2018 French Voices Grand Prizes Unveiled

2018 French Voices Grand Prizes Unveiled

New York, April 15, 2019 The Cultural Services of the French Embassy and FACE Foundation have announced the recipients for this year’s fiction and nonfiction French Voices Grand Prizes: Sciences de la vie by Joy Sorman (fiction) and The Unconstructable Earth: An Ecology of Separation by Frédéric Neyrat (non-fiction). Originally published in French by Le Seuil in 2017, Sorman’s Sciences de la Vie was translated by Lara Vergnaud and actively seeks an American publisher. Originally published in French by Le Seuil in 2016, The Unconstructable Earth: An Ecology of Separation was translated by Drew S. Burk and released by Fordham University Press in October 2018. 

As a part of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy’s mission to facilitate the exchange of cultures between France and the United States, the French Voices Awards were created in 2006 to promote the best of French contemporary fiction and non-fiction. 515 French titles are scheduled to be published in the United States in 2019, on par with the record-breaking levels of 2018, and a significant increase from the 455 French titles published in the United States in 2017. A number of these titles were recipients of the French Voices Awards. During the last thirteen years, thanks to its independent committee of experts, the French Voices Awards have supported passionate translators and publishers committed to bringing to American readers the best of French contemporary literature and non-fiction. Among the 143 titles distinguished since its inception are many notable examples such as Muriel Barbery’s The Elegance of the Hedgehog which sold over a million copies or more recently Tram 83 by Congolese writer Fiston Mwanza Mujila which was nominated for the Man Booker Prize.

In 2018, 13 titles were selected by the committee.  For the first time ever, French Voices will give out Grand Prizes to two of these 15 titles, one in fiction, and one in non-fiction.  The Grand Prizes will receive $10,000 while other titles will receive $6,000 each. The award will be distributed among the publisher and translator.

In Science de la Vieauthor Joy Sorman blends, with a distinctive style that has been dubbed “docu-fiction,” history and fiction to explore the evolution—and changing perception—of disease. This elegant odyssey through the annals of medical history, led by a series of vivid heroines, questions our relationship to the body, notions of transmission, and the female condition.

Joy Sorman is a French writer, feminist, and former philosophy professor. In 2005, she published her first book, Boys, boys, boys.  Subsequent publications include Du Bruit (2007), Gros Œuvre (2009), Paris Gare du Nord (2011), Comme une bête (2012), and La peau de l’ours (2014), her most recent book Sciences de la vie was published in 2017. She lives in Paris.

Lara Vergnaud is an editor and literary translator. Her translations include Ahmed Bouanani’s The Hospital (New Directions, 2018) and France, Story of a Childhood (Yale University Press, 2016), as well as texts by Mohand Fellag, Joy Sorman, and Scholastique Mukasonga, among others. Her essays and translations have appeared in The Paris Review, Asymptote, Lit Hub, Words Without Borders, The Brooklyn Rail, and Two Lines Press. Lara has received two PEN/Heim Translation Grants and has been longlisted for the National Translation Award. She is a finalist for the 2019 French-American Foundation Translation Prize.

In The Unconstructable Earth: An Ecology of Separation, Frédéric Neyrat brings us to the heart of constructivist thought and calls into question the divide between nature and culture, critiquing the myth of nondistinction between nature and all-powerful technology to note what in nature is unsubstitutable and recognize Earth in its singularity.

Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Frederic Neyrat is a philosopher whose work ranges from political economy to aesthetics and from psychoanalysis to ecological thought and science studies.  The Unconstructable Earth: An Ecology of Separation will be his twelfth book.

Drew S. Burk has translated a number of works of contemporary philosophy from the French. He is a freelance translator and consulting editor for the University of Minnesota Press. Burk has translated essential texts by French thinkers such as Henri Bergson (Laughter, Atropos Press, 2010), Judith Balso (Pessoa, the Metaphysical Courier, Atropos Press, 2011; Affirmation of Poetry, Univocal, 2015), Jacques Rancière (The Groove of The Poem: Reading Philippe Beck, Univocal, 2016), François Laruelle (Photo-Fiction, a Non-Standard Aesthetics, Univocal, 2012) and recently Georges Didi-Huberman (The Man Who Walked in Color, Univocal, 2017).

