French Voices - what is it?
The French version of World Voices! To make contemporary French voices available to American readers through translation - books to be read and debated by American readers eager to explore new genres and ideas.

What Is the objective of this program?
To ensure that 30 contemporary French books are translated in the United States by the end of 2008. In 2006, one in three books that received grants had no American publisher; they found one thanks to the French Voices grant and through our efforts.

Who is already participating?
The Book Office of the French Embassy’s Cultural Services, the PEN American Center, the Center for Literary Translation at Columbia University, and the Villa Gillet in Lyon, France.

Who else can participate?
There are two ways to participate:
- if you are a literary agent, editor or translator, and you already have a ootranslated sample of a French book, fill in the application form ooavailable online at and send your ooapplication to us,
- if you are a reader, bookseller, or simply interested in translation, send ooyour suggestions to

Who chooses the books?
A committee of French and American professionals meets several times a year to read and discuss the works submitted for consideration. The committee is headed by a representative from the Book Office of the French Embassy’s Cultural Services and comprises representatives from the Translation Committee of PEN American Center as well as writers, translators, university professors, literary agents, editors, and booksellers. They not only read and speak French, but also know the intricacies and idiosyncrasies of both the French and American markets.

What criteria are used to select a book?
- it must be a French book published after 2000,
- the quality of the French book,
- the quality of the translation,
- innovative content and literary forms,
- possible reception in the American bookmarket (i.e., would an ssAmerican reader buy this book in translation).

What Is to be gained by participating?
To help offset the financial risks associated with distributing translated texts in the American marketplace (which can be closed to translations), the publisher of each selected project will receive $6,000 for the translator’s stipend.

If a project without an American publisher is selected, we will do our best to support it by identifying and making overtures to a suitable partner.

Moreover, while the translation is in preparation, the translator can apply for a residency at the Villa Gillet in Lyon, France. All transport and lodging costs will be covered for a stay of six to eight weeks. The translator will be immersed in his/her craft and get to meet the French-speaking author whose work he/she is translating.

Why speak of “a collection”?
The books will be published by different houses, but there will still be a coherent thread. To establish this coherence, the French Voices logo will appear on every book included in the series. To attract as many readers as possible, especially those who may be more hesitant to choose translated texts, each book will contain a short preface by a notable American author who will explain the book’s main ideas and themes. Additionally, a free reading guide will accompany each book on

Readers may decide to buy a single book or the entire collection. Reading groups are being formed as part of this endeavor to encourage discussion and debate. We will inform Reading circles and all the readers of each new release by a special newsletter.

To subscribe to this newsletter, please send an e-mail to:

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