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Week in Review: November 18, 2019

Exploring Our Technological Age 

In Mediarchy (Polity Books, 2019, trans. by Andrew Brown)—an essay described as a "really magnificient work of synthesis" by media theorist McKenzie Wark—Yves Citton argues that our political regimes are now based less on nations or citizens than on audiences shaped by the media. By helping us become more aware of our conditioning, Citton encourages the development of new forms of political analysis and action that will help us rise to unprecedented, contemporary challenges. His previous essay, The Ecology of Attention (Polity Books, 2017), contends that "attention is the crucial resource of our time," and was described by Jonathan Crary as a "superb and indispensable intervention."

In The Age of Disruption: Technology and Madness in Computational Capitalism (Polity Books, 2019, trans. by Daniel Ross), philosopher Bernard Stiegler explains that our digital age has resulted in a kind of technological Wild West in which people are powerless and driven to the point of madness. Fearing a loss of political ethos and dissolving social bonds, he argues that we must first acknowledge our era as one of fundamental disruption and detachment and then forge new paths of thinking and being. Stiegler ultimately hopes to get his readers to “dream again”—to rediscover hope. Further explore both authors' works in Wark's blogpost here.


And The Winner Is…. 

After months of suspense and shortlists, the final winners of many Rentrée Littéraire prizes have been announced. Le prix Goncourt was awarded to Jean-Paul Dubois for his Tous les hommes n’habitent pas le monde de la même façon (L’Olivier), which recounts the tragic yet comic tribulations of a pastor’s son who is detained in Montreal. Expressing an incredible level of respect and admiration for Dubois, and his belief that his works will become classics, the president of the jury compared him to celebrated American authors John Irving and William Boyd. Le prix Goncourt des lycéens went to Karine Tuil for Les Choses humaines (Gallimard), a novel about domination, subterfuge, temptation, and impulse. Next, Le prix Renaudot was awarded to Sylvain Tesson for his La Panthère des neiges (Gallimard), a work that inspires philosophical and spiritual reflection through a tale about snow leopards in Tibet. Le prix Femina was awarded to Sylvain Prudhomme for Par les routes (Gallimard), a novel on the power of friendship and desire. Lastly, Laurent Binet had the honor of receiving the Grand prix du roman of L’Académie française for Civilizations (Grasset), an alternative history in which Christopher Columbus never discovered America and the Incas rule Europe.


Upcoming Authors on Tour

From now until the end of 2019, two incredible French authors will be embarking on a U.S. tour to present their recently translated works to American audiences. Until November 24th, Haïtien novelist, poet, journalist, and professor Lyonel Trouillot will be on tour for KANNJAWOU, an energetic celebration of Haiti and its capital in the early 2000s. In December, Stéphane Bouquet will discuss his poetry collection The Next Loves, a unique take on homosexuality, desire, loneliness, and love in which French poetic tradition meets the New York School movement. Describing the "raw ache" she felt while reading the collection, writer and translator Talia Franks expressed, "[the poems] left me feeling hungry for more, and yet at the same time there was a completeness to them." To learn more about French authors who are available for bookings this winter, click here.


Two French Novels Have Been Shortlisted for the 2019 Warwick Prize for Women in Translation 

Six titles have been shortlisted for the 2019 Warwick Prize for Woman in Translation, a £1000 award designed to make international, female voices more accessible to an Anglophone audience. This year, the list focuses on novels that blend the boundary between memoir and fiction as they “reflect on wars and displacement, change and adaptation.” Two of the selected works are by French authors: Négar Djavadi's "sophisticated debut," Disoriental (Europa Editions, 2018, trans. by Tina Kover), which won the 2019 Albertine Prize, and Annie Ernaux's "autobiography unlike any you have ever read," The Years (Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2018, trans. by Alison L. Strayer), which won the 2018 French-American Foundation Translation Prize. The final winner of the Warwick Prize will be announced in London on November 20th.