocktail that consists of Champagne and absinthe, a cocktail that editors said is a combination of tradition, elegance and offbeat edge. By crafting a magazine that breaks the unspoken rules of many literary publications, the founding members said they envisioned a magazine that embodies the spirit of this cocktail.

“Death in the Afternoon prioritizes voices that aren’t always prioritized at American universities,” Llego said. “We love the idea of a literary magazine that breaks down walls while still publishing top-quality work and so the name reflects that combination of classic luxury and edge.”

The first issue, the “Haunted” issue, of “Death in the Afternoon” was launched May 7.

“In the next few years, we’d love to see an increase in the number of translation pieces. We’re really proud of the ones we have, but our goal is for 50 percent of the published pieces to be originally written in a language other than English,” Llego said.

“We’d also like to see more international pieces,” said Craven-Matthews. “This semester, we received submissions from a couple countries outside the U.S, but as the DITA community grows, it would be great to reach an even broader international audience.”

Yvette Lisa Ndlovu is a communications assistant for the College of Arts & Sciences. 

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