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Week in Review: June 15, 2018

by Shannon Sullivan

Albertine Prize Winner Announced!

You voted, you waited, and now… the results are in! Congratulations to Anne Garréta and Emma Ramadan, the respective author and translator of this year’s Albertine Prize winner, Not One Day (Deep Vellum)! We were thrilled to honor them at a ceremony on June 6th. If you missed it, never fear-- you can watch our livestream coverage of the event, learn more about the winners, and see an interview with Garréta below.



Small Country, Big Splash

The New York Times featured a profile on Gaël Faye, author of the Prix Goncourt des Lycéens-winning Small Country, the English translation of which came out last week from Hogarth. Readers may recognize Faye’s name from his musical career; prior to the book’s release in 2016, he was best known as a rap artist. Small Country, his first novel, offers “a rare and subtle yearning,” telling of an idyllic childhood marred by civil war and genocide. Much like Faye himself, protagonist Gabriel must come to terms with the ways in which violence can change everything. Faye will be on tour in the United States from October 21-28.

Fief Wins Prix du Livre Inter

David Lopez’s Fief received the 2018 Prix du Livre Inter from a jury of 24 readers presided by author Leïla Slimani. The prize seeks to honor contemporary French novels that have not gotten much attention during awards season. Fief (Seuil) tells the story of Jonas, who lives, along with his friends, between the suburbs and the country, in a sort of in-between. They are constantly straddling two worlds, and everything seems to repeat itself; the only refuge is language, its use and access, rendering the book valuable not just for its documentary qualities, but also its literary finesse.  

Who Was René Girard?

Following the publication of Cynthia Haven’s comprehensive Girard biography Evolution of Desire, Marilyn Yalom looked back on the French intellectual and Stanford professor’s life and legacy in a review of the book in the Wall Street Journal. Inducted into the Académie française in 2005, Girard was a historian, literary critic, and philosopher of social science. A "fitting tribute," Evolution of Desire highlights Girard’s essential theory of mimetic desire and academic work as well as his relationships with friends, colleagues, and family. Many of his works have been translated into English, including Deceit, Desire and the Novel: Self and Other in Literary Structure (Johns Hopkins University Press) and A Theatre of Envy: William Shakespeare (Gracewing Publishing).

Négar Djavadi’s “Remarkable” Novel Reviewed

The New York Times reviewed Négar Djavadi’s debut novel, Disoriental, noting its richness and the way it “beautifully captures” the tumult of exile. Published in the United States in April of this year from Europa Editions, Disoriental tells the story of an entire family through the eyes of punk-rock aficionado Kimiâ, who fled Iran with her mother and sisters to seek refuge in France. Djavadi herself fled Iran at age eleven, crossing the mountains of Kurdistan on horseback with her mother and sister; she has spoken about her experience with exile, notably at this year’s PEN World Voices festival.