Francisco Goldman was the MC at the very first Best Translated Book Award ceremony, which took place at the fantastic Melville House offices. He gave a great speech about the importance of translation, and included an anecdote about translating a Gabriel Garcia Marquez story for Playboy . . . As many of you probably know, Goldman’s wife, Aura Estrada, was a translator who was tragically killed in an accident in Mexico back in 2007. Since that time, Frank established the Aura Estrada Prize, which is given out every other year to a woman writer under the age of 35 and who writes in Spanish.
The story of Aura’s death and its impact on Frank’s life is heavy and emotional and touching, and is the basis for his latest book, Say Her Name. This got a lot of good critical attention when it came out earlier this year, and it was announced over the weekend that it also won the Prix Femina Estranger award in France:
Francisco Goldman has won the Prix Femina Étranger for his novel Say Her Name. Created in 1904 by a group of writers for the magazine formerly known as La Vie heureuse, and known today as Femina, the The Prix Femina is a French literary prize that is comprised of three categories. The Prix Femina Étranger is awarded to the best foreign novel. Francisco Goldman is the first American to win this award since Joyce Carol Oates in 2005.
Since being published in April, Say Her Name has been no stranger to high praises. It was featured on the cover of the New York Times Book Review where it was described as, “Passionate and moving . . . beautifully written . . . the truth that emerges in this book has less to do with the mystery of [Aura’s] death . . . than with the miracle of the astonishing, spirited, deeply original young woman Goldman so adored . . . So remarkable is this resurrection that at times I felt the book itself had a pulse.” Vanity Fair raved, “Say Her Name is exhilarating, a testament to love that questions our suppositions about luck, fate, good fortune, and tragedy, and demands our agency in interpreting the narrative arc of an altered life.” And Entertainment Weekly captured it beautifully calling it, “Extraordinary . . .The more deeply you have loved in your life, the more this book will wrench you
(The press release cuts off at that point . . . )
Congrats, to Frank! This couldn’t happen to a nicer, more giving person.
The première sélection of the Prix Femina was announced today. It’s a long list because they give out two prizes for this one—one for French novels and one for le roman étrangers—so I won’t re-print it here, but one of my favorite authors, who I think is pretty big in France, made the foreign list, Arto Paasilinna. I can’t recommend his The Year of the Hare enough.
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