US Editors: Check Out This Year’s French Voices Grantwinners!

March 17th, 2011 § 0 comments

American editors! You want to publish French books, but you don’t know which ones are good! Also, you don’t have the money! How does $6,000 from the French government sound? Good, right? Then check out this list of 2010 winners of the French Voices grant!

What is the French Voices grant program, you ask? Why,

“French Voices”, in partnership with the PEN American Center, financially supports the translation and publication of up to ten contemporary French or Francophone works per year.

A committee of independent professional experts has been brought together to select the works to be translated.

The premise is to create what will become a collection of 30 books over an initial period of three years. The criteria for selection will be new trends in fiction and under-represented perspectives or points of view in non-fiction works.

The French works published in the US will each receive the patronage of a major American writer, either in the form of a preface to the book, or his or her involvement in a major public event, etc.

Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud’s A Life on Paper was published under the auspices of the French Voices grant, among others. Many of the worthy works selected this year are still orphans looking for a nice publishing house to call home. For your evaluating convenience, all grantwinners come with blurbs, summaries, and translation samples in English. I’d like to draw your attention to two titles in particular, whose samples I translated.

  • The River Will Kill the White Man (Fayard, 2009) by prolific French powerhouse Patrick Besson, is an erudite epsionage thriller about the Congo. The latest issue of Georgia Perimeter College’s literary journal The Chattahoochee Review features my translation of the first chapter.
  • A Game for Swallows (Cambourakis, 2007) is Zeina Abirached’s stunning graphic memoir about growing up in war-torn Beirut, innovative in its geometric layouts and use of black & white. Excerpts have appeared in Words Without Borders and the PEN America literary journal. I’d like to point out that this is the first French graphic novel ever to receive a literary grant of this caliber towards publication.

Congratulations to all the authors and translators who were recipients of this year’s grants!

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