Read? Read. Read!
The Book Department of the French Embassy wishes you a very happy New Year, full of delightful reading experiences and literary encounters!
What’s on the horizon for 2014? You'll find a sneak peek at our upcoming projects below!
Around the U.S.
Among other events, Chicago will continue its series of webinars inaugurated by Julia Kristeva last year. Miami will host a francophone poetry cycle, while France-Atlanta will focus on digital issues. In LA, the third Vis-à-Vis festival will deal with graphic novels on screen. San Francisco will partner with Berkeley for a conference on “Memory Without Borders”.
In celebration of Poetry Month this April, a "Poetry & Music" cycle will gather Pierre Alféri, Rachida Madani and Anne Portugal. In the fall, a series of French-American debates will look at issues such as surveillance, virtue in politics, subversion, and conflict management. Most of our ‘Authors on Tour’ will tour the U.S. This will prepare the ground for our "Night of Philosophy", a gathering of French and American intellectuals in Spring 2015.
Jean Echenoz will be at the 92nd Street Y on April 17th for a conversation with Lydia Davis about his book 1914 (The New Press). The poet Adonis and Frédéric Gros, the author of A Philosophy of Walking (Verso), will participate in the PEN World Voices festival.
Finally, the event that should garner the most attention is the opening of New York City’s only French bookshop this June (located at 972 Fifth Avenue). The opening festival will be curated by Greil Marcus.
We are also working on more technical, but no less important, aspects of collaboration between French and American professionals, to support and promote translations.
To be Translated!
To encourage the publication of more translated titles, we have improved our grant programs. To acknowledge the translators’ outstanding work, French Voices has become an award shared between the publisher and the translator. The first French Voices Award ceremony will take place on February 6th at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, with a special homage to André Schiffrin.
The next issue of Fiction France, a collection of excerpts from promising titles recently published and not yet translated is due online this February.
This will be complemented by three new projects: creating a list of notable as-yet-untranslated French titles; establishing a committee of American translators who will work on publishing original short French texts in American magazines and reviews; and, in the Fall, organizing a conference in New York to encourage French and American journalists and critics to collaborate.
And as we have every year, we will set up meetings in Paris between two American publishers and their French counterparts, and we will send one translator to France for a residency.
To reinforce the promotion of translations, and in conjunction with the opening of the French bookshop, a pilot-program will provide ten independent bookstores across the U.S. with a “French Corner” comprised of 50 titles in translation. Chicago and Houston will join forces to produce reading guides in collaboration with publishing houses based in the Mid-west.
Along with the North American e-book newsletter created last year for French professionals, we are developing an award for digital projects, to encourage innovative French and American initiatives aimed at publishing and promoting French books in the U.S. A digital exhibition and workshop will also take place at the new French bookstore in New York.
We think it is our role to share the information we gather with the public, in order to offer a clearer vision of cultural exchanges between our two countries. To that effect, we have created the first systematic list of titles translated from the French.
After publishing an article entitled “Why Do French Books Sell Abroad?”, of which a French adaptation recently appeared in the Nouvel Observateur, we will release a piece on Franco-Belgian bandes dessinées in the US just before the Angoulême festival; and another on French non-fiction in March, following the publication of a study ordered by the Institut français in Paris.
In 2014, we will carry on defending books in translation! Books are the primary cultural industry in France, even before cinema, with France publishing a higher number of translations than any other country. Each link in the literary chain –the author, the agent, the publisher, the translator, the distributor, the bookstore- must be vigorously supported. This is a matter of civilization.
Happy New Year!
Laurence Marie, Head of the Book Department,
with Anne-Sophie Hermil, Colombine Depaire, Fanny Vergnes and Alicen Hubert
Special thanks to Colombine Depaire for her extremely fruitful two years with us as Fiction Program Officer, and welcome to her successor Marine Baudoin!
New York, NY