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French Books In The US - The 2017 Edition

The Book Department of the French Embassy is pleased to publish the updated version of the 2017 list of French books translated in the United States!

This list has been compiled with the help of French and American publishers and agents. The Book Department team does its best to be as accurate as possible; however, some titles may be missing and mistakes may remain. Don’t hesitate to contact us at 972livre@gmail.com if you come across any errors or omissions.

We numbered 438 titles published in 2017, in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, graphic novels and children’s books. We’re hoping to see that list grow as publishers keep sending information throughout the year.

In 2017, nonfiction remains the strongest field on the market with 138 titles. Philosophy titles rank as always in high demand, with previously unpublished titles by towering names being released, such as Alain Badiou, Bruno Latour, Georges Didi-Huberman, Jean-Luc Nancy, Jean-Luc Marion, Michel Foucault, or Jacques Derrida. The sociology master Pierre Bourdieu is also well represented, with two titles published this year.

Last year, we emphasized a very positive trend : the work of important scholars opening new avenues in their field is being published in the United States ; we’re happy to see that trend continue in 2017, with names such as Emmanuel Alloa (The Resistance of the Sensible World: An Introduction to Merleau-Ponty, Fordham University Press), Yves Citton’s Ecology of Attention (Polity Press), Françoise Dastur (Questioning Phenomenology, Fordham University Press), Nilüfer Göle’s The Daily Lives of Muslims (Zed Books) or Frédéric Neyrat (Atopias: Manifesto for a Radical Existentialism, Fordham University Press). Achille Mbembe’s Critique of Black Reason (Duke University Press) proposes an iconoclastic reflection on racism; while Bernard Stiegler crafts a fundamental essay on labor in the XXst century with Automatic Society: The Future of Work (Polity Press). 

As far as History is concerned, original and innovative takes to the discipline attract the attention of university presses, in the footsteps of groundbreaking historians Michel Pastoureau (Red: The History of a Color, Princeton University Press) or Jean-Pierre Vernant (From the Maquis to the Polis, Prickly Paradigm Press). Nicolas Bancel's The Colonial Legacy in France: Fracture, Rupture, and Apartheid (Indiana University Press) focuses on French postcolonial history; while Jérusalem 1900 (University of Chicago Press) by Vincent Lemire, sheds lights, thanks to newly released documents, on a unique moment in history. We’re also delighted to see one widely acclaimed biography making it across the Atlantic: Roland Barthes (Polity Press) by Tiphaine Samoyault.

The tragic events in 2015 and 2016 have triggered the need for analysis and understanding, as shown in the publications of Gilles Kepel’s Terrorism in France: The Genesis of French Jihad (Princeton University Press), or Farhad Khosrokhavar’s Radicalization (The New Press).

 


In fiction, 134 books translated from the French are published in the United States in 2017. We’ve tallied a few classics but contemporary novels seem to be the most represented category. We are pleased to report that audacious publishers continue taking chances on bold and previously unreleased novelists such as Christine Angot (Incest, Seven Stories) or Edouard Louis (The End of Eddy, Farrar, Straus & Giroux). Both wrote highly successful novels based on their real life experiences. We hope their success in France travels abroad!

Other contemporary novelists already have several publications in the US, which shows that publishers are building on the growing reputation of the authors: Emmanuel Carrère’s lengthy novel based on the history of the first Christians, The Kingdom (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), Mathias Enard’s Goncourt-winning Compass (New Directions Publishing), or Checkpoint (Europa Editions) by Jean-Christophe Rufin, are much awaited. Boundary-pushing writers who propose through their writing formal inventions are building their success throughout the years, such as Anne Garréta, Antoine Volodine or Camille Laurens. With previously published novels, Abdellah Taïa, Laurent Binet, Pierre Lemaitre, or Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès keep building a strong following with American readers.

We’re pleased to see Haitian author Yanick Lahens published for the first time as well, with Moonbath at Deep Vellum. Many francophone writers from around the world are published in the US to great acclaim, such as the Lebanese Charif Majdalani (Caravanserail, New Vessel Press), Algerian Boualem Sansal with a much noticed dystopian novel, 2084 (Europa), or the French-Djiboutian author Abdourahman A. Waberi with no less than three novels announced for 2017.

 


With 93 graphic novels released this year (against 65 last year), we’re happy to see that the enthusiasm for French comics is stronger every year in the US, as the success of our fall French Comics Framed festival showed.

The Humanoids, a Paris and LA-based imprint, continue their conquest of the American market with 6 dystopian titles co-authored by legendary artist, scenarist and film director Alejandro Jodorowsky, along with and 9 other books. Nonfiction comics, a very trendy subgenre, continue to be released, like the biographies Joséphine Baker by Catel (SelfMadeHero), California Dreamin': Cass Elliot Before the Mamas & the Papas by Pénélope Bagieu (First Second Books), Lennon by Eric Corbeyran (IDW Publishing), Gauguin by Fabrizio Dori (SelfMadeHero), Billie Holiday by José Munoz (NBM Publishing), Magritte by Vincent Zabus (SelfMadeHero). Comics at the intersection of autobiography and political investigation are also very appreciated by American publishers, for example Hostages by Guy Delisle (Drawn & Quarterly), or Poppies of Irak by Lewis Trondheim (Drawn & Quarterly), Saigon Calling: London 1963-75 by Marcelino Truong (Arsenal Pulp Press).

 


60 children books in translation have been counted this year. Inventive and witty pop up books showcase the creativity and the refined style of French illustrators : What’s up? By Olivia Cosneau (Thames & Hudson), Can you keep a straight face by Elisa Géhin (Thames & Hudson) or Pyjamarama by Michael Leblond (Thames & Hudson). Independent presses such as Le Rouergue, L’école des Loisirs, Courtes et Longues, Hélium or les Grandes personnes manage to sell translation rights to forward-thinking American publishers. Success stories such as Christine Roussey’s push publishers like Abrams Books to publish several titles in the same year: after In My heart and All my treasures in 2016, My Lazy cat and In my Room will be released this year. And we cheer Archipelago, who is opening up to children books in 2017, with the release of the wonderful illustrator Claude Ponti’s My Valley.

 


This year, we found several well-known poets among [our] 9 cataloged poetry collections, including Ponge, Bonnefoy, and Jacottet. 

 

To consult the 2017 list, please click here.

And for more details about previous years, check the articles for 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012, please refer to the report by the Bureau International de l’Edition Française (International Office of French Publishing) and the Syndicat de l’Edition française (French Publishing Syndicate).

Several authors mentioned on the list have visited or will soon be visiting the United States. Please check our Authors on tour presentation for more information on author events.

 

 

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