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Albertine Prize 2019 Unveiled its Five Nominees

“"The Albertine Prize is a brilliant way of generating excitement about authors who are not yet as well-known as they should be." —Lauren Groff

 

New York, NY (April 3, 2019) – The 2019 Albertine Prize, one of the only literary awards in the United States whose winner is selected by the reading public rather than a judging panel, today unveiled its nominee list of five works of fiction in French, translated into English and published in the U.S. over the past year. As of today, U.S. readers nationwide can vote for their favorite book. The $10,000 prize is co-presented by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and Van Cleef & Arpels.

 

Showcasing the extraordinary  diversity and creativity of contemporary French writing, the five nominated books map a literary journey that spans three continents and encompasses the outbreak of a civil war and the Rwandan genocide (Small Country, Gaël Faye); the epic journey of a family over three generations between Teheran and Paris and eastern and western cultures (Disoriental, Négar Djavadi); the creation and destruction of a family in a southwestern village in France (Waiting for Tomorrow, Nathacha Appanah), the ambivalent and tragic relationship between a family and a nanny (The Perfect Nanny, Leila Slimani), a narrative analysis of WWII outbreak and Nazi Germany’s annexation of Austria (The Order of the Day, Éric Vuillard).

 

You can now read about the nominated works and vote for your favorite book at  http://www.albertine.com/albertine-prize through April 30, 2019. The author and translator of the prize-winning book will be honored in a ceremony, in the presence of the Prize's Honorary Chairs, acclaimed author and translator Lydia Davis and French literary critic and TV and radio host François Busnel, at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy on June 5th, 2019. The author will receive $8,000 and the translator will receive $2,000.
 

Dedicated to introducing the very best of contemporary French-language literature to American audiences, the annual prize was launched in 2017. “Now in its third year, the Albertine Prize has become an important annual literary event," said Bénédicte de Montlaur, Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy in the United States. "It is a unique and engaging way for the English speaking readers across the U.S. to discover the vibrant French literary scene. We hope that this prize continues to expand to new audiences, and to shed light on the immense value of reading translated literature.”

 

The books can be found at Albertine Books on Fifth Avenue and 79th Street and at the online store at Albertine or borrowed from many public libraries.

 

The Albertine Prize selection committee is composed of the Albertine Prize Honorary Chairs, the staff at the Albertine bookstore, and the Book Department at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy. They chose among Francophone fiction that has been translated into English and published in the US within the preceding calendar year.

 

The Albertine Prize is co-presented by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York, home to Albertine Books, and Van Cleef & Arpels. The program is made possible with support from Air France and The Mark. Additional support is provided by Champagne Pommery. Media Partner: Lit Hub. Media Partner: Lit Hub.

 

To vote for the Albertine Prize, please visit www.albertine.com/albertine-prize-2019. 

#albertineprize 

 

COMPLETE LIST OF NOMINEES

*Waiting for Tomorrow

By Nathacha Appanah, Tr. Geoffrey Strachan / Graywolf Press

 

Adam, an immigrant from Mauritius, and Anita, who’s just moved to Paris from the countryside, meet at a party. They quickly fall in love, marry, and move to a village in southwestern France. Over time, the monotony of daily life begins to erode their marriage. But the arrival of Adèle, an undocumented immigrant from Mauritius who they hire to care for their daughter, sparks a short-lived burst of energy in both their personal and professional lives, before their story takes a tragic turn.

Waiting for Tomorrow is a courageous and powerful examination of the artistic impulse, cultural identity, and family bonds.

 

NATHACHA APPANAH was born in Mauritius. Her award-winning novel The Last Brother, has been translated into sixteen languages. She lives and works in France as a journalist and translator.

Book Alike: Tangerine by Christine Mangan.

 

*Disoriental

By Négar Djavadi, Tr. Tina Kover / Europa

 

In the waiting room of a Parisian fertility clinic, Kimiâ Sadr recalls her family history. As she sits alone amid couples, family narratives and personal recollections mix as her thoughts wander from her grandmother’s birth in a late 19th-century harem in northern Iran through her childhood in Tehran to her present incarnation as a 25-year-old French-Iranian punk fan.

In this spirited, kaleidoscopic tale, key moments of Iranian history, politics, and culture punctuate stories of family drama and triumph.

 

NEGAR DJAVADI was born in Iran in 1969 to a family of intellectuals opposed to the regimes of the Shah, then of Ayatollah Khomeini. She arrived in France at the age of eleven, having crossed the mountains of Kurdistan on horseback with her mother and sister. Djavadi is a screenwriter and lives in Paris.

