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2019 Hemingway Grant Winners

We are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2019 Hemingway Grants! Launched in the 1990's by the Book Department of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, the Hemingway Grant Program provides American publishers financial help for the translation and publication of a French work into English. Grants awarded for each selected work, both in fiction and non-fiction, range from $1,000 to $3,000.


Journal de l'Occupation by Jean Giono, Gallimard, 1995

Translated by Jody Gladding | To be published by Archipelago Books under the title Occupation Journal

From September 20, 1943 to September 6, 1944, famous French author Jean Giono kept a journal that remained unpublished until 1995. During World War II, Giono was an outspoken pacifist, and he was censured for this unpopular stance by both the Left and the Right. He was imprisoned in 1939 for encouraging defeatism, and again in 1944 for collaboration. Occupation Journal records national, local, and domestic events: Paris being bombed; an assassination attempt on a Manosque resistance leader; lightning striking Giono’s house. It also provides a compelling portrait of an essentially apolitical writer out of step with his time. More info here.

Un temps de saison by Marie Ndiaye, Les Editions de Minuit, 2004

Translated by Jordan Stump | To be published by Two Lines Press 

Herman is a math professor from Paris who, each year, spends his summer vacation in the same village with his wife and son. But this year, the family extends their stay past September 1, after which the weather—and the entire village—becomes threatening and seems to conspire against Herman. His wife and son disappear during an excursion, and the remainder of this short fable revolves around Herman’s dream-like effort to find them and extract himself from the village. Marie NDiaye creates worlds where strange coincidences, harsh cruelty, and constantly shifting relationships all seem part of some shadowy truth. More info here.

Le silence des Chagos by Shenaz Patel, Éditions de l’Olivier, 2005

Translated by Jeffrey Zuckerman | Published by Restless Books on November, 5, 2019 under the title Silence of the Chagos

This is the story of the Chagossians. The story of people who spent their days harvesting coconuts and their nights dancing to sega music until they were forced to board a ship with a one-way trajectory. The story of lives that would be upended by international strategy games. The story of an island that would be seized by the British and then leased to the Americans, transformed from a homeland to a military base. The Silence of the Chagos is the story of Charlesia, mourning her past, and of a boy named Nordvaer determined to uncover what has been left unsaid, but most of all it is the story of the peoples fighting doggedly for a return that seems all but impossible as they consider what it means to call a place home when there is no hope of return. More info here.

Le Théâtre du Soleil: Les Cinquante Premières Années by Beatrice Picon-Vallin, Actes Sud, 2014

Translated by Judith Miller | To be published by Routledge 

Le Théâtre du Soleil, retraces the history of the premier theater company created by world-famous director Ariane Mnouchkine, from its inceptions as a university theater troupe in the mid-1950s to the present. Béatrice Picon-Vallin tells the epic story of a company which distinguishes itself by the vast quantity and high quality of its staged creations, its original work methods and relationship to the world. The publication is augmented with photographs, programs, cast lists carefully curated by Franck Pendino the archivist of Le Théâtre du Soleil. More info here.

L'individuation à la lumière des notions de forme et d'information by Gilbert Simondon, Editions Jérôme Millon, 2005

Translated by Taylor Adkins | To be published by University of Minnesota Press in Spring 2020

Simondon’s work is a strong contribution to how humans comprehend culture, society, to knowledge formation and their ever-changing relation with technology and their place in the world. The author focuses on how living beings undergo change and experience becoming—an age-old question of philosophy: the question of being and becoming. For Simondon, individuation is an ongoing dynamic process, reliant on tensions, pressures and transfers of energy, in both human and non-human worlds. His complex inquiry ultimately touches on how one can understand the role new technologies play in the formation of milieus and collectives through processes of relation. More info here.


