French Books USA: Week in Review

April 10, 2015 | By Kyra Sturgill
Candidates for the Best Translated Book Award Include Six French Titles

2015 Best Translated Book Award Longlist
Three Percent announced its twenty-five candidates for its 2015 Best Translated Book of the Year Award for fiction. Their list of the best translated fiction published in English in 2014 includes six works translated from French:  The Author and Me by Éric Chevillard, translated by Jordan Stump; 1914 by Jean Echenoz, translated by Linda Coverdale; Street of Thieves by Mathias Énard, translated by Charlotte Mandell; Works by Edouard Levé, translated by Jan Steyn; Winter Mythologies and Abbots by Pierre Michon, translated by Ann Jefferson; and finally the 2014 French Voices Grand Prize Winner, Our Lady of the Nile by Scholastique Mukasonga, translated by Melanie Mauthner.
Editor of Three Percent Chad W. Post also shared 20 of his favorite overlooked translated titles with Publishers Weekly. This list includes Life, a User’s Manual by George Perec and translated by David Bellos. According to Post, the book is “one of the best books to come out of the Oulipo—a French literary movement in which writers use explicit constraints to create their texts."

A Profile of Algerian Writer Kamel Daoud
New York Times Magazine published a fascinating, in-depth profile of Algerian writer Kamel Daoud, who has become an increasingly controversial figure in Algeria and France as of late. Daoud has not held back from publicly opposing a growing Islamist fervor in Algeria and defending the concept of individual liberty. He has also gained recognition for his recent novel, The Meursault Investigation, a retelling of Albert Camus’s The Stranger from the perspective of the brother of the Arab killed by Meursault, Camus’s antihero. First published in Algeria in 2013, the novel will be published in English this June by Other Press. Adam Shatz, author of the article, claims that The Meursault Investigation “not only breathes new life into The Stranger; it also offers a bracing critique of postcolonial Algeria — a new country that Camus, a poor Frenchman born in Algiers, did not live to see.”

Remembering Author and Journalist Gérard Dhôtel
Gérard Dhôtel died of cancer on March 27th, 2015 at the age of 59. Dhôtel began his career as a journalist in the 1980s and eventually authored many books for young readers as he became increasingly dedicated to sharing knowledge and awareness of the world with younger generations, often writing books that highlighted the importance of activism and social justice. He wrote multiple titles for the children’s series “Ceux qui ont dit non” (Those who said no) with the French publishing house Actes Sud, such as Louise Michel: Non à l’exploitation and Victor Schoelcher: Non à l’esclavage.

Books & Books Named PW Bookstore of the Year
Independent bookstore Books & Books in Coral Gables, Florida has been named Bookstore of the Year by Publishers Weekly. Books & Books opened 33 years ago and has since gained institutional status as a hub of literary culture in the region. Books & Books is not only partner in the French Corners program with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and Albertine Books, they also contributed to first initiating the idea of the program!


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