French Voices Award | 2014 Fall Session Grantees
We are delighted to announce the new grantees for the Fall 2014 session of our French Voices Award. Once again, it has been a fruitful year for translation. After reading through many outstanding texts, the French Voices Award's 15-member committee chose 9 titles (5 fiction and 4 nonfiction).
(You can also check out the results for the Hemingway Grant fall session of 2014 here.)
The 9 New French Voices Grantees
Cent vingt et un jours, by Michèle Audin, Gallimard, 2014.
Translated by Christiana Hills. Seeking an American Publisher.
The debut novel of mathematician, author, and Oulipo* member Michèle Audin, Cent vingt et un jours retraces the lives of French mathematicians over several generations, during World Wars I and II. In keeping with the spirit and aesthetics of the Oulipo, the narrative oscillates stylistically from chapter to chapter, at times resembling a novel, at others resembling a fable, historical research, or a diary, with the result being a book at once captivating and original. Ultimately, this title is very French, both thematically and stylistically.
“[Michèle Audin] plays with codes, numbers and dates to create a fascinating and unsettling story.” – Le Temps
*Oulipo is short for "Ouvroir de literature potentielle", which roughly translated into English, is “Workshop of potential literature.”
La Nostalgie, by Barbara Cassin, Editions Autrement, 2013.
Translated by Pascale-Anne Brault; to be published by Fordham University Press in Spring 2016.
Through a clever and subtle re-reading of the writings of Homer, Virgil, and Hannah Arendt, the philosopher and philologist Barbara Cassin produces an in-depth analysis, at once scholarly and personal, of nostalgia. Where does nostalgia come from? Where do we truly feel at home? Cassin explores the notion that nostalgia has less to do with place and more to do with language.
“[La Nostalgie is] an erudite work in which [Cassin] incites us to make good use of this ambiguous, delightful and sometimes dangerous feeling.” – L’Express
Les Types comme moi, by Dominique Fabre, Fayard, 2007.
Translated by Howard Curtis; to be published by New Vessel Press in February 2015.
Les Types comme moi exposes the shadowy, anonymous lives of many who inhabit the French capital through the eyes of a middle-aged office worker, divorced and separated from his only son. In this quiet, subdued tale, Fabre's narrator meets up with one of his childhood friends who is similarly adrift, without passions or prospects. The narrator is looking for a second act to his mournful life, seeking the harbor of love and a true connection with his son. A stirring novel of regret and absence, yet not without a glimmer of hope.
“Dominique Fabre has a tone of voice and a grace in his writing which allow him to grapple with the small details.”
– Le Magazine Littéraire
La Fin du cinéma, by André Gaudréault and Philippe Marion, Armand Colin, 2013.
To be published by Columbia University Press in Spring 2015.
Gaudréault and Colin, specialists in the field of cinematography and media, trace developments in digital technology and their impact on film. Rejecting the notion of the “death of cinema” declared by some, the authors suggest instead that now is the time for the rebirth of the “Seventh Art.” Incredibly well-documented, specialized and at the same time global, La Fin du cinéma represents for the French Voices jury an essential work in media studies.
« La fin du cinéma? Un média en crise à l'ère du numérique, is written by two authors of irrefutable skill who are examining a fascinating topic. » – Cinéfilic
Une femme aimée, by Andreï Makine, Seuil, 2013.
Translated by Geoffrey Strachan; to be published by Graywolf Press in August 2015.
The book’s main character is a documentary filmmaker whose mission is to solve the various mysteries surrounding Catherine the Great. Makine dwells on the fascinating and sulfurous destiny of the historical figure who captivated her contemporaries, from Voltaire to Casanova, as much as she captivates historians today. Makine, who has already been translated in more than forty languages, is a master in the art of depicting deeply humane and moving characters.
“A small marvel of extensive and melancholic knowledge, and a beautiful critical essay on contemporary Russia.”
– Le Figaro Magazine
La Rigueur des choses, by Jean-Luc Marion, Flammarion, 2012.
Translated by Christina M. Gschwandtner; to be published by Fordham University Press in October 2015.
La Rigueur des choses is a collection of interviews between Dan Arbib and the philosopher Jean-Luc Marion, a leading scholar in the field of French Catholicism. The book also presents the key concepts of Marion’s philosophy, as well as those of the great thinkers who influenced him, such as Jacques Derrida and Emmanuel Levinas.
“This beautiful dialogue, led by student-come-philosopher Dan Arbib, affords readers a new opportunity to acquaint themselves with a brilliant mind.” – La Croix
Tram 83, by Fiston Mwanza Mujila, Editions Métailié, 2014.
Translated by Roland Glasser; to be published by Deep Vellum Publishing in September 2015.
Congolese writer Fiston Mwanza Mujila’s first novel, Tram 83 is a gripping story that unfolds in the heart of an eclectic crowd which is gathered at the train station of an imaginary African country’s capital. Over the course of a breathtaking journey, Mwanwa Mujila reveals the power of literature against a postcolonial backdrop. Tram 83, whose story is well showcased by a fantastic translation, is funny and energetic.
“Fiston Mwanza has invented “locomotive-literature”, the “tale-play” genre, and his first novel is the manifesto of a convulsive poetic prose, a cross between the styles of Aimé Césaire and Boris Vian.” – Le Nouvel Observateur
L’Apocalypse cinéma, by Peter Szendy, Capricci Editions, 2012.
Translated by William Bishop; to be published by Fordham University Press in August 2015.
At once scholarly and passionate, L’Apocalypse cinéma delves into one of the major themes of films: the Apocalypse. Incorporating research from the fields of film and philosophy, including the work of Spielberg and of Heidegger, Peter Szendy delivers a unique, in-depth analysis of the genre. This work is capable of reaching cinephiles and the wider public alike.
“Armed with an arsenal of audacious concepts, Peter Szendy confronts the torment of blockbusters with style. Before venturing to spend your next night out at the silver screen, be sure to take this thrilling film survival manual with you.”
– Philosophie Magazine
L’Echange des princesses, by Chantal Thomas, Seuil, 2013.
Translated by John Cullen; to be published by Other Press in July 2015.
In her most recent historical novel, L’Echange des princesses, Chantal Thomas deftly narrates the incredible yet true story of two arranged weddings, one between 11-year-old Louis XV and the 7 year old Marie-Anne Victoire of Spain, and the other between the Regent of France Philippe d’Orléans’s daughter, Louise-Elisabeth de Montpensier, and the future heir to the Spanish throne. This well-documented book is a fascinating account of exploitation and power.
“The magic of the book lies in the extravagance of the period, which the writer masters with a precise, ironic writing style.”
You can find more information about Julia Kristeva's Teresa, My Love, the 2014 spring session winner, here.
The Grand Prize Winner for 2014 (for the spring and fall session) will be announced at our annual award ceremony, which will take place on January 21, 2015 at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy. Stay tuned for the shortlist. It will be announced the second week of January!
The event will be open to the public, by RSVP only. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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