Albertine Prize Unveils 2018 Nominees

Albertine Prize Unveils 2018 Nominees

New York, NY (Embargoed for 9am ET on December 6, 2017) – The 2018 Albertine Prize, one of the only literary honors in the United States whose winner is selected by the reading public rather than a judging panel, today unveiled its nominee list of five francophone works of fiction translated into English and published in the U.S. over the past year. The $10,000 prize is co-presented by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and Van Cleef & Arpels.

Showcasing the diversity and inventiveness of contemporary French-language writing, the five nominated books map a literary journey that encompasses a Congolese orphanage in the 1970s (Black Moses, Alain Mabanckou); a young man’s sexual awakening in a French factory town (The End of Eddy, Édouard Louis); artistic rapture in the Middle East (Compass, Mathias Énard); and interior explorations of love (Not One Day, Anne Garréta) and violation (Incest, Christine Angot).

Thanks to the enthusiastic public response to last year’s inaugural award, Albertine has more than doubled this year’s voting period, allowing participants ample time to read the nominated works and select their favorites at from now through May 1, 2018. The author and translator of the prize-winning book will be honored in a gala ceremony at Albertine on June 6th, 2018. The author will receive $8,000 and the translator will receive $2,000.

Author Antoine Volodine, who won last year’s inaugural Albertine Prize with his story collection Bardo or Not Bardo, declared the award to be among the most meaningful of his long career because the readers themselves chose him.

Throughout the five-month voting period, Albertine Books will offer up a series of public events and online features to help readers dive deeper into the five nominated works. The store’s website will spotlight one book per month with related interviews, essays, video content, and suggested “book-a-likes,” well-known American novels whose similar styles and themes can help guide voters in their decisions.

On April 12, 2018, Albertine Books will hold a lively Book Battle, where readers can come cheer on five of the American literary community’s leading lights as they defend their favorite Albertine Prize nominee. The event is free and open to the public and will be streamed at

Dedicated to introducing the very best of contemporary French-language literature to American audiences, the annual prize was launched in 2017. “We launched the Albertine Prize with the belief that American readers, who have always had a deep appreciation for French literature, would eagerly embrace contemporary voices–our expectations were richly rewarded,” said Bénédicte de Montlaur, Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy in the United States. “We hope to build on the success of our first year by creating a truly democratic prize that is a source of pride for both the readers and the winning author and translator.”

Today’s nominee announcement was delivered at an immersive launch party where guests were invited to wander throughout the historic Payne Whitney mansion that houses Albertine and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, listening to actors in different rooms read excerpts from each of the nominated books.

The books can be purchased at Albertine Books on Fifth Avenue and 79th Street and at the online store at, or borrowed from New York City’s libraries, where they are all available.

The five shortlisted books were selected by the Albertine Prize co-chairs, Lydia Davis and Francois Busnel, the Albertine staff, and Lit Hub, who based their evaluations on the quality of the original French text and the English translation, as well as each book’s contribution to the overall diversity of the nominee list. To qualify, entrants had to have been released by a U.S. publisher in 2017.

The Albertine Prize is co-presented by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York, home to Albertine Books, and Van Cleef & Arpels. The program is made possible with support from Air France and Bookwitty. Additional support is provided by Pommery and La Rêveuse. Media Partner: Lit Hub.

To vote for the Albertine Prize, please visit


Complete List Of Nominees


By Christine Angot, Tr. Tess Lewis


Amid the fallout of a torrential relationship with another woman, the narrator embarks on a journey of self-analysis, giving the reader insight into her tangled experiences with desire, paranoia, and incest as she discovers the trauma behind her pain. With the intimacy offered by a confession, Angot’s novel audaciously confronts readers with one of society’s greatest taboos.

CHRISTINE ANGOT is one of the most controversial authors writing in France today. Her novels deal with a variety of taboo topics, including homosexuality, incest, and sexual violence, while continually blurring the line between autobiography and fiction. Angot won the Prix France Culture in 2005, the Prix de Flore in 2006, and the Prix Décembre in 2015.






* Compass

By Mathias Énard, Tr. Charlotte Mandell, New Directions

In Vienna, the musicologist Franz Ritter spends a restless night drifting between dreams and memories, going back and forth between his love for the Middle East and his elusive partner, Sarah. With exhilarating prose and sweeping erudition, Énard pulls astonishing elements from disparate sources—nineteenth-century composers and esoteric orientalists, Balzac and Agatha Christie—and binds them together in a most magical way.

Mathias Énard is the award-winning author of Zone (Three Percent) and Street of Thieves (Three Percent), and a translator from Persian and Arabic. He won the Prix Goncourt in 2015 for Compass.


*Not One Day

By Anne Garréta, Tr. Emma Ramadan

Deep Vellum

Not One Day, winner of the Prix Médicis, begins with the maxim, “Not one day without a woman.” What follows is an intimate, erotic, and sometimes bitter recounting of loves and lovers past, breathtakingly written, exploring the interplay between memory, fantasy, and desire. Garréta wrote the novel under strict constraints, producing one chapter per day.

ANNE GARRÉTA is the first member of Oulipo, a collection of French-speaking writers and mathematicians who seek to write works using constrained techniques, to be born after the organization’s founding. She is a graduate of the École normale supérieure and teaches at Duke University. Her first novel, Sphinx, which was hailed by critics, tells of a love story between two people without giving any indication of their gender identity.


* The End of Eddy

By Édouard Louis, Tr. Michael Lucey

Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Growing up in a poor village in northern France, Eddy Bellgueule wanted only to be a man in the eyes of his family and neighbors. But from childhood, he was different – “girlish,” intellectually precocious, and attracted to other men. The End of Eddy captures the violence and desperation of life in a French factory town, painting a sensitive, universal portrait of boyhood and sexual awakening based on the author’s own undisguised experience.

Born Eddy Bellegueule in Hallencourt, France, ÉDOUARD LOUIS became one of the most prominent young voices in the French literary landscape in 2014 when The End of Eddy, his debut novel, became an instant bestseller in France and went on to be translated into 20 languages. His second novel, Histoire de la violence (2016), recounted his experience as a victim of rape and attempted murder four years prior.

* Black Moses

By Alain Mabanckou, Tr. Helen Stevenson

The New Press

A rollicking new novel described as “Oliver Twist in 1970s Africa”  Black Moses is a vital new extension of Mabanckou’s cycle of Pointe-Noire novels that stand out as one of the grandest, funniest, fictional projects of our time.

Born in Congo in 1966, ALAIN MABANCKOU was dubbed “Africa’s Samuel Beckett . . . one of the continent’s greatest living writers” by  The Guardian. An an award-winning novelist, poet, and essayist, he currently teaches literature at UCLA. His books include African PsychoBroken GlassBlack Bazaar, and Tomorrow I’ll Be Twenty, as well as The Lights of Pointe-NoireBlack Moses was a finalist for the Man Booker International Prize 2017.


About Albertine

Albertine is a reading room and bookshop that brings to life French-American intellectual exchange. A permanent venue for free events and debates, the space offers more than 14,000 contemporary and classic titles from over 30 French-speaking countries around the world. Visit

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.

About Van Cleef & Arpels

Van Cleef & Arpels was born in Paris’ Place Vendôme in 1906, following Alfred Van Cleef’s marriage to Estelle Arpels in 1895. Always striving for excellence, the Maison has become a worldwide reference through its unique designs, its choice of exceptional stones and its virtuoso craftsmanship, offering jewels and timepieces that tell stories and bring enchantment to life. Literature and poetry from famed authors such as Shakespeare, Jules Verne and Charles Perrault have inspired collections that go beyond the world of High Jewelry, allowing friends of the Maison to escape to mythical lands filled with magic and fairies, and to explore new horizons, from the mysterious depths of the ocean to the heart of the galaxy. Visit for additional information.

About Lit Hub

Lit Hub is an organizing principle in the service of literary culture, a single, trusted, daily source for all the news, ideas and richness of contemporary literary life. There is more great literary content online than ever before, but it is scattered, easily lost—with the help of its editorial partners, Lit Hub is a site readers can rely on for smart, engaged, entertaining writing about all things books. Each day—alongside original content and exclusive excerpts—Literary Hub is proud to showcase an editorial feature from one of its many partners from across the literary spectrum: publishers big and small, journals, bookstores, and non-profits.