15 May 08 | Chad W. Post | Comments

I’m sure this has been written about already, but I just received the invitation to the 21st Annual Translation Prize ceremony sponsored by the French-American Foundation and Florence Gould Foundation.

Every year these two foundations give out a prize to the best fiction and non-fiction translations from French into English. Here are this year’s finalists:


  • Allah Is Not Obliged by Ahmadou Kourouma, translated by Frank Wynne;
  • Kick the Animal Out by Veronique Ovalde, translated by Adriana Hunter
  • Place Names by Jean Ricardou, translated by Jordan Stump;
  • Ravel by Jean Echenoz, translated by Linda Coverdale;
  • Solea by Jean-Claude Izzo, translated by Howard Curtis.


  • The Curtain by Milan Kundera, translated by Linda Asher;
  • Divagations by Stephane Mallarme, translated by Barbara Johnson;
  • How to Talk about Books You Haven’t Read by Pierre Bayard, translated by Jeffrey Mehiman;
  • Life Laid Bare by Jean Hatzfeld, translated by Linda Coverdale;
  • A Voice from Elsewhere by Maurice Blanchot, translated by Charlotte Mandell.

All are worthy titles, although I’m pulling for Ravel and Life Laid Bare so that Linda Coverdale can walk away with a dual victory . . .

Winners receive a cash prize of $10,000 each, and in case you’re interested, the ceremony takes place Wednesday, May 28—the day before the start of BookExpo America.

Rambling Jack
Rambling Jack by Micheál Ó Conghaile
Reviewed by Vincent Francone

“Rambling Jack—what’s that?”
“A novel. Novella, I guess.”
“Yeah, it looks short. What is it, a hundred pages?”
“Sorta. It’s a duel language book, so really, only about… 50 pages total.”
“50 pages?”
“Including illustrations.”
“And this—what. . .

Read More >

The Things We Don't Do
The Things We Don't Do by Andrés Neuman
Reviewed by Tiffany Nichols

Many authors are compared to Roberto Bolaño. However, very few authors have the privilege of having a Roberto Bolaño quote on the cover of their work; and at that, one which states, “Good readers will find something that can be. . .

Read More >

Private Life
Private Life by Josep Maria de Sagarra
Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

In Josep Maria de Sagarra’s Private Life, a man harangues his friend about literature while walking through Barcelona at night:

When a novel states a fact that ties into another fact and another and another, as the chain goes on. . .

Read More >

Dinner by César Aira
Reviewed by Lori Feathers

César Aira dishes up an imaginative parable on how identity shapes our sense of belonging with Dinner, his latest release in English. Aira’s narrator (who, appropriately, remains nameless) is a self-pitying, bitter man—in his late fifties, living again with. . .

Read More >

We're Not Here to Disappear
We're Not Here to Disappear by Olivia Rosenthal
Reviewed by Megan C. Ferguson

Originally published in French in 2007, We’re Not Here to Disappear (On n’est pas là pour disparaître) won the Prix Wepler-Fondation La Poste and the Prix Pierre Simon Ethique et Réflexion. The work has been recently translated by Béatrice Mousli. . .

Read More >

The Queen's Caprice
The Queen's Caprice by Jean Echenoz
Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

Even though the latest from Jean Echenoz is only a thin volume containing seven of what he calls “little literary objects,” it is packed with surprises. In these pieces, things happen below the surface, sometimes both literally and figuratively. As. . .

Read More >

French Concession
French Concession by Xiao Bai
Reviewed by Emily Goedde

Who is this woman? This is the question that opens Xiao Bai’s French Concession, a novel of colonial-era Shanghai’s spies and revolutionaries, police and smugglers, who scoot between doorways, walk nonchalantly down avenues, smoke cigars in police bureaus, and lounge. . .

Read More >