It is my great pleasure this spring to announce the launch of the very first Albertine Prize, a reader's choice award honoring the best of French contemporary fiction in English translation. This prize aims to introduce American audiences to current Francophone literature while celebrating the U.S. publishers and translators who helped bring them here. The winning author and translator will be recognized at a ceremony hosted by our two Honorary Chairs, French author and translator Lydia Davis and literary critic and TV and radio host François Busnel. I invite you all to peruse the ten shortlisted titles at albertine.com/albertine-prize, pick any of the stories that call to you, and vote before April 30th for your favorite(s). All ten books are available at Albertine and in select bookstores and libraries around the country.
If 2017 has already served as a strong reminder of the importance of exchange and communication between cultures, it is also because it recalls a cornerstone of our common history: the United States’ entrance into World War I on April 6, 1917. Along with the French Centennial Mission, we wish to honor the memory of the sacrifices made by American and French soldiers during the Great War. It is in part thanks to this dedication that Europe and the United States still uphold shared democratic ideals. The war was also a catalyst for profound cultural transformations, be it in music with the arrival of jazz in France, or in the visual arts, from forceful and innovative political propaganda to Cubist and Dadaist experimentation. In countless ways, 1917 was indeed a gateway to the 20th century world, a moment whose impact we continued to feel today. It is in this spirit that our yearlong commemorative series “How 1917 Changed the Word” explores how this year affected the lives of people around the world. Opening with a conversation, Artistic Revolutions and the Great War at the Albertine bookstore on March 27th, audiences all over the US will be invited to celebrate this centennial through the end of the year with events in cities including Boston, Chicago and Atlanta. Details can be found on the festival page.
This spring contemporary design will once again take over New York. From April 25th to September 3rd, we will present two projects as part of Oui Design, a program encouraging innovative work by French and francophone artists, and transatlantic collaborations in the fields of design and craftsmanship. The Hors-Pistes project curated by Wanted Design in Brooklyn will highlight the savoir faire of some of the best African artisans. The Transatlantic Cultural Exchange’s exhibit will focus on the presentation of objects borne from the collaboration between French and American designers, from the famous Ateliers Pinton to the promising Pauline Deltour, and the American Corning Museum of Glass. From April 18th to September 3rd, Oui Design will also present an exhibition at the Noguchi Museum featuring the designer Robert Stadler.
Finally, French cinema will return to the outdoors in April. Films on the Beach will come to the beaches of Miami, Films on the Lake to the shores of Lake Michigan in Chicago, and Films on the Green in Boston will illuminate several university campuses. And in New York, we are thrilled this year to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Films on the Green, and to welcome for the occasion several surprise guests for the occasion. With dramas and romance, classics and contemporary works, it's always the perfect occasion to gather for free screenings with English subtitles.
From February 28 through May 6, French illustration will be highlighted with Fit to Print, an exhibition featuring 17 young French artists at the Society of Illustrators in New York City and in the New York Times. In addition, they will participate in the MoCCa festival and at a Draw Jam at Albertine Books on March 31. From May 1 through May 7, the PEN World Voices festival will feature French illustrators Sandrine Revel and Marcelino Truong, as well as author Edouard Louis.
Any finally, our children's programming continues with the Tilt Kids Festival! Don't miss the magic of contemporary circus, a living library with artist Fanny de Chaillé or the exhibition by illustrator Hervé Tullet at the Invisible Dog art center through April 15!
I hope to see you all at some of these many different events, and wish you all a great Spring.
Bénédicte de Montlaur,
Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy