French Voices

January 27th, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

I’m delighted to announce that Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud’s A Life on Paper, due out from Small Beer Press in May, has been selected as part of this year’s French Voices grant program. As French Book News explains:

“In 2006 the French Cultural Services and PEN American Center inaugurated an ambitious new program of support for translations from French into English.  The program’s goal is to create a US-published series of fifty books representing the very best of contemporary French writing in a number of fields.”

A Life on Paper, which was also recently awarded a Hemingway Grant by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, joins truly prestigious company. I see this as not only a vote of confidence for the quality of Châteaureynaud’s work, and for independent for-profit publishers like Small Beer, but for the addition of a new kind of voice–a new tonal range, so to speak–to the chorus readers have generally come to know as French literature. We all have a notion of what French letters are about, however narrow or hidebound that may be, a notion tied in part to others historical and national, and often shaped by hidden contingencies of canon and cultural exchange, but periodically that notion needs to evolve. The French Voices program is engaged in a noble battle to broaden the expectations American audiences have of French literature–its offerings and possibilities–by giving its imprimatur to what best represents France at this moment: in this case, deeming fabulism and fantasy a worthy addition to the transatlantic conversation. » Read the rest of this entry «

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