Voices” - what is it?
The French version of World Voices! To make contemporary French
voices available to American readers through translation -
books to be read and debated by American readers eager to
explore new genres and ideas.
What Is the objective of this program?
To ensure that 30 contemporary French books are translated
in the United States by the end of 2008. In 2006, one in three
books that received grants had no American publisher; they
found one thanks to the French Voices grant and through our
Who is already participating?
The Book Office of the French Embassy’s Cultural Services,
the PEN American Center, the Center for Literary Translation
at Columbia University, and the Villa Gillet in Lyon, France.
Who else can participate?
There are two ways to participate:
- if you are a literary agent, editor or translator, and you
already have a ootranslated sample of a French book, fill
in the application form ooavailable online at www.frenchbooknews.com
and send your ooapplication to us,
- if you are a reader, bookseller, or simply interested in
translation, send ooyour suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who chooses the books?
A committee of French and American professionals meets several
times a year to read and discuss the works submitted for consideration.
The committee is headed by a representative from the Book
Office of the French Embassy’s Cultural Services and
comprises representatives from the Translation Committee of
PEN American Center as well as writers, translators, university
professors, literary agents, editors, and booksellers. They
not only read and speak French, but also know the intricacies
and idiosyncrasies of both the French and American markets.
What criteria are used to select a book?
- it must be a French book published after 2000,
- the quality of the French book,
- the quality of the translation,
- innovative content and literary forms,
- possible reception in the American bookmarket (i.e., would
an ssAmerican reader buy this book in translation).
What Is to be gained by participating?
To help offset the financial risks associated with distributing
translated texts in the American marketplace (which can be
closed to translations), the publisher of each selected project
will receive $6,000 for the translator’s stipend.
If a project without an American publisher is selected, we
will do our best to support it by identifying and making overtures
to a suitable partner.
Moreover, while the translation is in preparation, the translator
can apply for a residency at the Villa Gillet in Lyon, France.
All transport and lodging costs will be covered for a stay
of six to eight weeks. The translator will be immersed in
his/her craft and get to meet the French-speaking author whose
work he/she is translating.
Why speak of “a collection”?
The books will be published by different houses, but there
will still be a coherent thread. To establish this coherence,
the French Voices logo will appear on every book included
in the series. To attract as many readers as possible, especially
those who may be more hesitant to choose translated texts,
each book will contain a short preface by a notable American
author who will explain the book’s main ideas and themes.
Additionally, a free reading guide will accompany each book
Readers may decide to buy a single book or the entire collection.
Reading groups are being formed as part of this endeavor to
encourage discussion and debate. We will inform Reading circles
and all the readers of each new release by a special newsletter.
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