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.

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. . .

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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. . .

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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. . .

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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. . .

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Anna Karenina
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

For the past 140 years, Anna Karenina has been loved by millions of readers all over the world. It’s easy to see why: the novel’s two main plots revolve around characters who are just trying to find happiness through love.. . .

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The Cold Song
The Cold Song by Linn Ullmann
Reviewed by David Richardson

Linn Ullmann’s The Cold Song, her fifth novel, is built much like the house about which its story orbits: Mailund, a stately white mansion set in the Norwegian countryside a few hours drive from Oslo. The house, nestled into the. . .

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This Life
This Life by Karel Schoeman
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

Karel Schoeman’s Afrikaans novel, This Life, translated by Else Silke, falls into a genre maybe only noticed by the type of reader who tends toward Wittgenstein-type family resemblances. The essential resemblance is an elderly narrator, usually alone—or with one other. . .

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