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The 2018 French Voices Grand Prizes Go to...

On April 10, readers and writers alike gathered at the Payne Whitney Mansion to celebrate the third annual French Voices Award Ceremony. The evening culminated in the coveted 2018 French Voices grand prizes' being awarded to a pair of worthy titles: Lara Vergnaud's intimate English translation of Joy Sorman's Science de la vie (Seuil, 2017 - seeking an American publisher), and Andrew S. Burk's stirring translation of Frédéric Neyrat's The Unconstructable Earth: An Ecology of Separation (Fordham University Press, 2018).


About the book: Sciences de la vie - Joy Sorman (tr. Lara Vergnaud)

Ninon Moise is the final link in a cursed family chain: since the Middle Ages, the female members of her family have been afflicted with a bizarre and incurable illness, which manifests itself differently each generation. Now, seventeen-year-old Ninon, captivated as a child by tales of rare maladies, seeks to break the cycle. She turns to science to heal her ailment and take charge of her own destiny. With a distinctive style that has been dubbed “docu-fiction,” Sorman blends history and fiction to explore the evolution—and changing perception—of disease. This odyssey through the strangest annals of medical history, led by a series of vivid heroines, questions our relationship to the body, notions of transmission, and the female condition.

Translator Lara Vergnaud is an editor and literary translator. Her translations include Ahmed Bouanani’s The Hospital (New Directions, 2018) and France, Story of a Childhood (Yale University Press, 2016), as well as texts by Mohand Fellag, Joy Sorman, and Scholastique Mukasonga, among others. Her essays and translations have appeared in The Paris Review, Asymptote, Lit Hub, Words Without Borders, The Brooklyn Rail, and Two Lines Press. Lara has received two PEN/Heim Translation Grants and has been longlisted for the National Translation Award. She is a finalist for the 2019 French-American Foundation Translation Prize.

 

About the book: The Unconstructable Earth - by Frédéric Neyrat (tr. Andrew S. Burk)

Frédéric Neyrat brings us to the heart of constructivist thought that today dominates the social sciences. He calls into question the divide between nature and culture, critiquing the myth of nondistinction between nature and all-powerful technology and proposing a new philosophy of nature and the Earth: an ecology of separation that acknowledges the wild, subtractive capacity of nature, noting what in nature is unsubstitutable and recognizing Earth in its singularity.

Translator Drew S. Burk has translated a number of works of contemporary philosophy from the French. He is a freelance translator and consulting editor for the University of Minnesota Press. Burk has translated essential texts by French thinkers such as Henri Bergson (Laughter, Atropos Press, 2010), Judith Balso (Pessoa, the Metaphysical Courier, Atropos Press, 2011; Affirmation of Poetry, Univocal, 2015), Jacques Rancière (The Groove of The Poem: Reading Philippe Beck, Univocal, 2016), François Laruelle (Photo-Fiction, a Non-Standard Aesthetics, Univocal, 2012) and recently Georges Didi-Huberman (The Man Who Walked in Color, Univocal, 2017).


We warmly congratulate Lara Vergnaud and Andrew S. Burk for their extraordinary work in translation. Their and other nominated translators' extraordinary work has opened the door for lovers of French and Francophone literature to satisfy their literary desires in the English language.

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