Arcadie by Emmanuelle Bayamack-Tam, POL, 2018

Translated by Ruth Diver | To be published by Seven Stories Press in October 2020

Farah and her parents seek refuge in a utopian, hippy community on the Franco-Italian border that brings together people who are fragile and maladjusted to the outside world. In this Eden, an ode to bodily freedom and love, Farah discovers her unusual, ambiguous gender. Celebrating individuality and the fluidity of identity, she comes out of her shell and develops a unique charisma. Through inventive writing and numerous literary references, Bayamack-Tam ultimately touches upon the contemporary subjects of gender, climate change, migration, and animal exploitation. 

Artemisia by Nathalie Ferlut & Tamia Baudouin, Delcourt, 2017

Translated by Maëlle Doliveux | To be published by Beehive Books in September 2020 

Artemisia was a painter of passions, rich colors, fraught moments, and women taking command of their own stories. She reversed the classical depictions of female characters in mythology, presenting them with agency and as the protagonists of their own narratives. She was the hero of her own story, too. Despite working in a male-dominated field at a time when women could not legally buy painting supplies, she achieved fame and fortune through her art. Ultimately, through their remarkable comic, Ferlut and Baudouin retrace the life of one of the greatest feminist figures of the Renaissance. 


Le Trésor de la guerre d’Espagne by Serge Pey, Zulma, 2011

Translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith | To be published by Archipelago Books on February 18, 2020 under the title The Treasure of the Spanish Civil War and Other Tales

Serge Pey’s stories are vivid vignettes of the lives of Spanish Civil War refugees and their children, who fled on foot from Catalonia to Southern France through the Pyrenees, only to be interned in French prison camps upon their arrival. A kaleidoscope of memory and imagination, the collection is a series of surreal glimpses from the perspective of political refugees, many of them children. Through their eyes, we see the secret language of resistance: codes in clothes lines, secret libraries of banned books, and cherry trees named for assassinated comrades. Pey’s understated yet unusual prose fills a brutal landscape with childlike wonder. More info here

Un pays pour mourir by Abdellah Taïa, Seuil, 2015

Translated by Emma Ramadan | To be published by Seven Stories Press on May 19, 2020 under the title A Country for Dying

Un Pays pour Mourir follows three disenchanted migrants - a Moroccan prostitute, an exiled gay Iranian and a transsexual Algerian - as their lives collide and hurtle towards uncertain futures in present-day Paris. During their last fight to find a place in post-colonial society, they defy their misery and humiliation through generosity, solidarity, and love. The novel is a beautiful and piercing tale of disillusionment that recounts the confrontation between a ruthless world and human aspirations. More info here.

Je suis le carnet de Dora Maar by Brigitte Benkemoun, Stock, 2019

Translated by Jody Gladding | To be published by Getty Publications on May 5, 2020 under the title Finding Dora Maar 

In search of a replacement for his lost Hermes agenda, Brigitte Benkemoun's husband buys a vintage diary on eBay. When it arrives, she opens it and finds private notes dating back to 1952, including twenty pages of phone numbers and addresses for artistic luminaries of postwar Europe. After realizing the provenance of the address book, Benkemoun embarks on a two-year voyage of discovery. Through her enchanting and original tale, Maar transports readers back to the artistic and intellectual 20th century. More info here.

Paludes by André Gide, Public Domain, 1895

Translated by Damion Searls | To be published by New York Review Books on December 8, 2020 under the title Marhslands

Marshlands is a classic satire of literary Paris, the world of the salons and cénacles. A harassed young writer attempts to produce a novel which will persuade his friends to abandon their directionless lives. Prometheus misbound: The titan Prometheus and several legendary ancient Greeks visit modern Paris, where they mix in municipal government, high finance, and cafe society. Gide's masterful work, celebrated as elegant, suspenseful, and exciting, is considered one of the first modern, French novels.

The Cultural Services of the French Embassy works with FACE Foundation (French American Cultural Exchange), the Institut français and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to promote literature and encourage English translations of French and Francophone fiction and non-fiction works. It oversees three bi-annual translations programs from French into English of works that have not yet been published in the United States. Awards and grants go to translations of fiction, non fiction, poetry, children and comic books. More info here.