Renaissance for French Books in America Takes Shape with Growing Numbers of French-to-English Translated Texts Published and Increased Accessiblity to Translation
New York, February 9, 2015 - A recent study launched by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy incorporated data from 1,100 French and American literary professionals and found that the number of books translated from French to English and published in the United States in 2014 increased by approximately 20% since 2013. This upward trend seems likely to continue in 2015: 244 titles are already slated to be released.
These very encouraging figures can, in part, be linked to various recent initiatives of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy whose mission is to promote the strong presence of French publications and translations in America, reflecting France’s belief in the power of books as a common good for a better world.
Albertine Books in French and English & Online E-boutique
A new reading room and bookshop, Albertine Books in French and English, opened in September 2014 at the French Embassy with 14,000 titles from 30 French-speaking countries. An accompanying online shop (albertine.com) has just launched and offers the most comprehensive selection of French-language books and English translations in the United States.
Curated “French Corners”
Curated "French Corners" sections in independent bookstores across the United States also offer a taste of French literature throughout the country. With titles hand-picked by Albertine staff and the French Embassy Book Department, the inaugural selection encompasses a wide variety of fiction titles, ranging from classic authors like Honoré de Balzac and Simone de Beauvoir to modern writers such as novelist Michel Houellebecq and playwright Yasmina Reza. Each participating store has created a special "French Corners" section on their shelves, featuring one of two options: a collection of 75 books in French, or a collection of 60 books in English translation plus 15 books in French.
Bookstores currently fully confirmed as partners include Politics and Prose (Washington DC), Brookline Booksmith (Boston), Books and Books (Miami), Nunu Arts and Culture (Arnaudville, Louisiana), Brazos Bookstore (Houston), Powell's Books (Portland) and The Book Cellar (Chicago).
French Voices Awards Ceremony 2015
To reinforce the Embassy’s commitment to translation and independent publishing, in 2006, the Cultural Services of the French Embassy created the French Voices program with the goal of expanding the selection of translated French fiction and non-fiction books in America and to prove that high-quality works and successful sales are not mutually exclusive.
In 2015, 10 titles have been chosen by a committee of independent professional experts to receive the French Voices Awards. The French Voices Grand Prize Winner, La Nostalgie by Barbara Cassin (Autrement, 2013), was revealed on January 21, 2015 at an award ceremony at the Embassy. Cassin has been offered a United States book tour organized by the French Cultural Services, and a prize of $10,000 will shared between the publisher, Fordham University Press ($6,000), and translator, Pascale-Anne Brault ($4,000).
Said Cultural Counselor Antonin Baudry, “French books are bursting through the American cultural fabric from all corners. It is no coincidence that the New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2014 list includes an excellent French author like Emmanuel Carrère, and French fiction and graphic novels in translation also experienced a huge spike this past year. They are claiming firm and fertile ground in the American psyche–which is what we want! I’m proud that we can support these advancements and I’m excited to see the future of French books unfold in the United States.”
About the Cultural Services of the French Embassy
The Cultural Services of the French Embassy provides a platform for exchange and innovation between French and American artists, intellectuals, educators, students, the tech community, and the general public. Based in New York City, Washington D.C., and eight other cities across the US, the Cultural Services develops the cultural economy by focusing on six principal fields of action: the arts, literature, cinema, the digital sphere, French language and higher education. www.frenchculture.org
Albertine is a reading room and bookshop that brings to life French-American intellectual exchange. A permanent venue for free events and debates, the new space offers more than 14,000 contemporary and classic titles from over 30 French-speaking countries around the world in French and in translation. Visit www.albertine.com. Follow Albertine on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @albertinebooks.
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