Book Alike: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi  

 

* Small Country

By Gaël Faye, Tr. Sarah Ardizzone / Hogarth

 

In 1992, ten-year-old Gabriel finds life in his Burundi neighborhood to be close to paradise. He and his friends enjoy days of laughter and adventure, but little do they know that their peaceful existence will be transformed when Burundi and Rwanda enter a tumultuous period of civil war and genocide.

Beautifully written and heartfelt without ever being sentimental, Small Country is a magnificent debut novel that tells of a loss of innocence through the eyes of a child.

 

GAËL FAYE is an author, songwriter, and hip-hop artist. He released his first solo album in 2013 and his first novel, Small Country, in 2016. Born in 1982 in Burundi to a French father and Rwandan mother, Faye moved to France with his family in 1995 after the outbreak of the civil war and the Rwandan genocide.

Book Alike: Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie

 

 

* The Perfect Nanny
By Leïla Slimani, Tr. Sam Taylor / Penguin

When Myriam, a French-Moroccan lawyer, decides to return to work after having children, she and her husband look for the perfect nanny. They never dreamed they would find Louise: a quiet, polite, devoted woman who sings, cleans, and stays late without complaint. But as the couple and the nanny become more co-dependent, jealousy and resentment mount.

Building tension with every page, The Perfect Nanny is a riveting and bravely observed exploration of power, class, race, domesticity, and motherhood.

 

LEÏLA SLIMANI is a novelist and journalist. She was awarded France’s most prestigious literary prize, the Prix Goncourt, in 2016 for The Perfect Nanny. Her first novel, Adèle, was published in February 2019 in the US. Slimani’s latest work, an essay on sexuality in Morocco entitled Sexe et mensonges: la vie sexuelle au Maroc [Sex and lies : Sexuality in Morocco], has been nominated for non-fiction prizes in France.

Book Alike: The Maids by Jean Genet.

 

* The Order of the Day
By Éric Vuillard, Tr. Mark Polizzotti / Other Press

Winner of the 2017 Prix Goncourt, this behind-the-scenes account of the manipulation, hubris, and greed that led to Nazi Germany’s annexation of Austria brilliantly dismantles the myth of an effortless victory and offers a dire warning for our current political crisis. In this vivid, compelling history, Éric Vuillard warns against the perils of willfully blind acquiescence and offers a crucial reminder that, ultimately, the worst is not inescapable.

 

ÉRIC VUILLARD is a writer and filmmaker. He has made two films and written seven books. He won the Prix Goncourt in 2017 for The Order of the Day.

Book Alike: The Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson

 

About Albertine

Albertine is a reading room and bookshop that brings to life French-American intellectual exchange. A permanent venue for free events and debates, the space offers more than 14,000 contemporary and classic titles from over 30 French-speaking countries around the world. Visit www.albertine.com.

 

About the Cultural Services of the French Embassy

The Cultural Services of the French Embassy promotes the best of French arts, literature, cinema, digital innovation, language, and higher education across the US. Based in New York City, Washington D.C., and eight other cities across the country, the Cultural Services brings artists, authors, intellectuals and innovators to cities nationwide. It also builds partnerships between French and American artists, institutions and universities on both sides of the Atlantic. In New York, through its bookshop Albertine, it fosters French-American exchange around literature and the arts. www.frenchculture.org.

 

About Van Cleef & Arpels

Van Cleef & Arpels was born in Paris’ Place Vendôme in 1906, following Alfred Van Cleef’s marriage to Estelle Arpels in 1895. Always striving for excellence, the Maison has become a worldwide reference through its unique designs, its choice of exceptional stones and its virtuoso craftsmanship, offering jewels and timepieces that tell stories and bring enchantment to life. Literature and poetry from famed authors such as Shakespeare, Jules Verne and Charles Perrault have inspired collections that go beyond the world of High Jewelry, allowing friends of the Maison to escape to mythical lands filled with magic and fairies, and to explore new horizons, from the mysterious depths of the ocean to the heart of the galaxy. Visit www.VanCleefArpels.com for additional information.

 

About Lit Hub

Lit Hub is an organizing principle in the service of literary culture, a single, trusted, daily source for all the news, ideas and richness of contemporary literary life. There is more great literary content online than ever before, but it is scattered, easily lost—with the help of its editorial partners, Lit Hub is a site readers can rely on for smart, engaged, entertaining writing about all things books. Each day—alongside original content and exclusive excerpts—Literary Hub is proud to showcase an editorial feature from one of its many partners from across the literary spectrum: publishers big and small, journals, bookstores, and non-profits. http://lithub.com/

 

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Media Contact: Camille Desprez, Cultural Services of the French Embassy, camille.desprez@diplomatie.gouv.fr,  +1.212.439.1417