French Books USA: Week in Review

March 1, 2017 | By Jeremy Albet

Daewoo receives the 2016 French Voices Award Grand Prize

Last week the Cultural Services of the French Embassy received the 2016 French Voices Award grantees, selected by the jury. The list includes: Le Séminaire : Lacan l’antiphilosophie 3, 1994-1995 by Alain Badiou, translated by Susan Spitzer, Amitié Éternelle, by Anouck Durand, translated by Elizabeth Zuba, Les Bas-fonds. Histoire d’un imaginaire, by Dominique Kalifa, translated by Robin Holding, Lévi-Strauss, by Emmanuelle Loyer, translated by Susan Spitzer, La vengeance du traducteur, by Brice Matthieussent, translated by Emma Ramadan, Achab (séquelles), by Pierre Senges, translated by Jacob Siefring, Joseph, by Marie-Hélène Lafon, translated by Laurie Postlewate, Lire La Torah, by Catherine Chalier, translated by Michael B. Smith, Global Gay, Comment la révolution gay change le monde, by Frédéric Martel, translated by Baudoin Patsy, Mémoires d'outre-mer, by Michaël Ferrier, translated by Martin Munro, and our Grand Prize winner, Daewoo, by François Bon, translated by Youna Kwak.


Pen World Voices featuring French Writers

Taking place from May 1 to 7, Pen World Voices will feature French writers Edouard Louis (on tour this fall) and Abdourahman Waberi as well as comic book artists Sandrine Revel (on tour this May), and Marcelino Truong. They will participate in equally compelling workshops series, talks and readings, focusing on social justice, sexuality and politics. With a theme of Gender and Power, “the weeklong Festival will use literature and the arts to address how gender both enables and impairs full participation in politics and society.”


Pascal Kramer Rewarded for a Storied Career

Pascal Kramer, the Geneva novelist based in Paris, received the 2017 Swiss Grand Prize for Literature . She is rewarded for a career already distinguished by the Prix Schiller, Grand Prix du roman de la SGDL & Prix Rambert (2009).The Swiss Federal Office of Culture (OFC), in awarding her the Grand Prix, said of her writing that it is "precise and sumptuous (...) a song of emotion, but with a great lucidity about the humanity of simple people.” Her new novel, Autopsy of a Father, translated from the French by Robert Bononno, will be published in July by Bellevue Literary Press.


Emma Ramadan on the Compelling and Challenging Aspects of Translation

Words without borders published an interview with Emma Ramadan who notably translated materials from Anne Garréta and Frederic Forté, both associated with the OuLiPo ("workshop of potential literature": a gathering, founded by Queneau Perec & François Le Lionnais, of artists “seeking “new structures and patterns which may be used -(…) in any way they enjoy”). When asked about the attraction of translating works born out of formal constraints, Ramadan had this to answer: “I think the attraction lies for the most part in sheer wonder and admiration, being completely baffled by what the author has done and wanting more people to be able to share in my awe.” Her new project is a translation of Brice Matthieussent’ Revenge of the Translator, a French Voices Award , to be published in 2018 by Deep Vellum.


We can only hope it’s Proust

Last week, the internet lost it when a black and white, silent wedding footage of 1904 was revealed. The film shows a man hurriedly going down the stairs of the Madeleine Church in Paris; a dapper, lone fellow who, according to Jean-Pierre Sirois-Trahan, the professor at the university of Laval, in Quebec who revealed the video, is no other than the legendary Marcel Proust. While the guest’s appearance on screen is only brief and slightly hidden by his bowler hat, there is plenty of evidence according to Proust fans and historians that confirms this supposition, including a jacket that “seems to correspond precisely to the “pearl-gray frock-coat” that made Charles Swann look tall and svelte in In Search of Lost Time”. Still, we’ll leave it to you, our dearest readers, to judge if this is a case of Marcel Proust regained.

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