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Week in Review: July 13, 2018

by Shannon Sullivan

Survival as an Act of Resistance

Celebrated filmmaker and journalist Claude Lanzmann passed away on July 5 at the age of 92. Known for his monumental nine-and-a-half hour Holocaust documentary Shoah, Lanzmann’s work focused on survival as an act of resistance, a theme taken from his own life experiences. Born in Paris in 1925, Lanzmann joined the French resistance at age 17 after his family went into hiding during World War II. He was the chief editor of the Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir-founded journal Les Temps Modernes. His bestselling memoir The Patagonian Hare (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) was translated into English by Frank Wynne and published in the United States in 2012.

Fall 2018 PEN Translation Awards Announced

English PEN has just announced their translation awards for fall 2018, which seek to help offset the publication costs of works in translation. Among this season’s winners is Olivia Rosenthal’s To Leave with the Reindeer, translated from French by Sophie Lewis. The book will be published in the UK by And Other Stories in March 2019. The awards cover up to 75% of translation costs, or even 100% for projects from smaller publishers. Past Francophone winners include Hamid Sulaiman’s Freedom Hospital: A Syrian Story, translated by Francesca Barrie (Jonathan Cape, published in the US by Interlink Publishing Group) and Alain Mabanckou’s The Lights of Pointe-Noire, translated by Helen Stevenson (published in the US by the New Press).

Best Summer Books (Edition 12545)

Good thing there’s no such thing as too many books! The Guardian asked leading authors what they’re looking forward to reading during summer vacation, and all we’ll say is that our own stack of books to read just tripled. Recommendations ranged from classics like Samuel Beckett’s The End and Albert Camus’s Create Dangerously to Annie Ernaux’s The Years and Leïla Slimani’s The Perfect Nanny (available as Lullaby in the UK). The two-part list (part onepart two) featured suggestions from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Philip Pullman, Salman Rushdie, and Colm Tóibín. What’s on your bookshelf this summer? Head over to our Twitter to let us know!

Slang, Solidarity, and Social Constructs

Translator Emma Ramadan was interviewed by Asymptote Journal leading up to the August 15th publication of her translation of Virginie Despentes’ Pretty Things (the Feminist Press). She discussed the struggles of exploring gender in translation, working as a woman in the world of translation, and the unexpected challenge of translating slang and colloquialisms. Ramadan’s other translation credits include Anne Garréta’s Sphinx, Fouad Laroui’s The Curious Case of Dassoukine’s Trousers, and, of course, 2018 Albertine Prize winner Not One Day, also by Anne Garréta. All three books are available from Deep Vellum.

World Cup Mania

There’s no doubt that the World Cup has taken the world by storm, and we’re no exception (*cough* allez les Bleus! *cough*). But if you’re skeptical of all of the excitement, you’re not alone-- Verso Books published a translation of a Figaro article by Marc Perelman examining the “footballization of the mind.” Perelman analyzes the “empire of football,” remarking the “social schizophrenia” that leads to an all-consuming passion for the game. This is not the author’s first critique of sports culture; he previously published Barbaric Sport: A Global Plague (Verso Books) in 2012, translated by John Howe, looking at the underlying politics of the Olympics. For more reading on the football phenomenon, check out Jean-Philippe Toussaint’s Football (Fitzcarraldo Editions), translated from the French by Shaun Whiteside, and François Bégaudeau’s Jouer juste (Gallimard).

Yanick Lahens Nominated to the Collège de France

2014 Prix Femina laureate and Haitian writer Yanick Lahens was nominated as the first chair of the Mondes francophones at the Collège de France. The position, created on July 4 in partnership with the Agence universitaire de la Francophonie, will be held by someone new each year and seeks to bring voices from various Francophone regions and academic domains to the Collège. A former literature professor at the University of Haiti in Port-au-Prince, Lahens will hold the title for the 2018-2019 academic year. Her award-winning Moonbath, translated from the French by Emily Gogolak, was published in the United States last year by Deep Vellum.

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