Full list of titles awarded this edition:

– L’Economie à l’épreuve d’art. Art et capitalisme dans les années 1960 by Sophie Cras  (Les Presses du Réel, 2018)  | The Artist as Economist: Art and Capitalism in the 1960s, transl. Malcolm DeBevoise (Yale University Press, 2019)
Le Garçon by Marcus Malte (Zulma, 2012) | Boy,  transl. Emma Ramadan and Tom Roberge (Restless Books, 2019)
– La Part Inconstructible de la terre : Critique du géoconstructivisme by Frédéric Neyrat (Seuil, 2016)  | The Unconstructable Earth: An Ecology of Separation,  transl. Drew S. Burk (Fordham University Press,  2018)
– Sciences de la vie by Joy Sorman (Seuil, 2017) | transl. Lara Vergnaud (seeking an American publisher)
– Enrichissement by Luc Boltanski and Arnaud Esquerre (Gallimard, 2017)  | transl. Catherine Porter (Polity Press, March 2020)
– Médiarchie by Yves Citton (Seuil, 2017) | Mediarchy, transl. Andrew Brown (Polity Press, September 2019)
– Le Don des philosophes : Repenser la reciprocité (Seuil, 2012) by Marcel Hénaff | The Philosophers’ Gift: Reexamining Reciprocity, transl. Jean-Louis Morhange (Fordham University Press, October 2019)
– Toutes les familles heureuses (JC Lattès, 2017) by Hervé Le Tellier | All Happy Families: A Memoir,  transl. Adriana Hunter (Other Press, March 2019)
– L’Afrique et ses fantômes : Écrire l’après (2015) by Seloua Luste Boulbina, transl. Lara Hengehold (Indiana University Press, 2019)
– Bakhita (Albin Michel, 2017) by Véronique Olmi | Bakhita: A Novel of the Saint of Sudan, transl. Adriana Hunter (Other Press, April 2019)
– Confessions d’un homosexual à Émile Zola (2017) by Michael Rosenfeld | transl. William A. Peniston and Nancy Erber, (Harrington Park Press, 2019)
– Afrotopia (2016) by Felwine Sarr | Afrotopia, transl. Drew Burk and Sarah Jones-Boardman (University of Minnesota Press, October 2019)
– Où en sommes-nous ? by Emmanuel Todd (Seuil, 2017) | trans. Andrew Brown, (Polity Press, June 2019).

The selection committee includes translators, authors, academics, and publishers, such as: Yale university Professor author and translator, Alice Kaplan, author, translator & Editor in Chief at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Mark Polizzotti, and Publisher of  Seven Stories Press Dan Simon, among others.

The call for applications for the 2019 second session of the French Voices Awards is now open, and runs through May 15, 2019. More information here: www.frenchculture.org.

The Award is made possible thanks to the generous support of FACE Foundation, the Florence Gould Foundation, the CHANEL Foundation and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy.

About the French Voices Program

The French Voices program was created in 2006 by the French Cultural Services and PEN American Center to support translations from French to English and to encourage the publication of French titles in the U.S. Since its inception, the program has helped the translation 143 French titles. Several French Voices grantees have become best-sellers, such as Muriel Barbery’s The Elegance of the Hedgehog (2008), which sold over 900,000 copies, Pierre Bayard’s How to Talk about Books You Haven’t Read (2009), Alain Mabanckou’s The Lights of Pointe-Noire (2015), Yanick Lahens’s Bain de lune (2015) and Patrick Boucheron’s Conjurer la peur. Essai sur la force politique des images (2017). The full list 2006-2016 is available at: http://face-foundation.org/french-voices/previous-grantees.html. The program is supported by the French American Cultural Exchange Foundation.

About The Cultural Services of the French Embassy

The Cultural Services of the French Embassy promotes the best of French arts, literature, cinema, digital innovation, language, and higher education across the US. Based in New York City, Washington D.C., and eight other cities across the country, the Cultural Services brings artists, authors, intellectuals and innovators to cities nationwide. It also builds partnerships between French and American artists, institutions and universities on both sides of the Atlantic. In New York, through its bookshop Albertine, it fosters French-American exchange around literature and the arts. www.frenchculture.org

About FACE Foundation

FACE Foundation is an American nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting French-American relations through innovative cultural and educational projects. In partnership with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, FACE promotes artistic, literary and educational exchange and collaboration between creative professionals from both countries. With additional corporate, foundation, and individual support, FACE administers grant programs in the performing and visual arts, cinema, translation, and secondary and higher education, while providing financial sponsorship to French-American festivals and other cultural initiatives. FACE focuses on new and recent work of living artists and the promotion of bilingualism and the French language. FACE Foundation (French-American Cultural Exchange) is a 501(c)(3) organization chartered by the state of New York. For more, visit www.face-foundation.org

Media Contact

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